Over the last little while, I have noticed some things about stores and how they lay out their aisles that have started to bother me. I am going to try and note some of them here.
- Poles in
aisles – yes, I know that poles are part of the structure for a building,
and they are needed, but do they need to be in the middle of the aisle
where customers are walking? The aisles should be made so that the poles
are in the shelving section and not blocking where customers walk. It seems that putting the aisles where the poles are is the lazy way of designing a store.
- Narrow aisles – there are stores where two small buggies cannot pass easily in the aisle, and that makes for a rather difficult shopping experience. If you need to have aisles that are that narrow, make sure that you have a method of controlling which direction customers travel in those aisles.
- Low stock – here is something that has been happening since Covid, and now it is starting to look very interesting in some stores. We have been in a few stores and there are either large sections of open space where bins had been in the past or the product is now set up one deep on a shelf over a large section of the shelf. Yes, I understand that there are some shipping challenges.
- Restocking shelves during a busy time – this is one that we encountered this weekend, which is the weekend before Christmas. We were in a store, and they were restocking shelves, so part of the aisle on one side has a cart with boxes and then just past that there was the person kneeling on the floor restocking the shelves. This resulted in an obstacle course around both the cart and the person. It would have been a little better if the cart had of been on the same side as the person, so the restocking was being done when the store wasn’t that busy.
- Checkout lines – one thing that I have liked that a lot of stores have started doing is one single check out line, and you go to the next available cashier. This has meant that you aren’t stuck behind someone because of an issue they are having, checking out. What is the problem right now is not knowing where the line continues once it has gone out of the marked area. I have seen a store have the line go one way one day and then a different way another day is that means that customers don’t know where lines are, and they end up standing in stops thinking they are in line when they aren’t.
- Not enough cashiers – this could be a staffing problem or just a case of someone not calling for assistance. There are times when the line is growing to check out and there is either only one or two cashiers available, but there are a lot of other staff restocking shelves in the store. There other staff should be helping check the customers out. Michael’s at least during the busy time does something to assist with checking out and that is while you are standing in line, one staff member is going along the line and entering your purchases and giving you a card to give to the cashier. This means that once you are at the cashier all of your purchases are already scanned, and you just pay, and you are on the way.
A good store layout and staffing can make it a better experience for a customer and make for happier staff because customers aren't getting upset with them. I know that the layout of the store isn’t determined by the staff, but whoever oversees the layout needs to think about the flow of traffic in the store, not just what might be the easiest for them to design.