• JUser::_load: Unable to load user with id: 99

The science of the store format

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Is there a science to the way shopping centres and stores are designed, from the inside out, attracting and enticing customers? Of course there is, there has to be, it can’t be random, can it?

Depending on what day of the week it is, chances are you’ll come across an article that highlights a retailer’s latest foray into store layouts. Just last week (May 2012) Big W showcased its latest format to customers in Canberra. They’ve repositioning the changing rooms, opened up the middle of the floor and even altered the Big W “Blue” to a lighter more warming shade.

Apple for example has been proud advocates of service over shelf space. Many stores contain theatres for presentations and workshops, service is provided via the ‘Genius Bar’ for technical support and repairs. Entire sections in the middle of the store are available for free workshops. The actual product is well, somewhere on the wall. In essence Apple have turned traditional retail upside down and turned boring computer stores into cool to visit media attractions filled with gadgets.

Apple Store

For years we’ve walked through Ikea and unless you were aware of those ‘special access doors’ between the sections, once in the front door it was like being in line at Disneyland with only one available direction to exit. Who knows you might just pick up that item you didn’t even realise you needed until you walked by it.


Well, back to the science. If there is one then it has been identified as the ‘Gruen Transfer’. Named after Austrian architect Victor Gruen the father of the shopping mall, the ‘Gruen Tansfer’ is the moment when consumers respond to "scripted disorientation" cues in the environment. Spatial awareness of their surroundings plays a key role, as does the surrounding sound, art, and music. The effect of the transfer is marked by a slower walking pace. “Source Wikipedia”

The missing component to the science is you as a retailer. If innovation is the human quality and science the result of the findings then that means there must be countless ideas and methods waiting in the retail ether ready to be discovered. Have you come across some interesting examples lately, please share!

Stephen Duncan

Stephen Duncan

Stephen Duncan is a Technology Retail Specialist.

Post a Reply Comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.

You are here The science of the store format