A2. Organizing Principles (Androcino's vs. Amazon)

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This report compares and contrasts the organizing principles guiding the design of the Androcino supermarket and the Amazon online store. 


Andronico uses the below principles in organizing its resources (i.e. product inventory and staff).

Product Type 

Similar and complementary products are sorted into broad categories, grouped together, and placed in close proximity of each other, in various categorical aisles that are clearly labeled to aid product-finding and navigation.

The major product groups that are so categorized and organized are beverages in aisles 5, 6, 7, canned and packaged foods in  aisles 8, 9, 10 and 11, produce in aisle 1, snacks in aisle 2, frozen foods in aisles 3 and 13, toiletries in aisle 4, cleaning and laundry supplies in aisle 12, and meats and seafood at the back. Prepared foods and gifts have their own dedicated sections as well.

Goal-Oriented Traffic Patterns

Customer and staff circulation patterns guide the overall layout and design of the store. The placement of products relative to each other, and of products and staff relative to the main (customer) and service (staff) entrance is such that it supports easy and efficient task-oriented movement of customers and staff.

For instance, the prepared foods and gifts sections are located at the front of the store, in highly visible areas. Customers who make a quick trip to the store with the goal of picking up a meal or a gift would appreciate not having to navigate through the aisles to reach their destination.

The check-out staff are placed close to the exit, so customers can easily check-out on their way out.

Complementary aisles and the products within, are placed close to each other to facilitate easy navigation.

High-turnover perishable products such as meat, seafood, bread, and produce are presumably placed close to the store service entrance at the back right-hand corner, for easy re-stocking and servicing.

Sales Strategy 

Sales strategy is an important organizing principle for a retail store. Products are strategically placed throughout the store so as to increase their visibility, draw customers to them, and boost their sales.

For instance, popular products such as meat and seafood and necessity items such as dairy and bread are placed at the farthest ends of the store so as to force customer traffic through product aisles resulting in increased aisle-product visibility and sales along the way.

Fresh produce is placed close to the entrance and adjacent to the storefront (possibly glazed) to establish an aesthetic and healthful image for the store.

High-margin products such as produce, beverages, prepared foods are placed in high-visibility areas close to the front.

Candy, magazines, and new products are placed near cash registers to improve visibility and encourage impulse buys.

Audience/ Demographic

Babies and pets have dedicated sections with specific products catering to their needs, while the rest of the inventory caters to a more generic, older, and human audience.


Amazon uses the below principles in organizing its resources (i.e. online product inventory).

Product Type

Amazon’s online inventory is divided into various product categories, and similar and/or related products are sorted into each of these categories based on their type. The categories range from as broad and generic as ‘Sports and Outdoors’ to as narrow and specific as ‘Kindle’. Some products are cross-referenced. For instance, clothing is a category of it’s own, but is also referenced under ‘Toys, Kids & Baby’ and ‘Sports & Outdoors’. Likewise, books are cross-referenced under ‘Kindle’ and ‘Audible Audiobooks’. Sorting related products into categories allows the user to filter and search within a specific category to find more relevant results. 

Product Format

Another distinction within the various product categories is based on product format, i.e. on whether the products are physically stored in warehouses, or digitally stored on servers. Categories such as Videos, MP3s, Cloud Apps, Android Apps, Digital Games & Software, and Audiobooks comprise of only digital products; a few such as Kindle, Books, and Music-Movies-Games, contain both physical and digital products; while the rest comprise of only of physical products.

Sales Strategy

In order to afford enhanced visibility to Amazon’s own products and services and boost their sales, some categories such as Instant Videos, Amazon Cloud Drive, Kindle comprise of exclusive Amazon products and services. These also happen to be the most specific and narrow category types. Another sales strategy that online stores like Amazon employ is to show recommendations for other similar or related products.

Audience/ Demographic

Babies and kids have a dedicated section with specific products catering to their needs. The system also allows for additional enhanced filtering options such as age, gender, and interests at the next hierarchical level within the ‘Toys, Kids, & Baby’ category.

Compare and Contrast 


There is a lot of overlap in the design intent of both, Androcino and Amazon. The design of both stores is governed by the same two overarching goals:

     enhancing customer experience, and 

     increasing product sales

Enhancing Customer Experience

Ease of navigation and product retrieval are the cornerstones for a satisfying customer experience in both, a physical and a virtual store. 

Both Androcino and Amazon carefully sort and arrange their products by types and attributes into hierarchical product categories to aid customers in product finding and retrieval. Both stores use more or less, the same number of levels of depth in their organizational hierarchies. For instance, the Androcino system has three hierarchical levels- the aisles dedicated to beverages have distinct shelf-spaces allocated to different types of beverage-related products (such as wine, beer, water, tea, coffee, etc.), and these spaces in turn contain the individual product items of different brands. Likewise, the Amazon product categories are further divided into two to three additional hierarchical levels that gradually become narrower in scope. 

Increasing Product Sales

As explained in the previous sections, both Androcino and Amazon employ strategic organizational practices that enhance the visibility, sales appeal, and resulting sales of their products. 


However, there are some fundamental differences in the organization systems of both stores by virtue of the fact that Androcino is a physical entity while Amazon is a virtual store. 

The most basic difference is in the manner in which customers search for and find products in both stores. In case of Androcino, the customer has to rely on the signage, staff guidance, and their own memory and mental map of the store to navigate physically through various aisles to search and locate products. In Amazon’s case, a simple and quick online search query returns either the specific product being searched for or various products that the customer can then filter and sort based on their preferences. Due to the greater flexibility and ease in product search and retrieval in an online store, their organizational criteria can be more relaxed. 

In an online store, products can be cross-referenced in various categories, but in a physical store, each product lives within a single category. The boundaries between the organizational categories are rigid for a physical store, but fuzzy and flexible for an online store. 

Customer navigation is more structured in a physical store than in an online store. While Androcino has to carefully guide the navigation patterns of its customers to expose them to additional products and increase sales, Amazon can retrieve and display recommendations for related products synchronously with the user’s search patterns. As a result, Androcino needs to be more strategic about how its organizational categories and the products within, are physically arranged in the store to facilitate easy and engaging customer navigation.  

Another constraint that a physical store has to deal with is limited size and space which forces them to be more selective about their inventory and to be more efficient and strategic about their organizing practices. Contrarily, a virtual store has much greater flexibility in expanding the size and variety of its online inventory. Also, an online inventory and its organization may be more quickly modified and adapted as compared to that of a physical store.


Thus, from a very broad and abstract perspective, organization in both, the physical and virtual store, is guided by the below principles:

      resource type, and

     task/goal oriented navigation, search, and retrieval