Product Zoning: lost in a department store

Preparing myself for the trip to Asia I was clearing my apartment and found some gift cards from ‘de Bijenkorf’ a premium department store in The Netherlands with shop-in-shop formulas from Nike to Gucci. I needed a pair of sneakers and a Lonely Planet of Indonesia. I was hunting for sneakers quite a while now and visited several sport stores before deciding to go to the Flagship Store in Amsterdam. As usual I checked the webshop first to take a look at the assortment and found some nice ones online. Knowing what I want it was time to pay a visit. Somehow this department store confused me which route to take: running on floor 4 or shoe department on floor 2? I tried the running section first since the specific sneakers I have seen at Footlocker were located in the running section. After a couple of escalators I entered the fourth floor leaving me with a bigger confusion: bags, stationery and books. Did I overlooked something? Or did I want to go for the sneakers but heading for the Lonely Planet at the books section? Now I am here I might better go for the travel book and find out where to find the running section later. Surprisingly on the way to the travel section, the Nike running shop popped up like an oasis in the desert. I did not see this coming.This  a complete other style of product zoning. What does running has to do with books and travel gear? It was not a wide range and I have seen only Nike (not expecting Asics or Adidas in a Nike shop-in-shop but expecting brand specific sections on the same floor). Tried the shoe section on the 2nd and found the different brands. Satisfied but still confused I left the store with the book, the sneakers and a balance on my gift card. So what causes the confusion and what would I do differently:

  1. Running section to be placed next to clothing and other fashion items. Makes more sense right?
  2. Running section was explicit communicated on the routing signage. Since there is only a Nike store at the awkward 4th floor between non relevant products I would focus on the Nike Running store. If there was absolutely no space on the same floor and Nike wished to have extra shop space for running (let them pay for their name on the signage as part of the agreement).

Did Bijenkorf left money in my pocket?
Yes, since I was more focusing on finding my way I did not spend time to look at other products on the route nor did I wanted to navigate around the rest of the store. Why? Because it felt inconvenient to be Inspector Gadget to find a product you want to sell to me. And I am a man and like overview so I want to spend as less time on shopping as possible but… If you were able to navigate me through the clothing section the opportunity was there to spend the last euros of my gift card on socks. I will come back to spend the last euros so there will be a second chance. But first stop is now Guilin, China!

By the way: How easy is it to find a product in your store?

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