Customer journey and product display: how to go about it?
The customer journey: have you ever heard of this marketing concept
Behind this term, which may be confusing for some, lies a simple reality: it’s the typical route taken by your customers when they move through your shop and which you influence, as the manager of your shop.
Whether you opened your organic or sustainable shop several years ago or are in the process of preparing to open, it’s important to focus on optimising the customer journey of your shop.
A good example? Of course, the best known is Ikea: the in-store journey is very cleverly designed because (unless they know where the emergency exits are!) customers are forced to walk from one department to another before reaching the tills. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to find the product you want and then go straight to the checkout. The genius of Ikea’s customer journey is that it forces you to browse the entire shop, so that you end up taking an interest in products you hadn’t even thought of!
Without going as far as Ikea or even encouraging your customers to buy too much, it’s still very interesting to optimise the customer journey of your shop and we’ll see how to go about it in this article.
I will also talk to you about displaying your products. Let’s go!
Why optimise your customer journey?
Here are the 3 key reasons to focus on your customer journey :)
Reason 1: it’s good for business!
Let’s start with the most important thing: your shop's finances. Optimising your customer journey leads to more sales, because you optimise the visibility of your product range, you make it easier for your customers to buy and you ensure that as many products as possible stimulate your customers’ senses (visual, olfactory, audio).
This also helps you to showcase high-margin products.
Optimising the customer journey is therefore not a theoretical exercise or something to do for the sake of it: it has a direct impact on your turnover and gross margin.
Reason 2: it helps and pleases your customers!
After all, going into a shop where the different sections are clearly identifiable is much nicer than finding yourself surrounded by a confusing range of products where nothing makes sense and you move from one product range to another without any rationale!
Think about your customers’ satisfaction: they want to shop in an appealing environment, with pleasant sensory stimuli and a logical and understandable route round the shop.
You don’t want to ask your customers for too much cognitive effort: create a simple, welcoming and logical setting for them. They’ll thank you by complimenting the atmosphere in your shop and recommending you to other customers!
Reason 3: it’s simpler for you and your team
If the previous two reasons haven't convinced you, you should also think about the impact of a clear and logical customer journey on your own workload.
A well-organised shop with a clear and logical customer journey is, by definition, easier to maintain and manage on a daily basis:
- you’ll find products more easily, both in terms of their facing (products facing the customers, on your shelves) and their display,
- you’ll advise customers more effectively when they ask questions about product location,
- you’ll be able to train new employees more quickly when it comes to your shop’s layout,
In short, optimising your customer journey means more sales, more satisfied customers and a motivated team! :)
How can you optimise your customer journey?
Consider your visual identity
This first point is not at the heart of the customer journey, but it does form part of it: your shop should reflect your visual identity.
You probably have a logo and a website and you use specific colours and fonts in your communications: think about including these visual elements in your customer journey in your shop.
For example, this could include ensuring that the colour of walls, furniture and display units, product presentation labels, etc. match your online visual identity.
The overall customer journey will be seamless: a customer who discovers your Facebook page, visits your website and comes to your shop will enjoy a streamlined and logical visual and aesthetic experience.
We're turning right!
This second part has nothing to do with politics: I’m talking about the direction of traffic in your shop :)
The majority of customers naturally turn right when entering a shop (you can try it out next time you go shopping, just to be sure).
In general (and particularly when it comes to small shops), customers then walk in a “circle” starting on the right, then moving towards the back, then visiting the spaces in the middle and then returning via the left to the exit.
In view of this, your shop’s product categories should be positioned based on strategic commercial choices, which is what I’m going to talk about in the following section!
[Warning: the architecture of some shops is not compatible with this model! You’ll need to adapt, based on what’s possible for your shop.]
Strategically position your product categories
First of all, let me clarify what I mean by a product category. This involves grouping products, based on a given function and which makes sense for customers.
For example, in an organic grocery shop, here are the possible categories:
- ecological books and games,
- accessories and everyday or culinary items,
- store cupboard items,
- sweet treats,
- fruit and vegetables,
- dairy products,
- cosmetics and personal hygiene,
- household cleaning.
Low-cost products and core products must be positioned at the end of the customer journey. This "forces" your customers to wander into other product categories, which are not often visited spontaneously, and yet often have higher purchase prices and higher margins.
With an organic/zero-waste grocery shop, for example, everyday items, books and games could be put on the right-hand side at the entrance to the shop, with standard purchases positioned further back on the left-hand side (fruit and vegetables, fresh produce, etc.) before arriving at the tills.
Don’t forget to help your customers!
A good customer journey is also easy to understand and clearly signposted.
For example, choose colours for the paint on the walls and/or shelves which are appropriate for the category in question.
Provide small signs: this is a pretty and practical way to help customers to find their way around.
It must also be quick and simple for customers to pay at the till. If you offer a click-and-collect service, make sure that the experience is smooth and fast for your customers.
Lastly, a very simple tip: to increase the value of the average basket in your shop, don’t forget to provide baskets at the entrance to the shop (on the right-hand side, as you’ll have guessed!) or even mini trolleys (some sites sell them for around 50 euros).
How can you showcase important products?
Let’s end with another important point: displaying important products on the customer journey. These can be new products (to temporarily boost their visibility) or high-margin products (to increase their sales).
Here’s my practical advice:
- Isolate products. Divide and rule, as the saying goes. The best way to showcase your product is to give it some space: move other products out of the way, move them back and let your star product take centre stage!
- Make a visual statement. You can also take advantage of visual perception: we’re very good at spotting differences in colour! In an aisle in which most of the products are pale, add a bright or dark product to boost its visibility automatically.
- Decorate the surroundings. Most shelving is neutral and doesn’t stand out. If you want to showcase a product, use a dedicated table or display and decorate it to show off the product.
- Appeal to your customers’ other senses, by using lighting, music or scent (depending on what’s possible and health and safety regulations, you could use natural perfumes, incense, etc).
- Take advantage of time spent at the till to increase the value of your average basket by offering your customers appealing and useful products, like the LastSwab reusable cotton bud, for example :)
In conclusion, optimising the customer journey is important to the success of any physical shop and I think it’s even more important for specialised shops, such as those offering organic and sustainable products. Indeed, in this type of responsible shop, creating convenient and relevant areas within your shop will ensure that the shopping process makes sense for your customers.