Christmas is an exciting time of year for retailers. So you can make more informed choices in how you display your products with maximum impact, we asked retail specialist, Eve Reid from The Metamorphosis Group to give us her top merchandising tips. We hope they help you maximise every commercial opportunity this Christmas.
Remember, although this piece were written with jewellery shops in mind as I write this, the principles are universal and can be and should be applied, whatever you sell. When you know them and intentionally put them into practice, sales follow. So, if you are retailer, in whatever capacity that might be, give yourself a 10 minute health check, reminding yourself where you’re getting it right, and noting where you could be making improvements.” Eve Reid
Push the RIGHT product
In order for your windows to be commercial, it is really important that you are presenting ‘the right products’ at the ‘right time.
Your windows should be used to actively “Push” products of your choice; BUT very often retailers tend to make these product choices based on gut feeling, instead of fact. That may work well for you, but just imagine the success you would have, if you did the research and were really informed.
If you have it available to you, take a really good look at your data. What really sells well for you at any given time of year?
It may just surprise you.
Improve your Pavement Power
Did you know you have just seconds to capture your customer’s attention? Your store façade, as first point of contact, plays a crucial role in the retail experience. It is the face of your brand.
If you look to New York city for inspiration, you’ll find that retailers there recognise it’s not just your window that create opportunity. By using your entire fascia; windows and entrance way, you can create a warm welcoming atmosphere for your customer. You’ll leverage what we in the industry call ‘pavement power’ or ‘kerb appeal’ that will entice customers into your store.
Facade’s come in many shapes and sizes and your goal should be to create a unique experience right from the outset.
Brand visibility is key. Use your signage, windows and entrance way to get your message across. Highlight your specialism. Show potential customers exactly what you have to offer them. Dressing your facade with planting, props or fixtures (such as awnings) will add some external theatre and help to make your store look inviting.
Question: Is there anything extra you could be doing to attract attention?
The well-planned window is always the most effective.
But before you get completely carried away, give your windows some careful consideration:
- I have too many windows!
Consider which ones you want to focus on (i.e. the most prominent). Think about blocking out or ‘graphic-ing’ the others and it will provide you with even more in-store display space.
- My windows are too big.
Window vinyls can be used to create an inner frame to reduce the size of the windows.
- My windows are too small.
Graphics can be used to make a bold statement and frame the window thereby drawing attention to it.
Question: Can you spare a little time? If you can, how about conducting a customer observation exercise…
Stand outside for 15 minutes.
How many people walk past?
Are they looking at your windows?
Where are they looking?
Look, learn and take notes. Observations can lead to small changes; and small changes can lead to HUGE success!
Setting the Scene
Decide on a window theme that helps focus your customer’s attention on the products you sell. It’s crucial that the theme you choose, speaks to your customers and taps into their thoughts and desires.
Colour can be a great tool for doing this.
Certain colours are commonly associated with themes and products groups, so use them to effect. Words and graphic images can also be used as part of your retail display, to strengthen the visual impact and clarify your theme.
Question: Have you a theme in mind?
If not, get out there and have a look at what others are doing… Inspiration is everything!…
Create a strong structure
In order to present a strong and memorable visual image, it’s important to ensure the structure of your display is just right.
Create strong product groupings, using merchandising tools like, retail display stands and counter top display risers to build height and depth. Remember the old merchandising adage, ‘eye-line is buy line’ which really means, make sure your products can be seen. It sounds obvious, but it’s something so routinely forgotten. Spacing & framing should be well considered and graphics placed carefully. Create rule that you stick to, to maintain visual order.
Question: Before you even start, have you got the right platform in place? A few simple risers and countertop units can often give displays all the structure they need.
Sell the story
There is a challenging little fact that all retailers should be aware of….We Don’t Read Signs. BUT we love a Story.
Stories help build trust and deepen the relationship between consumer and product. Today, people don’t want a drill — or a t-shirt or carton of eggs or television set — they want to know where that drill came from, how it came about, and what the drill-maker is going to do with the money they’re about to pay for it.
That doesn’t apply to all people of course, but certainly a vast number of them. Windows are a great way in which you can sell your story.
Question: Very often retailers buy products because they’re motivated by their ‘story’. So ask yourself, what’s your story and are you sharing it?
Keep well stocked & clean
Everything you do has an impact on how a customer feels about you.
If your windows and facade are the ‘mirrors of the store’, they not only attract attention, but should accurately reflect the look and feel of your brand too. Showing consistency will help you build the trust that is needed to ensure customer loyalty.
Housekeeping is really important. There is nothing worse than dust collecting in a store window. When props are in place for a period of time, dirt and dust collect around the prop itself. Customers notice this. So it’s my first rule of good merchandising….
Clean, clean, clean!!
Question:Do you check your windows daily? Lightbulbs working? Products still in stock? Retail Is Detail!
Don’t stand Still
Remember to Refresh.
Regularly changing the jewellery in your window displays or even mixing the jewellery around on your in-store display stands, will make all the difference to what/when things are noticed.
Sometimes items shine better in a new location or under different lights.
And remember, ‘don’t stand still’ …..don’t leave a window installation in for longer than a month. Customers will tire of the props and the look, and then you, and then ultimately start shopping elsewhere.
Question: When do you plan on refreshing? Make a commitment now, and plan it in advance…
Think beyond your windows
Back in the 1900’s people slept for 9 hours every night. Now it’s just 6.9 hours. Life is fast paced, and we have too little time.
This has impacted on the way we shop and is driving trends like drive-by dining and mobile banking. It’s also killing giant malls which take too much time to shop. Consumers are looking for ways to shop with ease and retailers need to give customers the ability to interact and complete transactions on their terms.
In other words if a customer wants to view an item online, purchase it using their smart phone, and return it by dropping it in store, they can now do so in a smooth and seamless way.
Maybe you have already made moves to offer a more flexible service, maybe you haven’t got there yet. But as you move forward as a retailer, understand the new role that omni-channel retailing plays in successful commerce. Find ways to provide your customer with a seamless shopping experience whether it’s online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store. Adjust to deliver the full brand experience.
If you also sell on-line… think how you can link the store and the website together.
The goal should no longer be first and foremost expanding your number of stores.. but rather streamlining your distribution so that you can ensure you are really able to fulfil your existing markets. We are no longer judged on size, but rather on performance and brand exposure.
Question: Will your customers find consistency in both your on and off line communication? Consistency = Trust. Remember that!