Display 101: Creating Strong Displays Part 1 of 2

Barbara Crowhurst

By Barbara Crowhurst, Retailmakeover™, 12/30/2008

Why Display is Important to your Retail Business

  • Over stimulated customer, and there are a lot of us around these days, need things made easy. Good displays make an easier shop with products presented in a unified way.
  • First Impressions. You don’t get a second chance here. Displays that are done right support your brand image and what you are all about as a retailer.
  • Competition. There’s a lot out there. Be the retailer everyone else talks about. Make a commitment to have great displays through out your store.
  • Entertainment. We want to be entertained as consumers. Display can be one way to bring a smile with whimsy or something a little out of the norm. Be the retailer to offer displays that entertain.
  • Create a strong focal point

    Educate the customer. Effective display can teach on so many levels. Best example of this – displaying the newest products in the hottest colors. May be your a retailer that believes in being eco friendly? Your displays show product from this important area. And so on.

  • Makes shopping easy. Having good display in each department of your store will help better traffic flow. Better traffic flow gets consumers seeing more of your merchandise and staying in your store that magic 7 minutes – when they start to make more buying decisions.
  • Multiple sales. Magical words to retailers.
  • Best use of space. Rents are going thru the roof these days. Commit to better displays you’ll be glad you did. You will see a dramatic increase in traffic and sales.

Guidelines To Creating Strong Display Groupings

  1. Develop a theme for your display, which will immediately explain to the viewer what you are promoting. A theme holds all your display components together, but every item, including every prop, must contribute to the theme.ok as though they belong together by doing this.
  2. Keep your display grouping tight, in strong simple arrangements. Overlap components so that there is no air between them. Even unrelated items can look as though they belong together by doing this.

    Create visual rhythm

  3. Create a strong focal point, to draw the eye to your display. This can be done with your merchandise, with a prop, with your signing and can be assisted by a strong focal point. Contrast is a great way to create a focal point. Don=t forget to consider where the viewers eye level is, and consider placing the focal point there.
  4. Create the visual rhythm, in the placement of your components to pull the eye through the display. The eye can be seduced by a ribbon that actually moves through the display. Try it.
  5. Repeating items in your display will make your message easier to understand and create a dramatic visual impression for the viewer.
  6. Keep your display high at the back and low at the front, so that the eye will flow down through the grouping and so that all the merchandise will be visible. Accordingly, place large components at the back of the display and small components at the front.
  7. Create 3-dimensionality by using the depth in your window display. This brings the merchandise out towards the customer and brings your display to life.
  8. High at the back and low at the front

    Be aware of how much merchandise you place in your display. Less merchandise usually creates a higher priced image, and more merchandise usually creates a lower priced image. This feeling can be overcome with excellent displays.

  9. A display must be professionally completed with professional signing and lighting so that you can get the full benefit from its visual statement. Everything must be perfectly clean and fresh, from the window glass to the floor covering in the display area.

All in the Family

By Caroline Kennedy, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, 2/26/2008
For retailers, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day offer an opportunity to boost second quarter sales. According to the research of the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers will spend nearly $25 billion for these holidays, with an average 35% of consumers doing some or all of their shopping in specialty and greeting card stores.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day also offer gift retailers an ideal opportunity to reach out to two hard-to-reach consumer groups: men and younger customers — teens and tweens — whose business they can cultivate for future returns.

Commando shoppers

One of the few occasions when men are forced to shop is Mother’s Day. When it comes to attracting their business, service is a key; and of course, service is the forte of the specialty gift retailer. Many men utilize “commando” or “strike force” shopping techniques. They locate what they want immediately, swoop down on it, make the purchase and leave. If they don’t see what they want immediately, they just leave.

Retailers need to engage these commando shoppers with a calculated counter strategy to seize their attention. Make shopping easy, putting your best display up front. Make sure your staff is on the lookout for men coming through the door. The offer of help and a good gift suggestion may be all you need to tip the scale toward making a purchase — especially when it comes to choosing something special for the women in their lives.

“People really appreciate gift-giving ideas,” notes April McCrumb of Catching Fireflies, Berkley, MI.. “It’s a tough job finding that perfect goody for someone special.” And when it comes to spending on gifts for their ladies, men tend not to be tightwads; if 2007 figures are any indicator, those commandos will spend upwards of $170 on Mother’s Day gifts.

The next-gen shopper

Next to Christmas, Mother’s Day offers gift retailers the best opportunity to draw younger customers into their stores. These youngsters represent the next generation of consumer, and cultivating their business early on will show them what your store has to offer in the way of merchandise and service.

Today’s kids have grown up with computers and the Internet; they are much more apt to shop — or at least go looking for product and gift suggestions — online. If your store doesn’t have a Web presence yet, you may be missing out on this demographic. (And not just with the younger set; tech-savvy men are also more likely to source and shop online.) You might also want to “get into their heads” a little and develop a sense of what appeals to younger shoppers. As Bettie Edwards of The Little House, Vashon Island, WA, puts it, “You need a WWTKWYTC — a We Want to Know What You Think Club.”

Edwards invites a group of kids to bring their own info and input to the table. “A little pizza makes them smile,” she says, and one of her club members always goes away with a small prize — earrings or such — for their efforts. “I’m also taking a sophomore and a junior [in high school] to market with me,” adds Edwards. “They will each actually make two complete jewelry line buys. It’s fun to watch their energy!”

Other retailers — such as Christi Tullis of Ambiance Interiors, Suwanee, GA, and Mary Liz Curtin of Leon & Lulu, Clawson, MI — have brought their offspring to market as advisors and/or junior buyers. The kids have a different sense of what’s cool and fun.

If you reach out to kids for special occasion shopping, get to know what they like, and offer some unusual merchandise, they might make your store a destination — not only for their gifting needs, but also for the shopping experience you gave them.

Selling the family

When it comes to merchandise for Mother’s and Father’s Day, experienced retailers advise evaluating what you already have on hand that can be merchandised in a fresh way as parental gifts. “We’re not doing as much ‘seasonal’ direct buying,” remarks Bettie Edwards. “It’s amazing how much we can find in the store, things that we carry all year, that can be merchandised with a different twist and lots of fun signs.” Presenting merchandise in a different context allows customers to see it in a new light.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore merchandise that is specific to the occasion, especially greeting cards and gift items that bear specific sentiments for Mom and Dad. And even those gift items have a shelf life beyond the occasion, re-merchandised for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries or “just because.” Make sure to keep a range of price points in your selection, so there’s something for every budget.

© 2008, Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved. First printed in Gifts & Decorative Accessories, February, 2008 and reprinted with permission.

Drive Customers to Your Store with an Easter Promotion

By Bob Negen, WhizBang! Training, 2/12/2008
HAVE AN EASTER PROMOTION – here are TWO great ideas.

#1 – This promotional idea is tried and true. It combines the fun and suspense of a lottery with the chocolate and spring pastels of Easter – a winning combination!

Get a large basket and fill it with green Easter grass and 100 of those plastic eggs that come apart in two pieces. In every plastic egg put a chocolate egg or other Easter confection and a slip of paper with a percentage off.

After your customer has finished shopping, let them pick an egg, eat the candy and get the discount they picked on their entire purchase.

Choose a variety of percentages off. For example, try 20, 10% off slips; 50, 20% off slips; 20, 30% off slips: 9, 50% off slips, and 1, 75% off slip. Make a sign to let your customers know the number of each percentage off slips. That way they can figure their odds of getting a really good discount!

If you don’t want to offer a discount to the general public but want to reward your very best customers, send them a postcard announcing your promotion. Have them trade in their postcard for an egg. Keep the postcards and you’ll know which customers have responded to your marketing efforts.

#2 – Get the kids involved and hold an “Easter Coloring Extravaganza”. Check the free report on our web site for a really cute bunny picture (complete with patriotic American flag egg!) and 12 great ways to make this a super easy, budget conscious and very successful promotion.


Bob Negen

Bob Negen

Bob Negen is a retail expert, author and public speaker whose knowledge, skill, and passion come from the trenches of small business.

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The Buying Power of Men

Gifts & Decorative Accessories, 1/2/2008

According to market research firm Packaged Facts, the purchasing power of men totals $5.4 trillion. Packaged Facts forecasts major growth, to $6.7 trillion in 2009, or 24.6%.While the non-Hispanic white population still tops the charts at $4.2 trillion, the growing multicultural male market tops $1.1 trillion. Other segments include gay men ($337 billion), married men ($4 trillion) and single men ($1.4 trillion).There are a lot of men in the last category: 37 million men are currently single, counting never-marrieds, divorced and widowed men. The largest segment of the single men market consists of men 25-to-44 who have never married. They have an aggregate income of around $391 billion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 3.6 million male consumers living alone who have an annual income of $40,000 or more. Their after-tax income averages approximately $69,000, and they spend an average of nearly $46,000 annually.

Men in the 25-to-49-year-old age group were responsible for 55.8 percent of total buying power in the men’s market. Gen-X men accounted for the largest single segment, controlling aggregate buying power of more than $1.5 trillion. However the importance of older demographics is growing fast: Between 2004 and 2009, Packaged Facts expects the buying power of 60-to-74-year-olds to increase by $552 billion, or 76.7 percent.

Published with permission from Gifts & Decorative Accessories.