Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

A sudden wash creativity some evenings ago had me pondering about store layout and design. We think of places and shops where the design intentionally initiates a quick turnaround of customers whilst others make the extra effort to keep the customer in store – the longer they stay, the more they spend. 


The perfect example of this would be IKEA. While there are emergency exit signs through the store, shall you dare to deviate from the planned route you are likely to stand confused and lost amongst the aisles. 

Therefore we trudge slowly along, following the yellow arrows, ooo-Ing and aaaahhhh-ing as we take in all the designed kitchen and bedroom showrooms, unconsciously picking up various items we “need”.

You always end up spending a slightly (or much more) unexpected amount, and this is where the design evidently assists in boosting sales. 


I see this most often in restaurants – think Ramen. 

Usually ramen shops are designed to be small and cozy; the chairs aren’t intended for comfort, the spacing between tables isn’t intended for privacy – sometimes you find yourself sharing a communal table with several other people or groups. If you want to stay longer and have a conversation with friends, this isn’t exactly the ambiance you are looking for. 

Usually there are two factors at play here: pricing and operations. A ramen meal would be considered at the lower end of the meal cost spectrum, leading to an incentive for the shop owner to turn as many tables as possible – at low(er) prices, you are banking on making money by doing volume. 

At a “high-end” restaurant where you are paying $150 per person for a meal, you usually feel like you can stay and chat over a 5-course meal, a few glasses of wine, a decadent dessert and a cup of tea or espresso to complete your meal. 

So when you dream up your next business, think of how your strategic elements will affect your relationships with your customers – should they stay or should they go?