It happened just before Christmas. I was on my way to get my son’s Christmas present on a quiet Sunday morning. I was driving around a bend on a dual carriageway and overtaking a lorry and there it was. A speed camera. I was 1 mile per hour over the acceptable limit (approximately 1.6 km/h for those using metric) and 2 days later a letter arrived. I had a choice – receive points on my license and a fine or go on a speed awareness course.

Funnily enough – I went on the course. I am glad I did because I also learned a valuable lesson about retail too!

During the session we were asked 2 simple questions:

  1. Draw a ‘Give Way’ road sign
  2. Draw a ‘Stop’ road sign

Easy right?

Before I share what happened, let me give you some context. You would be forgiven if you were thinking that the course was full of 20 year old boy racers. There were in fact 24 people on the course and a rough estimate was that the average age was about 50. These people would have been driving for more than 25 years.

I want to stress that point. They had probably been driving on the roads EVERYDAY for over 25 years.

Shocking Results

Back to the exercise.

  • 60% of the people in the room FAILED to draw the ‘Give Way’ road sign correctly.
  • 75% of the people in the room FAILED to draw the ‘Stop’ road sign correctly.

In the final mile drive to the venue for the speed awareness course – there were FOUR ‘Give Way’ signs.

Implications For Travel Retail

You might be thinking ‘Fascinating Kevin, but what has this got to do with Travel Retail?’

OK – the implications are significant.

Let’s assume that these drivers have been on the road every day for the last 25 years (25 years x 365 days = 9,125 days). Let us assume that each day, the driver will see 3 ‘Give Way’ signs every day. It is likely to be more. So that is 9,125 x 3 = 27,375 opportunities to see. We will forget the fact that we had to learn the highway code when we learned to drive.

Despite seeing the sign over 27,000 times – 6 in 10 people FAILED to draw the ‘Give Way’ sign.

Some question’s for you…

Given that your passengers may only visit once or twice a year:

  • Do you think your signage is working for you?
  • Do you think they will remember your brand?
  • Do you think your promotions are being noticed?

Think again.

One more thing…

On a more serious note, the course I attended was worth doing. We were not lectured at, made to feel bad or even criticised. We were shown examples of where accidents happened and people were doing everything right except being a few miles an hour over the speed limit. The outcome can be trivial, then again it can be devastating.

So, I will do my bit by sharing one thing I was reminded of…

If you drive, Always leave a clear 2 second gap between you and the car in front. That is it…. oh and remember your road signs!!

Until next week!

Kevin