On my way home from work today I stopped by the new ALDI that recently opened. For most people this is just a low-priced grocery store, but for me it’s a cure for the homesick blues that I still get now and then. This particular new shop features the counterclockwise set-up, which is a rare find. I don’t know what the statistics say, but from my personal experience most ALDIs are to be travelled in the clockwise direction.
The reason behind this can be found in shoppers’ psychology, and marketers’ attempts to manipulate the crowds. Most things in nature tend to rotate counterclockwise, if you let them – water down the drain, weather systems, even the entire planet Earth – they all rotate counterclockwise. People, and animals, feel more at ease and comfortable walking around a circle in a counterclockwise direction.
So, if you want your customers to feel good, spend more time in your store, and subsequently buy more stuff, you should let them flow naturally, counterclockwise. Be prepared to have more people crowding your aisles, spending more time in the store on average, and requiring more attention from your personnel too. On the other hand, if you have a small store with mainly simple, cheap goods, and not enough employees, your main focus would be to get people in and out quickly. That’s why most discounters, Dollar stores, or Walmarts, are set up in the “unnatural” clockwise direction.
If you have some time on your hands, try navigate any store against the planned layout – and pay attention to how that feels different.