Saturday, December 1, 2012

Do and Don't: THEME-ing Sells!

As the holiday season nears, most retailers will be readying their seasonal decorations.

To create a unique look custom tailored to your products, try using the very products you are selling to display– or take toy miniatures of it. Nothing is far fetched. I remember doing 64 themed trees one holiday season and each one was tailored to the retailers. Coffee beans in a teacup for a coffee shop; plastic fishes swimming on a blue stream of iridescent fabric for a fish store; and miniature sport toys for a sporting goods store.


After 3 wonderful years of blogging, this will be my last blog for awhile, until I amass more do and don’t retail photos. Have a Great Holiday Season!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Do and Don't: Printing Price Signs

Printing prices or handwriting them? Of course handwriting them is so much easier but it also comes across as home-made and very unprofessional unless the handwriting is consistent and beautifully executed.


DO: If your handwriting is less than perfect, opt for a printer. It adds business credibility and supports the products’ value.

 CAN BE IMPROVED: Selling formal wear requires a higher standard than those selling regular casual wear. This is due to the difference in price points and also product values. In more cases than not, a professionally finished price tag is necessary.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Do and Don't: Windows Deserve Respect

Windows are there to SELL to customers. They are usually the first thing customers see and therefore, the start of a selling process. Placing inventory boxes or garbage right in this location just because there is room, is counter productive to what the store is trying to achieve.

DO: Allocating space around a display builds both business and product credibility. It enhances the perceived value of the products displayed and gives it the respect it deserves. This window effectively conveys this to customers.

DON’T: AVOID placing items that do not belong in a shop window! What an otherwise is a beautiful and eye catching display is ruined by the inventory boxes behind the display and the garbage adjacent to it.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do and Don't: Directing the Eye through Lighting

I love it when stores use lighting to create drama and attract the eye. Not only does it say that the products highlighted are special, they also lead the eye to the area the store wishes to promote. What a simple way to influence shopping behavior!

DO: Using different levels of lighting, this shop uses the brightest lights to bring the eye to a feature display.
CAN BE IMPROVED: Although the idea of a back lit is good as it attracts the eye to a specific location, it also darkens the very merchandise the shop wishes to promote.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Do: Testers are Always Welcome

Ever been to stores that sell perfume wherein all the bottles are locked up in a glass cabinet? How do they expect customers to be attracted to the products when the displays are uninviting? 


The photo in this week’s blog shows one that caught my attention. All the products displayed below have a corresponding tester on the top shelf. The shelf height is a little below chest level and thus easily invites one to try the products. The absence of a sales associate in this case made the displays more welcoming as I knew I could play to my heart’s content without any interruption— and PLAY I did!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Do and Don't: RMU Romancing the Customer

I often see the sad state of displays whenever I shop. I feel sad for the beautiful products that are just placed haphazardly as if the owner didn’t care. Even marked down pieces deserve a nice set-up.


DO: Retail Merchandising Unit Display (RMU)
The display is given structure and several design elements are utilized. There is direction, there is shape and there is an appeal to customers to interact with products. Items are also grouped by design.
Nice ceramic bathroom accessories are just placed on a shelf without thought for design and display appeal.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do and Don't: What's Your Statement?

The front area of the store is crucial in that not only do they contain the feature display, they also communicate to customers. What do they convey? They inform shoppers of what’s new, making a fashion statement of who the store targets and hopefully grab that customer deeper into the shop.


DO: A good statement up front conveys the store’s fashion story, target customers, expected price points. It is appealing and invites customers to explore further.

DON’T: What happened here? Is the store closing?


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do and Don't: Cubes? Who Knew?!

I mentioned in a previous blog that mannequin displays are appealing when they eye hits near the chest area. But what about kids mannequins? How can they be boosted higher closer to the eye so it hits the right spot?
DO: A great kids mannequin display! They are stacked atop cubes of varying heights giving the display an appealing and inviting look.

DON'T: Placing the kids bodyform on the floor is just too low. The customer has to probably bend down on their hands and knees to see the detail of the clothing being promoted.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Do and Don't: The Right Fixture Makes The Difference

I am not sure what shopkeepers are expecting when they place teeny tiny items on the floor. Do they expect customers to kneel down and browse through them?!
DO: Products are neatly displayed on a nesting table. Display strategies implemented make this set-up appealing. I did one project wherein I exchanged gondola units to nesting tables and their sales went up 37% without changing inventory. Amazing what fixture can do to sales!

DON'T: When merchandise is stacked atop one another in a glass unit, there is hardly anywhere the eye can stop. There are advantages to a glass unit such as allowing the light through the displays, however the one pet peeve I have about these units is when it looks like products are just crammed in. Very unappealing, where's the romance?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do and Don't: $500 Sitting Atop a Box?!

Shocked I tell you, I am shocked to see a $500 item sitting atop an inventory box. Is retail space in such a premium that a shelf could not be spared? When I buy something that costs $500, I almost expect my heels to sink in some lush carperting with nice ambience surrounding me.

DO: The display informs customers of what price to expect to pay. In this case, mid price point is what I guessed these dinnerware to be and indeed, they are. Besides price, the display also gave me ideas on how to display them at home and the different items I can add to make my dinner table more appealing.

DON'T: $500 for this set? That's highway robbery! That is what most people will almost say when seeing this set sitting atop its carton box. Now if only it was displayed properly, I may find the $500 set a good value.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Do and Don't: Cosmetics is STILL a Mini Luxury, Isn't It?

I subscribe to the belief that merchandise should be supported by the platform it is displayed on to ensure product values are uphelf and most of all, to make them appealing. Isn't that what retailing is all about? Making things begging to be bought?
DO: The right point of purchase display makes the difference between products sold right away and those that remain sitting in the shelf for a long time. Although this is an extremely popular price point, the display continually sells to the customer.

DON'T: I feel bad for the seller of these celebrity endorsed lipsticks. They do not deserve to be presented in a brown corrugated box. Infallible? I think not in this case.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Do and Don't: Missing Bottoms

Mannequins exist to sell products. They are there to grab customer attention and invite them in for a closer inspection. As with anything in retail, attention to detail is crucial in grabbing the RIGHT attention.
DO: I appreciate how the mannequin is dressed and the clothing displayed on it can be immediately found merchandised behind it. Makes shopping a breeze!

DON'T: Where's the bottom of the front mannequin? This surely attracted attention, but the wrong kind. I noticed customers noticing it not for the clothing displayed, but rather for the lack of it. Imagine little boys laughing so hard.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do and Don't: Housekeeping is MAJOR

I understand how store can be busy and when delivery comes in, it adds to the chaos. However, is it acceptable at any one point to line boxes along an aisle, thereby blocking access to merchandise? Isn't that lost sales?
DO: Clean clear aisles are inviting and does not deter customers from coming in despite the line up at the cash desk.

DON'T: No room to store just delivered inventory? Maybe stacking them up closer to the back will minimize hindrances and allow more access to products being sold. Besides, these are trip hazards and the last thing retailers need is a lawsuit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Do and Don't: Amazons Viewing Windows

When displaying merchandise in a window, what is the ideal height? I always thought that its always best when the eye hits the chest area of the mannquins or close to the main feature of the clothing being promoted. Now the question is whose eyes? Someone who is 6 ft. tall or someone less than 5'5"?
DO: I like how the mannquins are just the right height, with my eye hitting the chest area. The lighting also hits this very area, hence drawing the eye to the spot. The strategy of repetition is successfully implemented and indeed makes an impact.

DON'T: I do like the repetition but my eyes hit near the knee area of the jeans. Viewed from afar, this height may be ok, however at that distance one cannot see the jean details. Besides the negative space below is too jarring isn't it?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do and Don't: A Window is NOT a Stockroom

It never ceases to amaze me when retailers fail to treat their shop windows with the respect it deserves. What a wasted opportunity– a chance to attract attention and sell the very merchandise on display. Too bad!

DO: With space at a premium the window is used as an introduction to what customers may expect inside the store. What an inviting display!

DON’T: This picture says it all– how the retailer simply must not care anymore. It does not matter whether one is a discount retailer or even a resell shop. Merchandise must be treated with dignity or else customers fail to appreciate its value.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do and Don't: Don't Say Bad Words

Ever been to shops where you already know the chances of the staff being rude is high? Just the tone of their signs already gives off a signal of this. How sad many shop owners are unaware the power of their signs and how unwelcoming they can be.
DO: This sign says "These items are FRAGILE Please handle with care, We gladly provide assistance." Isnt this a nice way of informing customers to be careful instead of saying the usual "You break you pay"? or "Do not touch"?

DON'T: Hmmmm. The store wants customers to buy but God forbid they try something on. As if the pink paper and border ribbons will make up for "NO FITTING"!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Do and Don't: The Power of Light

Ever wonder why some stores attract more customers while others have customers passing them by? The not so secret secret? Well-lit spaces! Bright areas attract the eye, hence hard to ignore. Well-lit stores often follow the ABC of lighting- A for the brightest spots which are the focal displays and task lighting including lease lines; B for framing the walls and floor units and C just spillover lighting.

DO: Wow, what a nice and enticing display upfront! I am sure its effective in getting passers-by to come in as well. Did I ever mention that the brightest stores tend to attract the most customers? Lighting the entrance, especially the main focal display is sure to grab attention.

DON'T: Who turned off the lights? Lighting the entrance is crucial not only in getting attention but also in defining the start of the store experience.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Do and Don't: RMUs- How Low Can We Go?

Ever wonder what some retailers are thinking when displaying their products? Is their goal just to show as much merchandise as the space allows regardless of visibility? Shouldn't it be what makes more sense- such as how easily accessible and viewed products are from the customer's viewpoint? After all, some empty space is good as it gives the eye a place to rest.
DO: The ideal lowest level of merchandise display is knee height especially for small items. This makes it easy to access and view the merchandise in relation to a customer's height.

DON'T: Really? Floor level? I realize retail carts do not have as much room to display products, however to merchandise all the way to the floor doesn't make sense. Do the operators think customers will squat down or go on their hands and knees to view these items?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Do and Don't: Brand Names on Windows

Ever been tricked into entering a store thinking they'd have an item they really don't? Doesn't that just tick you off?! That's what happened to me in this 'don't' photo.
DO: Brand names attract customer attention. In this case, the Hunter brand is supported by the Hunter rain boots displayed immediately below the sign. This makes shopping easy by informing customers the shop has the brand and as one can immediately see, carries an assortment of Hunter merchandise.

DON'T: Where's the Crocs?! I made the mistake of thinking (as I am sure others were led to believe too) that Crocs now make these pretty wedged sandals displayed in the window.  I was anticipating these super comfy sandals but when I got inside, I was informed that these very sandals weren't made by Crocs. So why label the window Crocs? Maybe it was a trick to get me inside the shop to try them on? Well, as a trick to get me in, it worked, but what a disappointment!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Do and Don't: Which Sells Better?

There are so many display techniques and styles around but at the end of the day, I think the one that wins is the one that sells the most.
Which of these two display styles do you think will sell more?
DO: Each shelf is merchandised exactly the same way with small items flanking taller items creating a triangular effect. I prefer this display in that as customers shop, moving from left to right, they are offered a new product (still within the same category). Talk about silent multiple selling!

DON'T: This isn't really a don't, more of "can be improved". The good thing is that smaller items are placed eye level for easy visibility. However, the drawback is that more customers may purchase the smaller lower margin items than the large bottles displayed on the bottom shelf.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Do and Don't: Light Up!

Do you know that the brightest stores catches the most eyes? Ditto with the brightest spots inside a selling space, hence features and focals gets the most light. I am not saying to equally light up the entire floor, as lighting when used properly, can create drama and lead the eye from one point to the next. That is why I often feel bad for stores who are not aware of this. Not only are they losing "eyes" they are also losing sales.
DO: A nice bright clean window display attracts a good amount of attention. The lighting is bright enough to fight the outside glare so merchandise on display is easily seen. Not only does this window display attract attention, I also notice customers walking in looking for a specific piece they saw in this window.

DON'T: When a space is dark, most customers often ignore it. Such a waste of a great opportunity to showcase the shop's merchandise. It was difficult to take a good photo of this window due to the reflection from the main mall corridor. I had to struggle to find an angle that shows the merchandise best. The reflection of brighter things across this window is more dominant than the very products being sold.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Do and Don't: Do you walk looking up?!

Its funny how some retailers assume customers walk with their heads tilted up. This is evident in the signage they install not only in their shop windows but also inside the store. Some stores put up their signs too high with small print that I am not sure whose attention they expect to catch. Don't they realize we humans walk looking forward, turning our heads comfortably 45 degrees left or right? I say 9' high as their highest is good for directional signs as we expect to look up to search for directions (e.g. exits, washrooms, etc). However for large store signs, I say 6-8' high is workable. For signs that announces an event with small print, don't you think eye level is best?
DO: This is a good height for the shop's announcement poster (left). Its easy to read and one can't miss this.

DON'T: Does the store really expect customers to notice this sign while walking past this window? Much less, read it? It might be my age or the reflection from the mall lighting  but I tried reading the sign's small print and no matter how hard I try, I simply could not.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Do and Don't: Window NO NOs

When small stores need the window space to merchandise products for sale, one way to create this set-up is to group things by colour within a category to make it look like products belong in a single theme.

DO: With multiple items from different suppliers, this window still maintains its integrity simply by being grouped by colour. The large clear vases on the right most of the top table was filled with coloured water that matched the overall colour theme.

DON'T: Avoid displaying item together that have no relation to its use. For example, footwear with Canadiana souvenirs, or baseball caps with formal wear brooches together in one window.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Do and Don't: The Perils of Live Mannequins

DO: This example of a window display using live mannequins show professional models working their best to create interest in the store and their products.

DON'T: This female model is indeed creating interest, just not in a positive way. I do feel bad for her, however she is supposed to promote merchandise, not show how tired she is.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do and Don't: When Signs Devalue Merchandise

DO: Not only is this sign's fabrication appropriate for the product being sold, the photo of the very merchandise "in use" makes it more appealing.

DON'T: So sad for there pretty jewelry pieces. They do not deserve to be treated this way, nor do they deserve the selling tags attached to them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Do and Don't: When An Empty Space is A Wasted Opportunity

DO: A great focal display informs customers not only of what to expect inside the shop, but also makes a statement on price and value.

DON'T: A wasted focal display space! The statement this area is trying to make is incomplete and draws the eye to the wide empty wall space.