Posted in Design & Display, Marketing

Now THIS is how you launch…

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Posted in Design & Display

Top Mistakes of Visual Merchandising

We get around a bit in retail land and it’s part of what we love about the job. We get to see a great deal of good and bad along the way.

Given the work we do with the retail supply chain (brands, landlords etc) we are often called in to ‘help’ some of their suppliers; i.e. the retailers.

Given these circumstance, we prefer to provide advice that can actually be implemented in the short-term, rather than esoteric ‘strategic’ suggestions.

I find that we repeat the advice at store after store. I wrote the eBook (sold HERE) but still we see the same thing over and over, and just scanning through our latest Visual Merchandising Advisory Report that Moonyeen pulled together (over 40pp) I felt the déjà vu – and was wondering if anyone is paying attention – or whether they wanted to go broke?

Below is the list of the most commonly given advice I give to struggling retailers. I pass this on to you, so that you don’t end up getting a visit from us, because, quite frankly, sometimes I feel like the Grim Reaper…

  1. Fill the holes. (If there is nothing there, it can’t sell.)
  2. Don’t split your categories – unless you are cross-merchandising for a pre-determined purpose.
  3. Put the RIGHT product at eye-level. (Hint: it is not necessarily the most popular.)
  4. Use signage to communicate effectively
  5. Open up the sight-lines so that the customer can see.
  6. Get your adjacencies right – and that means the way the customer shops, not because it suits you that way.
  7. Get rid of that stupid sign that says ‘the camera is watching’ – and try and have a sales assistant that actually serves AND get rid of that stupid sign that says ‘you pay when you break it’ and encourage the customer to shop.
  8. Displays are NOT about ‘themes’. Accessorising is not a substitute for a display; so DISPLAY what you want to SELL.
  9. Give your display a ‘focal point’ – something that draws the customer’s eye; because if it isn’t seen it will never be sold.
  10. Clean your friggin’ shop

BONUS TIP: don’t always sell your discounted rubbish at the front of the store – sometimes there is a reason why it never sold in the first place.

 

Posted in Customer Service, Design & Display, Productivity, Shopper Marketing

Invisible dollars: Or the Art of Retailing

Where the material ends, art begins. 


This is a quote by Etienne Hajdu, and it reflects his view on sculpting. Retail too, is an art, and we are inclined to forget that sometimes.

Sometimes it is what is NOT there that makes a retail experience memorable. In fact maybe, as alluded in the title, that is really what retail is all about.

In retail we focus on getting the offer right, on getting the prices right and so forth. We focus on the ‘what IS’ to the exclusion of ‘what is NOT’.

By this I mean we consider all the variables of retail and we attempt to manipulate that into something that is unique.

When people buy a product or a service, they do not only pay with money, they pay with many ‘invisible dollars’:

  • ·        They invest their very precious time
  • ·        They risk their reputation
  • ·        The opportunity cost of not pursuing a different product/outcome

Forgetting these invisible payments can cost us dearly.

Similarly, the retailer pays with those same invisible dollars (i.e. indirect costs) for the products. We don’t factor the opportunity cost of the working capital, the risk of obsolescence and damage into our cost of sales.

Forgetting these ‘invisible costs’ can cost us dearly.

But more importantly, how can you improve the customer experience by taking things away rather than adding it? It is human nature to want to add/grow/improve and it does not come naturally to prune or backburn.

We have found that we have to build these checkpoints into our Customer Experience Design initiatives by conscious effort to make sure we keep things simple and that we remember the value of the unseen.

Because, more often than we would care to admit, getting out the way of the customer is more valuable than the alternative.

 

Posted in Customer Service, Design & Display, Marketing, Selling & Persuasion, Shopper Marketing

Customer flirtations: How and Why

A female begins fascinating a male by smiling at him, raising her eyebrows to make her eyes appear more child-like, quickly lowering her eyelids  while tucking her chin down in an effort to bring him closer. After averting her gaze, she will almost invariably and within moments, put her hands on/near her mouth, giggle, lick her lips and thrust her chest out towards the object of desire.

 

(According to research conducted by Eibl-Eibesfeldt quoted by Sally Hogshead in the book Fascination. To get the book, there is an AMAZON link on the left-hand menu of this post.)

 

Imagine a peacock and you can imagine the man’s behaviour.

Research has found that flirting behaviours – both men and women – are universal and timeless; it applies regardless of race, culture, language, socio-economic status or any other variable.

It seems to me that retailers would do well to learn from these universal principles because this is the basis of making a fascinating offer or proposition. And if it holds true as widely as indicated, the relevance may be stretched to the shopfloor:

Let’s see how this might work:

  • Smiling

How friendly is your store? Your offer? Your staff? Other research has also proven clearly that people like to buy from people whom they like.

  • Raising her eyebrows to make her eyes appear more child-like

Sometimes the offer we make is pretty crass. We shout ‘sale’ and ‘special’ from every corner. Now whilst that works for some (ahem) offers that may be made in certain parts of the town, the normal customer may appreciate something more subtle and innocent.

  • Lowering eyelids & tucking her chin down to bring him closer

How enticing is your offer? Anything that will make them take a closer look?  What will make them pick it up? (Once that happens your odds of a sale is better than 50% in most instances. Is there any mystery? Suspense?

  • Giggle, lick her lips

Are you promising to be fun; promising to be (ahem) easy (to deal with) – or are customers faced with signs and terms and conditions before they have even made the purchase?

  • Thrust the chest towards the object of desire

Ultimately the offer has to be clear and importantly, it has to be made. It is not about the song & dance; it is about the eventual connection. How bold is you statement of intent? How attractive is your merchandising? Do you make the first move and show your wares on offer?

Whilst this analogy is made tongue-in-cheek, there is an element of verity. Because ‘your market’ is human being first and customer second. Maybe we can treat them accordingly.

 

 

 

Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising: General Tips (post 12 of 12)

Managing store presentation and merchandise display is an ongoing task that occupies floor staff constantly. (Occasionally even causing them to ignore the customer!) The following list is an important list of basic rules that apply to most retail formats:

  • Use of signs inside and out.
  • High GP items at eye level.
  • Have an attractive, uncrowded entrance.
  • Design to your traffic flow.
  • Utilise end caps/ gondola ends.
  • Have a display with add-on items.
  • Display impulse items.
  • Display ahead of the buying cycle. (Some fashion stores take this too far and are selling next season in the middle of this season.)
  • Appeal to as many senses as possible.
  • Colourise.
  • Give the impression you have a lot of product in stock.
Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising: General Tips (post 12 of 12)

Managing store presentation and merchandise display is an ongoing task that occupies floor staff constantly. (Occasionally even causing them to ignore the customer!) The following list is an important list of basic rules that apply to most retail formats:

  • Use of signs inside and out.
  • High GP items at eye level.
  • Have an attractive, uncrowded entrance.
  • Design to your traffic flow.
  • Utilise end caps/ gondola ends.
  • Have a display with add-on items.
  • Display impulse items.
  • Display ahead of the buying cycle. (Some fashion stores take this too far and are selling next season in the middle of this season.)
  • Appeal to as many senses as possible.
  • Colourise.
  • Give the impression you have a lot of product in stock.
Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising: Using Lighting (post 11 of 12)

  • Lighting not only creates atmosphere, it also assists the retailer with minimising theft in the store. 
  • Illuminate merchandise from the angle a customer will see it – usually front-on.
  • Use baffles to direct lighting at merchandise – and not the customers.
  • Focussed (spot) lights should never be aimed at the floor.  (In stores such as supermarkets, general fluorescent lights will shine on floors as well.)
  • Be careful not to create glare – such as on jewellery showcases and deli-counters.
  • Conceal source lamps (use alcoves etc.) to make general lighting invisible.
  • Be aware of how type of (fluorescent) light influences the colour of merchandise.
Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising: Using Lighting (post 11 of 12)

  • Lighting not only creates atmosphere, it also assists the retailer with minimising theft in the store. 
  • Illuminate merchandise from the angle a customer will see it – usually front-on.
  • Use baffles to direct lighting at merchandise – and not the customers.
  • Focussed (spot) lights should never be aimed at the floor.  (In stores such as supermarkets, general fluorescent lights will shine on floors as well.)
  • Be careful not to create glare – such as on jewellery showcases and deli-counters.
  • Conceal source lamps (use alcoves etc.) to make general lighting invisible.
  • Be aware of how type of (fluorescent) light influences the colour of merchandise.
Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising Strategies (post 10 of 12)

Most retailers can use the following merchandising strategies and they need not follow only one.  In fact, many retailers will use many of these strategies simultaneously.

HOMOGENOUS MERCHANDISING

This is a strategy that is used in a retail environment where there is a high degree of product specialisation – that is speciality stores.  It is the opposite of standard, heterogeneous merchandising approach.

THEMED MERCHANDISING

The use of themes (Fathers day/Out of space) as a unifying factor, either on a storewide basis or only a department – or product range basis. 

LIFESTYLE DISPLAYS

This is also a themed display, but it does not tell a story for the sake of a story, but rather to fit and compliment the customer’s lifestyle.  Typical lifestyles are identified in the field of Consumer Behaviour, and could be for instance; 

Yuppies, Greens or Health Nuts – all of which are distinct customer groups that could be targeted by the retailer.

WAREHOUSE DISPLAY

This strategy requires virtually all stock to be on the sales floor – stacked to the ceiling and with industrial-type shelving. (E.g. Bunnings.)

SCRAMBLED MERCHANDISING

This strategy emphasizes the cross merchandising of product ranges that do not – at first glance – belong together.  Most newsagents adopt a strategy of selling confectionery alongside books and magazines.

VERTICAL MERCHANDISING

This is the strategy of emphasizing variety of product ranges by putting all product ranges next to each other and using the depth (vertically) to put back-up stock of the same variety on the shelf. Many retail managers under-estimate the contribution of vertical merchandising, which is the underlying construct of planograms.

MINIMALIST

This merchandising strategy is especially suited for stores that are attempting to portray an exclusive image.  A boutique with shiny marble floors, two statues, a painting and five dresses against the one wall, would be following a minimalist strategy.

STANDARD OR CLASSIC MERCHANDISING

The standard merchandising strategy makes use of the maximum merchandise on the traditional shelving and rails – displayed in the conventional manner.  This strategy is usually applied in larger stores’ bulk-of-stock areas and specialists strategies will be followed for feature displays.

Posted in Design & Display, Merchandising

Visual Merchandising Strategies (post 10 of 12)

Most retailers can use the following merchandising strategies and they need not follow only one.  In fact, many retailers will use many of these strategies simultaneously.

HOMOGENOUS MERCHANDISING

This is a strategy that is used in a retail environment where there is a high degree of product specialisation – that is speciality stores.  It is the opposite of standard, heterogeneous merchandising approach.

THEMED MERCHANDISING

The use of themes (Fathers day/Out of space) as a unifying factor, either on a storewide basis or only a department – or product range basis. 

LIFESTYLE DISPLAYS

This is also a themed display, but it does not tell a story for the sake of a story, but rather to fit and compliment the customer’s lifestyle.  Typical lifestyles are identified in the field of Consumer Behaviour, and could be for instance; 

Yuppies, Greens or Health Nuts – all of which are distinct customer groups that could be targeted by the retailer.

WAREHOUSE DISPLAY

This strategy requires virtually all stock to be on the sales floor – stacked to the ceiling and with industrial-type shelving. (E.g. Bunnings.)

SCRAMBLED MERCHANDISING

This strategy emphasizes the cross merchandising of product ranges that do not – at first glance – belong together.  Most newsagents adopt a strategy of selling confectionery alongside books and magazines.

VERTICAL MERCHANDISING

This is the strategy of emphasizing variety of product ranges by putting all product ranges next to each other and using the depth (vertically) to put back-up stock of the same variety on the shelf. Many retail managers under-estimate the contribution of vertical merchandising, which is the underlying construct of planograms.

MINIMALIST

This merchandising strategy is especially suited for stores that are attempting to portray an exclusive image.  A boutique with shiny marble floors, two statues, a painting and five dresses against the one wall, would be following a minimalist strategy.

STANDARD OR CLASSIC MERCHANDISING

The standard merchandising strategy makes use of the maximum merchandise on the traditional shelving and rails – displayed in the conventional manner.  This strategy is usually applied in larger stores’ bulk-of-stock areas and specialists strategies will be followed for feature displays.