Aisle Realignment is a Essential for Improving Social Distancing in Your Stores
Social distancing is the one government directive that will dominate the retail store industry for many months to come. In stores with a small footprint and tight aisles this will be a significant challenge that must be overcome. More importantly, in the eyes of your customers it is imperative that you create an environment where they feel safe.
According to a recent study by ICSC*, almost two-thirds (65%) of consumers will now try to limit direct contact with other people as much as possible while in your store. While 48% said that they would be more comfortable visiting stores where social distancing measures have been implemented, achieving “retail renewal” must include addressing these concerns and create the necessary space where customers can shop with confidence and safety.
How do you achieve this within your current floor plan? One immediate and cost effective solution is to widen your shopping aisles by realigning your gondola shelving to gain more space for shopping.
The first step is to monitor your customer traffic flow patterns and identify the bottlenecks that are caused by the distance between each gondola. Then, design a new floor plan that maximizes your available space to create the critical, and mandated, six foot spacing between shoppers.
Following this plan, the DisplayMax team can help you mobilize you fixtures and displays by “skating” the units into their new position. When skating a run of gondola, we jack up each section and place a gondola skate under the base brackets. These skates are built with heavy duty casters which allow our team to roll the entire gondola run a few inches or across the entire store while using only a few installers.
One of the most significant benefits of utilizing this technique is that it can be accomplished without removing merchandise from the shelves and doesn’t require disassembling the units. This saves you hundreds of hours of your staff remerchandising your products. And, aisle realignment can also be executed overnight while you are closed without disrupting your daily operations. Our team of fixture installation specialists are experienced and efficient, having performed thousands of gondola mobilizations over the years.
Realigning aisle and gondola runs is not a simple task but creating more social distancing space is crucial in your effort to recover lost sales and building trust with shoppers. If you currently have aisles that are five feet apart or less, you are creating bottlenecks that may make shoppers uncomfortable. And, as you well know, uncomfortable shoppers don’t return once they leave.
Below are some issues to consider when looking at a gondola shelving mobilization:
- Finding adequate space to relocate existing gondolas of displays may require reducing your drive aisle or removing sections or runs of your gondola.
- When utilizing your staff, the labor costs associated with relocating gondola runs can be prohibitive when you consider the time to de-merchandise, tear down, reassemble and reset product.
- Physically moving multiple gondolas while you are open causes a great disruption to your customers. A realignment takes planning and should take place overnight while the store is closed.
The DisplayMax Solution
- Skating gondolas allow you to mobilize a fully merchandised gondola any distance that is needed to make the necessary aisle spatial changes.
- Choosing professional installation services is cost effective because they will have the correct equipment and knowledge to quickly and efficiently move the fixtures. In most cases, the work can be completed overnight while you are closed.
- If an existing gondola or end cap needs to be removed, it is possible to add extensions and additional shelves to adjacent gondola. This allows you to transfer product without losing the number of product facings.
- Product can remain on the shelves with minimal disruption to existing merchandising planograms.
Providing tangible social distancing has a positive effect on attracting customers back through your doors. The ICSC study revealed that once they are able to spend freely again, roughly three-quarters of shoppers will be more likely to purchase from retailers that acted responsibly and took initiatives to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Contact our Retail Renewal Specialists to discuss the current condition of you store and to brainstorm ways we can help you create trust with your customers in this new retail world. Or, fill in the form below and we will contact you promptly.
* ICSC, Industry Insights “Expectations for Businesses Reopening After COVID-19” May 8, 2020
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