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LEARNING CURVEIssue 8 | 2011 www.40exhibition-world.netSupermarket design is a science; I dare to say that fl oor planning in our industry is highly unscientifi c and underdeveloped. Floor planning in Anglo-Saxon regions follows much different patterns than in continental Europe; the reasons are manifold.However, the fl oor plan is the core distinguishing feature for the product trade fair. It sets one major condition for the success of a show, and therefore can be the seal of quality for a show.Along the lines of supermarket design, the design of an exhibition show fl oor should address the following questions: . How can a fl oor plan help to create the highest possible customer satisfaction?. How can a fl oor plan help to create highest possible ROI for exhibitors?. How can a fl oor plan help to create highest possible ROI for the organiser?The goals associated with these questions appear to be contradictory, but in fact are not. There are numerous possibilities for organisers, which can be learned from the supermarkets or have similarities to supermarkets and addressed equally. For example, dwell time of visitors in the hall may be improved by placing certain exhibitors, bellwethers, not at the front entrance of the hall but rather in the back of the hall or evenly distributed in different zones of a hall. It can be assumed that this will enhance visitor fl ow and therefore enhance the ROI of other exhibitors as visitors will spend more time fl ocking around in the hall on their way from and to the different attractions. Sophisticated signage, aisle width, location of restaurants, location of coffee or snack bars and location of forums, workshops and so on will also contribute to an improved dwell time of visitors.As with supermarkets, different areas in a hall have different visitor frequencies, even though it is frequently denied in our industry. Price differentiation for different location qualities, for example charging a premium for a premium location does in most cases result in a better return for the organiser. At the same time it enhances customer satisfaction as exhibitors get choices and customers who have a choice are generally more satisfi ed than those who cannot chose.We have heard many times that locating bellwethers anywhere but the front entrance of halls is frequently diffi cult to implement. Experience, however, shows that pricing structures based on differentiation enable organizers to reallocate those bellwethers, to increase customer satisfaction and to enhance the ROI of both exhibitors and organisers. In summary: Supermarkets have a long history of research on customer behaviour; our industry should look at some of this research work and utilize it to improve customer satisfaction and organiser's profi tability. It's not much of a jump, swapping a trolley for an exhibition programme...The layoutFloorplans are made to entice visitors around the store. Putting bread and milk at the far corner make it more likely you'll stop elsewhere along the way.AislesPlacing the biggest or most interesting brands in the centre of the aisles ensures visitors loiter for longer.Aisle endsNot just bargains. Finding a place at the end of an aisle makes products stand out that bit more, whatever they are. But if you place the big brands further back, you'll draw them in.Island standsA stand you can pass on all sides offers that much more chance you will take a look at the products on sale.Loyalty cardsIf you are a regular, you get discounted products. And more importantly, they can plan on you being there the next time.