Great store presentation and
product merchandising is like a good book. Its got an alluring cover to
entice, an interesting first chapter to tell the reader theyve made the right
choice, and a satisfying conclusion to get the audience to want more. The tools
used to achieve these attributes are based on creating the most satisfying
experience for the shopper, turning browsers into buyers.
Lets start at the beginning. An important element in any store design is the
look of the storefront. Accomplished successfully, the entrance reflects the
personality of the store and gives a glimpse of the merchandise available
Design a distinctive store logo
that communicates your mission. Not only will you use this as a storefront
sign, but it could also be painted or applied with special graphics film on the
floor as a welcome mat or maybe on the wall behind the cash wrap. And youll
want it printed on merchandise, hangtags, and point of sale signage. The way
merchandise is displayed in show windows also has a lot to do with enticing the
guests into the store. Whether you have a store in the mall or on the street,
the customer has only a few seconds to view and be attracted by your displays.
Your visual philosophy should replicate a billboard: make it bold, colorful,
and simple. Baby shops often put one of everything into the window . . . and
customer miss it all because they cant focus.
In developing an effective store design, a most critical element is how the
store is organized for a logical unfolding or discovery of merchandise by the
browser. Is your store easy to shop?
There are several approaches to
retail store organization and merchandise display. The first and most common is
to display similar merchandise all in the same area. If your store presents
merchandise in this way, youll probably have a stroller wall, a book section,
fixtures for toys and novelties, and special cases for smaller or secured
You might, however, want to consider
as an alternate presentation method, Lifestyle Merchandising. With this method,
diverse products like apparel, books, lamps, furniture, etc., which all reflect
the same theme, are displayed together in a room setting. Having spent my
formative years in the furniture business, it became evident early on that
helping customers to visualize how merchandise would look in their homes was a
major contributing factor in affecting a sale.
As a more thematic interpretation
of cross merchandising, presenting products in this manner can also increase
the perceived value of items that normally would seem unconnected with any
other merchandise. Hence a simple Star motif decorative pillow is elevated to
a desirable collectible as it completes a total look for a celestial themed
Finally, you may find that a
combination of the two merchandising styles may best be suited to your market
area or target customer. Similar to the new wave of home furnishings stores
that have divided their stores into lifestyles sections of the home, i.e., The
Living Room, The Dining Room, Outdoor Living, these stores also have
departments in which products are presented en mase (e.g., glassware, cookware,
home electronics, etc.). The same is true for apparel retailers like the Gap,
Banana Republic, or Old Navy. While they give you dressing suggestions with
coordinated look mannequin presentations, you can also find your favorite fit
from their large selection of jeans on the denim walls.
Creating room settings in highly
visible focal areas of your store and positioning commodity products in
convenient locations that make it easy for the customer to stock up achieve the
best of both methods of display.
Organizing the store in either
way presents a logical arrangement that helps the guest to browse, look through
the merchandise offering, and determine which items would help complete the
mind-picture they have for their or the babys lifestyle.
Once the store is set, dont
think youre done, however. Walk your store on a daily basis, reviewing the
merchandise presentation and display as the prospective customer would. Face
merchandise toward the main traffic aisle, reorganize those lifestyle settings,
and make sure all signs are in good condition. If I were shopping in this store,
would I be enticed to buy?