Retail Space Planning Community

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TLDR: Six Stories Space Planners Should Skim

By Mike Wilkening, Communications Manager, ARC

In this new Space Planning Community feature, we share brief summaries and links to six retail stories with implications for space planners. Want to see a story featured? Send us an email here and we’ll feature in the next issue, with a shoutout.  

Aldi’s ‘aisle of shame’ is a middle row of goodies that have nothing to do with groceries. Shoppers are huge fans of it. – CNN 

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Why You Should Read: Aldi calls it the  “Aldi Finds” aisle. Enthusiasts call it the “Aisle of Shame.” Whatever you call it, Aldi’s signature middle aisle, filled with a wide variety of seasonal goods, closeouts, and other interesting knickknacks, is an eye-catcher. It is the definition of a “treasure hunt” for shoppers, something that every retailer tries to create.  Confession: your humble author had never visited an Aldi before last year – and the first thing he went towards, as if pulled by magnet, was that center aisle. It was glorious. He then visited the cheese and wine aisles but that is another story for another time.  

Ten Steps to Design the Perfect Point of Sale – Fashion United  

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Why You Should Read: For space planners, the most interesting element of the feature is the discussion of the ever-ending importance of the shop window. Can you catch their eye? If so, the other elements in converting a browser to a buyer then come into play. There is also some wonderful insight from Spanish fashion retailer Scotta 1985 on their approach to “inspiring” shoppers through the idea of travel. This struck us as a particularly clear and brilliant idea, particularly when it comes to goods associated with vacations, or other out-of-house excursions. No one ever buys shoes for how they look around the house, after all.  

Inside a Closing Macy’s Store – Retail Dive   

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Why You Should Read: This should be a “view” as much as a “read” for space planners. One of America’s flagship retailers, Macy’s store design and floor layout is something many shoppers know so well. For space planners, seeing one of their stores being emptied out stokes the flames of imagination. Is there room to innovate in a department-store layout like the one seen here? The story also has some wonderful display photos. For instance, look at the attractive Michael Kors display, still shining even as the store slowly winds down.  

Retail needs to enter its less-is-more era — Vogue Business 

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Why You Should Read: How much choice is too much choice? This thoughtful piece holds that a shopper overwhelmed by options won’t be a buyer. There’s a lot of good data and insight about shopper psychology here.  

How Flexible Packaging is Revolutionizing Retail – Packaging Gateway   

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Why You Should Read: Given the rise of sustainability, retailers and CPGS must stay current on the trends hitting – or soon to hit – shelves. As we read this piece, one question struck us: what is the impact of flexible packaging on planogram compliance?  

Kavanagh’s slashes food waste with flashing shelf light system at Belsize Park store – The Grocer  

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Why You Should Read: Here’s another interesting piece on sustainability on shelf. In this case, London grocer Kavanagh’s is using AI-powered technology to power flashing lights when goods are near expiration. Of note: the service reduced worker time searching for expired goods by 78%.  


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About the Author: Mike Wilkening, Communications Manager, for the Association of Retail and Consumer Professionals (ARC).

Mike brings more than two decades of communications experience to the CMA/SIMA. He began his career in journalism, spending more than 10 years covering the National Football League for Pro Football Weekly and NBC’s Pro Football Talk. His bylines have also appeared in CBS MarketWatch, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, NBC New York, and ESPN.com. More recently, he has pivoted to corporate communications, including strategy and messaging experience for a Fortune 500 company. Mike holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois.

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