By Bill Briggs
Grocery giants have painstakingly dissected our shopping behaviors. One thing they've discovered: Most consumers travel stores in a counterclockwise direction. Amazingly, retailers with a main entrance on the right side tend to do better than those with the primary entryway on the left, according to Psychology Today.
"The whole design of a store is architected to entice the customers to run the full circle of the store," said John Herndon of Accounting Enterprise Advisors in Livermore, Calif., who has worked with Clorox and Safeway.
Endcaps -- the eye-catching displays placed at the head of each aisle, -- are designed to draw shoppers down an aisle, around the corner and up the next aisle. "It's like a rat in a maze," said Herndon.
This practice, he said, has been in place "for generations" and is used by all the major chains.
"In an industry like retail grocery, where the margins are anywhere between 2% and 3%, they can't afford not to follow a best practice like that because market share is so tenuous," he said. "They have you trapped in there (for an average of) half an hour. It's like a pachinko game."