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  • Why You Need to Tell Shoppers Where to Go

    How does it feel to get off a plane in a country you’ve never been to before?
    It’s exciting. It’s different. You’re not quite sure what to expect.

    You step off the plane and walk through the gate. You pick up your baggage.

    Where do you go next?
    Everything seems strange. In all that strangeness, you look for things that are familiar. You look for clues to point you in the right direction.

    The most obvious clues are signs. Signs tell you where to find a taxi, or a bus. Signs point you to the washrooms. Or to an information kiosk. Signs help you orient yourself in a strange, new environment.

    To the first time customer, your store is a strange, new environment.
    Hopefully your store is not like all the others on the street.
    Hopefully, your store is different. Different enough to be interesting & unique. Different enough to get attention. Different is what attracts the shopper to your store.

    But, whoa! If the shopper steps into the door and everything is different, he’ll be overwhelmed. He’ll turn around and walk right back out the door. He already knows you have something different to offer. He comes in the door, and feels just a wee bit uncomfortable. He slows down and looks around. He pauses to get his bearings. It’s just a brief pause. A quick glance.

    In that brief moment, you have to give the shopper what he wants next. You need to make him feel comfortable again.

    What’s going to help the shopper feel more comfortable?
    He wants to know where to go next. He wants to know how to find his way around. He is looking for something familiar. Something to guide him through the store.

    He’s looking for a sign. Not an omen. Just something that tells him where to go next.

    That sign can hang from the ceiling. It can be on the backwall. It can be on a fixture. The sign is a clue to show the shopper how the store is organized. And where to find merchandise that is relevant to his needs. The sign might show the way to the men’s department. Or to the baking goods. Or the digital cameras.

    And the sign doesn’t have to be just a sign.
    Sure, it can be a word or two printed on a banner. Or mounted on the wall. Or in an acrylic stand.

    But it can also be a graphic. A photograph. A mannequin. Or a display. It just has to do the job of a sign. It needs to catch the shoppers eye. Provide something familiar to make her feel comfortable. And show her where to go next.

    Standing in the doorway of the store is like standing in the airport. No one wants to stand there all day. Shoppers want to get out of the airport, um, doorway – to explore. It’s up to you to tell them where to go next. Give them a sign to point the way.


    Next step: Learn how to increase sales without slashing prices in the Pinwheel Principle report. Go here to find out more:


    2 Responses to “Why You Need to Tell Shoppers Where to Go”

    1. The Milk Relief Store says:

      Thanks for making the obvious, well, what can I say? Obvious.

      I went into a health shop today, and it was tiny and there was no room that did not have a product jammed on a wall. No signs, no map, no "start here".

      Thankfully I knew what I was looking for, and thankfully I was accosted by the owner soon after I came in, who pointed me in the right direction. But, I'd imagine when she is busy, others would walk out in despair.

    2. Melanie says:

      Great example!

      It's great that the owner approached you and gave you a hand. That's one of the strengths of small businesses.

      And these things do seem obvious, but when you're in a store everyday as the owner or manager, it can be hard to see it from a new customer point of view. Health products are especially tricky for the customer — it's so hard to know what to choose!