Walking down the aisle

[Published on 11 Aug, 2002]

This is how the original artwork looks like:



To make it easier for you to read, I have broken the illustration
into the following bits:

ENTRANCE - Assault on the senses
A riot of colours and smells greets you as you step into the store. Plump
fruits and leafy green vegetables beckon with their vibrant freshness.
Sometimes, flowers are also placed here. Bakeries, with their heavenly smells,
are also positioned at the entrance to draw you in.
This enticing vision of freshness is not a coincidence. It is there to
counteract the impression that food in supermarkets are not as fresh as in the
wet markets. So instead of showing boring grey rows of canned food, they
bombard you with fresh fruits and vegetables.
For instance, Cold Storage, which positions itself as The Fresh Food People,
always has fruits and vegetables greeting you as you enter.




AISLES - Logic to the madness
You may feel like a lab rat in a maze when you are scurrying around trying to
locate all the items on your shopping list. But it is not the intention of
supermarkets to confuse and trap you. Instead, there is logic in the layout.
This is especially important as there are not many sales assistants around to
help.
Complementary goods, such as coffee, cereal and other breakfast items, are
placed together so you can pick them up at a go.
Frozen and chilled items are usually near the end of the shopping route, to
help you get these items home at an acceptable temperature so they do not
spoil in the heat.




SHELVES - Out of reach, out of sight
Eye level is the most coveted space on the shelves, as these are the first to
be seen, and therefore, more likely to be selected.
However, certain big brands are so well-remembered or are already market
leaders that they can be placed anywhere. For instance, consumers will search
high and low, literally, for brands like Coke.
Going down one level, there is eye level product placement for kids too.
After all, these tiny tykes do get their own kiddie trolleys to push around,
too.




MUSIC - All day, all around
Easy listening fare is usually played throughout the day, to appeal to the
widest range of consumers possible.
Festive music, such as Christmas carols or Chinese New Year ditties, can also
work subtly to remind you of the coming celebrations and all the goodies you
need to stock up on.
Certain supermarkets may also play different tunes to signal to their staff
that a shoplifter has been spotted or that it is time to change shift. Closing
music may also be more up-tempo, to prompt you to make your last purchases
quickly.




SAMPLING - Free food, free drinks
Yummy cheese slices, deep-fried sotong balls and tiny cups of cultured milk
drinks are there to entice you.
All five senses are engaged powerfully, and by sampling the products before
buying, you can be sure of what you are buying. Also, promoters are on hand to
answer questions, so fear is minimised.
The same strategy applies to in-store demonstrations of appliances, mops,
sponges and miracle kitchen cloths.




CHECKOUT - Batteries & breath mints
Standing in queue can be such a drag. Your basket is overloaded and heavy,
and the brat behind you is bawling. Good thing then, that you can sometimes
grab a magazine at the checkout counter. And you will probably end up buying
it after browsing.
These are items which do not need much evaluation and comparison, and by
placing them where you are bound to see them, the stores hope to trigger you
into making a quick decision to buy.

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