Change is a Trigger: Rearrange Your Store

Shortly after I got married I had to leave town for about a week on a business trip. While I was gone, my wife decided it was time to rearrange the furniture. When I got home, I hardly recognized the place.

I’m not sure if the layout was better or worse, but it was certainly different. If it made my wife happy, I was happy. I’m a big believer in the old saying, “Happy wife, happy life.”

But better or worse, the changes certainly made me think about the space in our house differently, and I started using it differently … better even.

A few years ago I was in a Walmart and they were in midst of some kind of refurbishing. Parts of the store were all roped off and workers were moving stuff around and generally changing the layout of the place. I could see a lot of what was going on, but some of the space was closed off and out of sight.

Enough stock had changed places that I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I had to ask someone. The employee quickly pointed me in the right direction and then explained that the big bosses of Walmart occasionally get stores to rearrange their wares so that customers have to see more of the location, hopefully buying more in the process. It’s the same reason the milk, eggs and bread are not anywhere near each other at the supermarket.

That got me thinking about tackle shops. Most of the tackle shops I know haven’t been reconfigured in my lifetime … or maybe even the store owner’s lifetime if he’s a second or third generation owner. I can just about walk into the tackle shops I frequent blindfolded and find exactly what I need without tripping over a display or accidentally knocking over a rod rack.

I probably can’t even do that at home.

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The more I thought about it, the more I believed that most retail tackle shops need to be reconfigured every five or six years—maybe more often than that. It’s not to confuse and confound your customer base. It’s to show them what you’ve got. I guarantee they don’t truly know what you carry if you’ve had the same basic layout for years.

If you drive to work every day, you’re probably numb to the scenery. But if I were to add something or take something away from the mix, you’d notice. Sameness is boring to the human eye. We become blind to it.

Change is interesting. Change is new. Change is different. Change is a trigger.

I’m not saying that change is always good. It’s up to each retailer to make change good. I’m just saying that change is a stimulant for most people that will cause them to take notice.

I’m also saying that if you change things up at your store, your customers—even the ones who have been shopping with you “forever”—will notice things they’ve never noticed before. They might even buy them.

Customer: “When did you start carrying those spinnerbaits?”

You: “About 1978.”

Customer: “My wife’s right. I should pay attention more. I don’t even remember how I got here.”

The changes don’t have to be huge, though that might create the biggest benefit. They just need to be significant. If everyone takes a look at the soft plastics, move them to the other side of the store. See what happens.

And if most of your clientele is male, you can bet they won’t ask what you did with the swimbaits. They’ll look around for 10 or 15 minutes first, hoping to find everything on their own. No self-respecting guy asks directions or looks at instructions when there’s time to be wasted and plenty of fishing tackle to stare at.

They’ll probably even buy some stuff they weren’t planning on buying.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide.