Blog & Webinars

The Power of Crowd

The Grab

Everyone was crowded around it. This massive pontoon boat inside the center of a major Nashville mall. It was a double-decker, decked out, WiFi’d, fully loaded enormous boat. And we were all drooling for it. I’m not even really a lake person, but oh my, was I picturing myself loafing around on 3-day weekends and parading the lake on the 4th of July in this enormous floating penthouse. Everyone ooh’d and ah’d and took their time strolling around, climbing to the upper deck, feeling all the interiors, swiveling in the captain’s chairs, and then, reluctantly, descending to the reality of the cold, hard mall floor. On my way off the raised floor where the boat was docked, I spied something else: a sign that said “Courtesy of BASS PRO SHOP.”

That did it. I had to go. I had to go to Bass Pro Shop to see what other awesome experiences they had for me, even if just to daydream and see what could be had if I were the outdoorsy type as opposed to the puzzle-working type. What else might they have that I’d never seen or heard of? Turns out, they have a lot. I spent a long time in that store, and honestly, I’m thankful I’m not outdoorsy or I might never have left. Turns out indoorsy people don’t need a lot of automated vehicles and weapons and BBQ flavored deer jerky.

That pontoon boat was a “grab.” Its goal was to grab my attention and drag me into the store to see it and other merchandise I’m more likely to buy. And it worked. And even though I didn’t buy anything that day years ago, I’ve been back to Bass Pro more times than I can count. Why? Because even though I’m not outdoorsy, I know loads of folks who are. When I need a gift for a friend or family member who hunts, fishes, camps, or just generally gets outdoors, I know where to go. That store made an impression on me. That grab worked.

What is it that projects the right image for your brand but also entices people? What inspires them to shop and builds excitement for them about exploring your store? It may not be your best seller, but it charges people up. Whatever it is, position it somewhere irresistible!

The Transition

When I walked into the Bass Pro Shop that day, I was stunned by how far they’d carried their theme. They are an outdoors shop with an indoor store that actually feels like the outdoors. Every area is overdone, in a good way. They have climbing walls, waterfalls, and acres and acres of merchandise. It’s eye candy, for sure, and it can be overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start, but they’ve already thought of that. 

They know how to steer customers. They know that customers will have a deer-in-the-headlights kind of reaction to the store, so they allow for a space at the front of the store for you to orient yourself. Experts suggest that depending on the size of the store, the first five to fifteen feet of the entry are necessary for people to decompress and anything in that zone is a challenge to that transition. Customers can stop here, look around, get their bearings, and then continue without actually interrupting the flow of traffic. There is enough space to let people stop, go, go around, and move freely without feeling congested.

All retail spaces require some kind of transition area. You don’t necessarily need a fancy foyer or overdone entryway, but you need to help pave the way for your customers. You want to support your brand and start to build some excitement, but it needs to be done while establishing a the next stage for the buyer. You are giving them a moment to take in the scope of your store (and hopefully experience a little bit of a “wow” reaction), and then formulate some sort of a plan to start shopping.

The Right Way

90% of people walking into a retail store are going to unconsciously turn to the right after they enter. Research shows that almost without fail, at least here in North America, we tend to traffic to the right. No matter who we are, when we enter an environment we tend to make our first turn to the right and then work from there. It’s based primarily on the fact that we drive on the right side, but nonetheless, it’s true.

So, the smartest thing you can do is use that nature to your advantage. Whatever you want people to see first, know first, encounter first goes to the right. Think of it as a “power wall” that promotes your product and reinforces your exciting branding. Because people will naturally turn that way, use the space to drive your message.

Also, consider that as people are coming in and they turn right, it may not be the best place for your registers. Why meet them in the capacity of separating them from their money? More naturally, use the space to influence them and then meet them later on with the convenience of knowing where to pay for the purchases they are very excited about.