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Store Zone Speed Bump 1

Store Spots - Slow Down! Speed Bump Ahead

Retail Speed Bump 2

Last week, we prepared shoppers to buy as they entered the Decompression Zone. Today, you'll see how to slow them down to introduce them to your merchandise, by carefully placing some Speed Bumps. This is the beginning of a deeper conversation with your customers.


On the road, they can be annoying (even though they are there for our safety!). In your shop, they're not annoying at all. You don't want a customer to enter your store, only to charge through it like Usain Bolt. Instead, you can create breaks - speed bumps - strategically through your store to slow customers down. This gives them time and space to consider the merchandise you've displayed. 


For a moment, consider any large format warehouse-style store during construction, as permanent fixtures are installed. You will see row after row of warehouse racking, with clear, wide aisles allowing forklift access. Next, picture its transformation into a retail environment, specifically stock placement. First, stock goes onto the shelf. Next, all kinds of items start filling aisles and walkways - stock on pallets, semi-permanent display units, even small and temporary cardboard constructions. These are all speed bumps, slowing traffic and creating a visual break. Focus is brought to something near (the display), away from something afar (the aisle end).

As you can then see, a speed bump can go virtually anywhere in the store, and there's a couple of prime areas. 

  1. Immediately after the Decompression Zone - once your shopper is in the door and relaxed, show them your very best. This is an excellent place to show new items. Interactive displays work well here. You can also create a story here - Product A goes with B and C. Fashion typically does this well presenting an outfit - but it could be anything from the elements of an amazing meal to a fun day out with family or friends. This can be a highly profitable area of your store. Warning: don't fall into the trap of creeping into the decompression zone - this will cause shoppers to rush right past your perfectly merchandised display.
  2. Along Aisles and Walkways - sometimes called Merchandise Outposts, you can create two different effects here. Your customer will often pause at an off-shelf display along a walkway, where you might display promotional or cross-sale stock. Placement at an aisle end can draw a customer to that point, where they will then pause. Now you are guiding customers throughout your store to various points of interest.


Let your imagination run wild! Here's some assorted tips to help you along

  1. Create a custom fixture - your store format may suit an incredible display piece that fits with the theme or decor of your store. Ensure its functional though - selling merchandise remains the priority! There are many excellent designers here in Australia of this type of unit.
  2. Change often - give customers reasons to come back, by constantly changing speed bump displays. For the main bumps installed after the decompression zone, weekly changes help you develop frequent visitors. Depending on your vertical, daily changes can be powerful.
  3. Use modular display systems - display fixtures that can be easily rearranged to suit different products can be your friend, as your next display is not limited by parameters of a fixed piece of furniture. This also gives you options with the display footprint, creating a fluid and interesting environment to your frequent customers. 
  4. Suppliers are your friends - if you're selling goods from external suppliers, they may provide you with free or subsidised display units. Ask them!
  5. Power of the U - if space allows it, a U-shaped speed bump can be very effective. This will suit interactive displays and also areas for rummaging - anything that has the customer stop for a relatively long time. Space is important though, so don't make the area too tight. Leave enough room for customers to stand back to back at the sides, with another walking through to the back of the U, so that nobody touches. We all value our personal space.


  • Speed Bumps are intended to slow the customer so they have the opportunity to browse
  • They can be permanent, semi-permanent or temporary fixtures
  • The prime Speed bumps are located immediately after the Decompression Zone
  • Change these displays as frequently as possible - it creates additional sales and brings customers back to your store often
  • Consider all your options for display fixtures - customised, modular and supplier-funded

Author profile

Steve Nelson believes in incredible retail spaces that sustain communities. Steve is a Retail Display and Operations specialist and has worked with iconic retailers across the globe. As leader of Euroswift Retail Creations in Australia, his focus is delivering solutions and techniques that assist retail hubs in growing and protecting their investment. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn



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