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Increasingly, retailers around the country—from Best Buy to Lowe’s—are implementing significant design changes to make their stores more female friendly.
Another one followed suit last fall when home and garden retailer Orchard Supply Hardware, a chain based in San Jose, Calif., rebranded its shops to create a more welcoming environment for women.
For starters, the retailer gave most of its 89 stores an exterior face lift. It also made entrances more inviting, creating a “landing zone” by pushing shelving units back 8 feet, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That’s a keen move given that “women shop from the outside in,” write authors Joanne Thomas Yaccato and Sean McSweeney in the book The Gender Intelligent Retailer: Discover the Connection Between Women Consumers and Business Growth.
Once inside Orchard stores, shoppers enjoy shorter, wider aisles and lower shelving units. Showroom floors are shaped like a racetrack, which makes browsing more convenient. There’s clear directional signage, as well as signs with how-to tips for shoppers. Product categories are color-coded (red for tools, for example) and the stores play carefully selected music. Merchandise is arranged in vignettes and supported by aspirational images.
Orchard’s ambitious undertaking has been well-received, but bedding retailers don’t have to undergo an “extreme makeover” to provide women with a better shopping experience. Sometimes, simple changes can do the trick. Ask yourself these questions from The Gender Intelligent Retailer:
● Is your store layout, selection and product placement intuitive to women?
● How are women being guided through the store?
● Are displays used to help shoppers navigate through the product assortment?
● Is signage in clear sight? Does it broadcast women- and family-friendly amenities? Does it use symbols and pictures to help convey information?
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