The spatial design of a food market may seem irrelevant, but in it holds the mystery that keeps customers coming back. Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker, outlines in his article, The Science of Shopping, the many strategies, created by retail anthropologist Paco Underhill, to get shoppers buying more. Paco analyzes the way we walk into a store, observe items, and more to create the perfect shopping experience. By putting Paco’s strategies to use, as well as some of their own, my local Aldi in Hackensack creates a successful marketplace.
You can hardly miss Aldi; the store has a modern design compared to the rundown Sears beside it. Additionally, the food market sports its renowned yellow, orange and blue signs on the front and side of the building. The contemporary market attracts potential customers from all over Hackensack.
Going from the magnetic exterior, you will find yourself in a relaxed lobby that leads to the main entrance. On the right edge, you will find two large advertisement posters plastered on the glass wall, promoting special deals and sales to already curious shoppers. Paco calls this space the Decompression Zone. Aldi keeps this area empty and relaxed; while still managing to engage their shoppers with advertisements at the end of the zone, as Paco encourages his clients to do.
Moving from the lobby into the first aisle, you will stumble upon foods, assorted in blue, green, red, yellow, brown and black boxes. Trail mix, pretzels, potato chips, pita chips, salsa, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, gummy bears, M, and Twizzlers on the left side. Crackers, tortilla chips, cookies, pies, and other pastries on the right side. Interestingly enough, the entrance only leads to this aisle; meaning you cannot escape your worst guilty pleasure snacks. A brilliant strategy to get customers buying something they did not even know they wanted.
After hesitantly walking through the junk food galore, the atmosphere suddenly changed. The white lights on the ceiling felt brighter. The temperature sensed cooler, and right in front of me, in big green letters appeared the word “FRESH”. On my left, lying on a wooden table, baskets full of oranges, apples, and bananas. To my right: strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, cucumbers and other produce. Shoppers slowed down, taking their time examining the fruits and vegetables. Feeling, to verify that the apples have not aged. Opening the strawberries to confirm their freshness as promised. Paco calls this petting; connecting it to a dinner table where you pick up and touch food. Before buying, shoppers want to know the food quality, the table invites the customers to touch, increasing the chances of them purchasing the produce.
Aldi’s successfully created a store that engages their customers; by using their own creative methods as well as implementing ideas from Paco Underhill. Strategically using their modern architecture, use of space, placement, and design to form a space where customers enjoy buying food. Aldi at a local and international level created a design layout favored by shoppers globally but also profitable for business.