Science of Merchandising II

The Design-Merchandising-Upkeep Ecosystem 🔁

In our first edition of Science of Merchandising, we explained how guests’ minds process your redemption prize selection. We learned that merchandising in categories makes for a better experience for them and easier product selection for you.

We’re taking it a step further and discussing how the design of your redemption area affects your merchandising, your product assortment, your upkeep strategy, your overall brand experience, and customer satisfaction.

Keeping up with your product assortment is no easy feat. Then there’s making sure all your prizes are presented well in your redemption area through strong merchandising techniques. But have you ever considered that even if you’re an expert at these two practices, they’re worth nothing if your redemption area isn’t designed well?

A study by The International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research says this about design in retail environments… 👇

“…The design factor of a store is the biggest environment factor that impacts customer approach behaviors; its power of influence and interpretation are significantly higher than other factors (of the environment).”

…Retail environments are the closest example family entertainment centers have to emulate. Why not learn from the pros right? Let’s talk specifics about how the design of your redemption and game areas affect your business. 👇

1 | Are you beginning with the end in mind?

If you have a redemption counter, did you incorporate cabinets and storage space into your design? It’s important to think about where your merchandise back stock is going to go before you finalize the design of your redemption area.

If you’re lucky enough to have an entire room dedicated to your back stock, it’s best to have it close to your redemption area. We understand this is sometimes out of your control — we’ve seen storage spaces behind bowling alleys, within the laser tag area, and so on. But if you’re at the beginning of your design process, you will optimize your operations by putting a storage space near your redemption room.

Just as your redemption room should be organized by theme, so should your back stock area. Again, this goes for both redemption rooms and redemption counters. Utilize storage bins and labeled boxes to streamline restocking and reordering processes.

Unfortunately, many people forget about the importance of their back stock areas and this leads to the “30-Day Decline.”

2 | Are you following the 8-foot rule?

A big, grand slat wall is tempting. The ability to pack it full of prizes just waiting to be redeemed by excited guests is a glowing image in many minds. But sometimes less is better. Specifically, keeping the height to 8' is better.

Anything taller than 8 feet is significantly more difficult to manage and shop. This goes for both redemption walls and full rooms. By keeping your display 8 feet or less, you allow your guests to see items placed on top shelves or slats. It’s also easier for employees to restock and keep the space clean.

Along with this rule comes keeping your room or wall limited to an optimized size. Too large of a space will require a large SKU count, which leads to a slippery slope on its upkeep.

For example, in a 256 ft² room you’ll manage around 150 SKUs and 36 bins. On a 96 ft² it’s best to have 60–80 SKUs with 24 bins. Having a more-than-optimized number of SKUs based on your dimensions will lead to variety in your program, which creates inefficiencies.

3 | Have you considered the role of lighting?

Shopify says this about lighting in retail stores:

“Physical aspects of your store create the overall feel of your retail experience. Light is one of the ways that retailers can create a pleasant atmosphere for their customers. How people feel when they enter your store can affect their mood, as well as how they perceive your brand and products.”

The redemption area is typically your guests’ last stop and last chance for your business to make a good impression.

If your lighting doesn’t allow items to be seen, you’re hindering the guest experience. Conversely, your lighting needs to be strategic and aligned with your brand.

Incorporating experiential lighting pieces into your area’s design gives you bonus points! KingPins in Portland, Oregon utilized color-changing light bars in their design. These light bars are experiential and also play a practical role by dividing their room into sections to make it more comprehensible.

Visit our design portfolio here!

4 | What’s your line of sight from the game room?

Believe it or not, the design of your space can motivate players to play longer, thus, spend more money in your game room. A best-practice tip we often tell customers is to merchandise big prizes outside the redemption area — in the game room for example— to help players realize what they’re working toward.

Ideally, your entire redemption area is visible from the game room. By having an open line of sight to prizes, players are motivated to play more to win their desired prizes. When centers have a closed-off redemption area, the excitement of winning tickets is lessened because players can’t see their potential winnings.

Take a page out of Andy B’s book. They remodeled the Springfield location to have a more visible — and larger — redemption area. In addition, they placed a game card point of sales system directly by the opening to the redemption room so guests can reload their cards, which motivates game play upsells.

Are you overwhelmed yet?

The design of your redemption and game room areas is a lot to think about. Maybe you’re not in the market to remodel right now or your hands are tied with what you can do with your space. That’s OK! We can help optimize your current setup through our merchandising services.

If you are in the position to remodel, or you’re opening a new space, not all designers are created equally… You can learn more about our design services here. As always you’re welcome to contact our Value Architects to learn more about what’s possible for your space. See our merchandising and design work here. 👇

Stay tuned for Part III of our Science of Merchandising Series, when we will explain the important role design and merchandising play in your desired brand output.

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Make InsightsEmpower.com your guide to your success this year. Check out these upcoming topics:

  • Automation doesn’t work and here’s why…
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Our proprietary Storyboards are a series of pre-designed merchandising layouts, backed by analytics. They’re created with a specific theme or category in mind to engage your guests and make finding the perfect prize a piece of cake.

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