Inconvenience Stores

July 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

We are currently undertaking a retail audit in Germany for our Shopper Marketing Retail Exchange, gauging the store experience people have in supermarkets. While doing so, we saw this:

What we see here is a cooler shelf with convenience products, such as sausages, paddies and the like. Do you see the title for the products?


Remember, we are in Germany here. While the term is known in the retail industry, i.e. to store owners and purchasing departments, how many people do you think find it “convenient” to try to guess the meaning of an English word while looking at a bunch of sausages? And why on earth is it in English anyway? There are perfectly good names available in German.

You might say, who cares? When people see the products, they know what it is. Well yeah, when and if they see them. But think about it: people navigate stores by browsing or searching. When you search, you are on a wayfinding path where you check of “your” products from a list. Where would you start looking for “Convenience” food when you don’t even know the term? Also, convenience foods are often placed at tactically relevant places for cross-selling purposes. This means it’s already hard to find them when you are expressly looking for them.

For the most part, a lot of retail experiences are still like websites in the mid-90s: confusing navigation, little orientation, cluttered signage, price confusion, little customer service, and long checkout times. So, when we do experience audits, whether for digital channels or physical retail channels, what happens a lot is that I get a Gary Larson moment. While surveying the store, I was reminded of his “Inconvenience Store” Comic.

When it comes to retail experiences, it’s definitely time some stores took more of a human view point. Apart from being better for people, it also helps your sales.


Entry filed under: Experience, humankind, Insights & Strategy. Tags: , , , , , , .

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