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Getting Shoppers to Cross Aisles


A new study by TNS Retail Forward finds that while supercenters and discount stores are best positioned to deliver one-stop shopping, many are not fully leveraging the opportunity. Physical and aesthetic barriers often discourage female shoppers from crossing aisles, according to the study, which noted that even when shoppers do venture over, they often experience disappointment as retailers fail to meet their expectations. These negative outcomes dampen their enthusiasm for future aisle crossing.

The study, “Women Crossing Aisles,” indicates that, on average, female shoppers only visit 3.3 departments at a Wal-Mart Supercenter and 2.7 at a SuperTarget. Aisle-crossing activity in value department stores such as Kohl’s and J.C. Penney is even lower.

The study advised that retailers can encourage and reward future aisle crossing by:

Reducing barriers and improving the view;

Delighting customers who have limited expectations when they cross the aisle by delivering the goods: the right product in the right size at the right price;

Improving inventory management—especially for advertised items;

Ensuring online inventory information about in-store stock reflects reality; and

Supporting the offer with attractive visual merchandising and promotions.

“When supercenters and discount stores add touches of department store-like merchandising to their floors, customers are intrigued and motivated to cross aisles,” said Mandy Putnam, a VP with TNS Retail, and author of the study.

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