Mind The Landing Zone

Next time you walk into an Apple Store notice the entry display and area. How does it feel? How does it make you feel? Then walk into your local Radio Shack and note the same things.

Exhibit A – Apple Store

Exhibit B – The Shack

One of the key differences is that the folks at Apple (and other good merchandisers) understand the importance of the “landing zone”…and those at Radio Shack don’t. Paco Underhill was one of the first people to point out that when people walk into a store they need a “landing zone” where they can transition from the chaos of the street, soak up the store atmosphere and overall sense of place, get their bearings and then…and only then…prepare to shop. So the good merchandisers don’t push tons of product at the door, knowing that it won’t sell anyway because people aren’t ready to buy yet. What a carefully selected product or message can do, however, is set the tone for the entire experience.

Now, apply that concept to websites. Especially those featuring branded products, services, experiences or ideas. Visitors enter a website from the chaos of the internet/web…..and may need a similar sort of landing zone. Before blasting them with the deal of the century, the latest news or a page full of links and callouts instead offer them a chance to decompress, soak up the experience, pick their path and then make a move. It will make for a more engaging website encounter and may keep them on your site longer and coming back more often.