According to a recent survey of 1,000 U.K. shoppers by Aldata, adjustments within store layouts and placement of products have overtaken "out of stocks" and "empty shelves" as a key frustration for older shoppers. Over 36 percent of shoppers over the age of 55 spent at least an extra ten minutes in supermarkets due to confusion caused by changed layouts.
Across age groups, the survey found a third of shoppers are spending 20 percent longer in-store when retailers change their layouts.
Mark Croxton, head of Global Customer Support for retail optimization specialist Aldata, the sponsor of the survey, said in statement: "The over 50s value convenience over cost and by making store layout changes where they see no perceived benefit, retailers are in fact risking their long-term loyalty to the store."
Younger shoppers were seen as more receptive to the potential benefits from shifts in store layouts. Just over a quarter (25 percent) of respondents aged 18 to 24 found layout changes to be the most distressing part of their shopping experience. But that rate jumped to almost half (47 percent) for those between the ages of 35 to 54.
Another problem across age groups is perception. Sixty-two percent of overall respondents don’t believe that changing in-store layouts is for their benefit. They see them as a ploy to keep consumers in the store longer and/or direct them to new or expensive product lines.
"Shoppers tire of stores when they are unable to find the products they want," said Mr. Croxton. "When it comes to planning stores, retailers have to do so carefully as they could be pushing loyal customers too far and frustrating them to the point where they leave empty-handed and into a competitor store."