Science of Merchandising

How brains process your redemption area 🧠

Image by Fancycrave

You walk into your local grocery store in search of one thing: ice cream! 🍨 Right away you know what part of the store you need to go to — the frozen food aisle. From there you can browse different types of frozen items. Everything from frozen vegetables to frozen pizzas to your desired treat— ice cream — is going to be in this part of the store. Can you imagine how confusing it would be if frozen pizzas and ice cream were in completely different areas of the grocery store?

Humans naturally process information in categories. We need a way to efficiently narrow down all grocery store items to just the one type of thing we’re looking for.

This same browsing technique applies to how your guests shop through your redemption area.

The Psychology Dictionary defines categorization as: The process of grouping or classifying people, objects, events, and experiences. Usually, these are grouped according to classes based on (1) common characteristics which members share in a class and (2) distinct features which distinguish these members from those of other classes.

By including categories in your redemption display, you create a more enjoyable shopping experience, increase the likelihood of more revenue and save yourself time in your ordering and merchandising processes. Our answer to this categorization need? Our exclusive prize Storyboards. You’ll learn more about them in a bit.

But first, let’s discover more about the importance of having sections in your redemption display:

Categories allow guests to make prize decisions quickly

As humans, in order for us to make choices, we must first process the information we have available to us.

According to an article by Shopify, “Grouping products with other similar items will give your customers additional reasons to buy more items from you. But grouping products also has a more utilitarian justification: it saves shoppers time. They don’t need to wander around your entire retail store trying to mix and match things. It’s one of the reasons grocery stores will put dips right beside their chips, or peanut butter with jams.”

This heightens the importance of categorizing product in your redemption area by two-fold:

1 | Organizing by category gives guests a place to start. They will naturally be drawn to a section of product that appeals to them. The redemption area is typically the last stop for your customers in your center, and a child having an overwhelming experience can leave parents feeling frustrated.

Sectioned categories create a more enjoyable experience for your shoppers. They’re able to make decisions faster and are happier with their prize(s) — more on that later.

Not only are your guests more satisfied when shopping by category, but by reducing decision time, you’re able to service more customers. which opens the opportunity to add new revenue.

The other option? Merchandise your product without categories and suffer this fate:

2 | As the above quote mentioned, the quicker shoppers can process options, the more likely they are to make impulse decisions. In a family or bowling entertainment center, this means a guest might find a prize in his desired category that he doesn’t have enough tickets for. Since he was able to process this information quickly — and there’s still 30 minutes before his family has to leave — he can beg mom or dad to purchase more game credits so he can try to win his desired prize. And what does that mean? More game revenue for you!

People are more satisfied when picking from a category

I know what you’re thinking, you hardly have time to organize the birthday parties scheduled for this week, let alone your entire product assortment. Sure, your redemption area might be fine as it looks today, but investing time in a merchandise plan can make or break your guests’ shopping experiences.

Research by Cassie Mogilner of Stanford University and her colleagues shows people are more satisfied with items when choosing from a category — no matter how meaningless that category might be.

An article, The Way the Brain Buys, by the Economist explains their findings:

“In a study of different coffees, they found people were more satisfied with their choice if it came from a categorized selection, although it did not matter if the categories were marked simply A, B, and C, or ‘mild’, ‘dark roast’ and ‘nutty.’”

Implementing categories in your redemption program, even indirectly, can subconsciously convince your guests they are more pleased with your prizes.

Let there be categories AND subcategories

Now that we know how organizing your redemption area into categories makes your space easier to process, there are extra steps you can take within each category to enhance the shopping experience even more.

How you arrange your product within each category section is important. We suggest high ticketed items are placed toward the top, with their lower-ticket counterparts toward the bottom of your display.

Also, you will want to include multiple facings of items when applicable. This shows your guests they have a variety of colors to choose from.

👈 In this example, you’ll notice the higher-ticketed items are placed at the top of the layout, and the ticket amount of the items decreases as you work down the wall. Multiple facings is at work here, too. Almost each item in this themed section is displayed more than once.

Again, the redemption area is often the last stop for visitors before they leave your facility. Ensuring they leave with a prize that satisfies them and justifies the money they spent is important for generating repeat guests.

Don’t want to do it yourself? Learn about our merchandising services here!

So, where do you start?

There are two actions you can take today to create a more shopper-friendly redemption area.

Implement Storyboards
Storyboards are pre-categorized merchandise layouts. These merchandise plans are the perfect way to buy product and organize your redemption area in categories. Example Storyboards include Game On, Imagination Station, Things that Bounce, Sweet Tooth and lots more!

By streamlining your product decisions, Storyboards save you time on ordering product. They also help save time when putting your product in your redemption area because the merchandise layouts are done for you!

Take our merchandising eCourse
We created the Merchandising 101 eCourse to make training new employees more efficient. It’s also great for redemption staff members who need a refresher on merchandising.

In Merchandising 101 you will learn: merchandising best practices, how to merchandise by “story,” an introduction to the different types of players and how to manage a profitable crane and merchandising program.

Don’t miss the rest of our Science of Merchandising Series

Make InsightsEmpower.com your guide to your success this year. Not only are we diving deep into the science behind good product selection and merchandising this year, but we’ll also be covering these topics:

  • The hottest product for Spring Break 2018
  • All things Toy Fair
  • 2018 toy trends
  • & much, much more — stay tuned…

Sign up for our emails for other tips and tricks!

Insights Empower is a collection of thoughts & insights to inspire, educate and connect the Family Entertainment & Bowling Center industry. From the team at Redemption Plus, est. 2017 🎉

If you liked these tips and would like to see more, don’t forget to follow us here on Medium and click that little 👏 at the bottom.