How-To

Tickle The Impulse To Spend: Display Tips

by Envirosell - One of the dangers in store planning is the romance with presentation drawings. Somehow, the art form that is a mix of technical skill and surrealistic vision is seen as the hallmark of a good design and designer. From the standpoint of the consumer or businessman, it is important to recognize that any architectural rendering is a means of getting to a three-dimensional end. One of the first drawings you see in a store planner’s presentation is a front view of the store.

Myth No. 1

Which we hear often in American retailing circles, is the right product, at the right price, at the right location. The truth is that in the 1990s, we can accept all of those conditions as givens.

Myth No. 2

Is about competition. Again, we hear retailers comparing themselves to other retailers in their specialty area. The truth is that retailers, from dress shops to electronics stores, are competing with one another in the big scramble for the same piece of the public’s discretionary income. The dollar spent on fashion might just as well be spent on almost anything else from fast food to auto accessories.

In the broad scope of things, most stores can segment their customer base into two groups: those that need portals, and those that need doorways.

Portal shoppers are pre-sold or pre-directed and make up a large portion of the business for some lucky retailers. For example, in the world of booksellers, some customers are book lovers. For them the entrance to a book store does not have to be enticing or seductive.

Book lovers walk in knowing more than many of the employees. They are comfortable asking questions, and price point may very well make no difference at all. The store can be a mess with stacks of books in the aisles and dirty windows and they couldn’t care less – all of those elements are part of the ambiance they are willing to accept. For book lovers, the entrance is not a door but a portal into the world of books.

While portal shoppers may be a strong element of retail business, store owners pay rent to attract the shopper that needs doorways.

Although advertising dollars can build public awareness of a shop and announce a sale, the retailer needs the on-site recognition to close the marketing loop. High consumer awareness does not necessarily translate into customers walking into the door. Advertising only reinforces predisposition – the process of bringing the consumer through the entrance is a design and merchandising issue. That is why store designers and planners exist.

The process of tickling the shopping impulse in the passing consumer is based on time. The longer customers have to think about possibly entering a store, the more likely they will. Our work has shown that often the most important view of a store may be a side or approaching view. The first chance that most shops get to start their impulse tickle may be 25 paces before the customer reaches the doorway. On main streets and in shopping malls, progressive planners have been allowing stores to build out their storefronts to enhance pedestrians’ view as they move down the sidewalk or mall concourse. In the same spirit, windows featuring displays that the consumer can recognize or identify with at a 20- to 25-pace distance do a better job of pulling the customer in the door. From our research we have established a number of general rules concerning windows.

First, it is better to get two messages across positively than five messages possibly – keep it simple. In many retail locations, you can count on the fact that your customer base will pass your window with a certain regularity, be it biweekly, or in some cases, daily. Simple windows that change often may very well be a better use of the display budget than elaborate windows that remain in place for longer periods of time.

Consumer Interest Is Motivated By Change.

Window spaces that are easy to work with are creative marketing decisions – the small amount of floor space that may be lost is a small trade-off.

When designing a window display, it is important to take into account the way a consumer is going to live with the product and allow passing shoppers to view the product from that distance.

For example, some years ago I saw a window on New York City’s Fifth Avenue where a small department store had an elegant arrangement of silver flatware on the floor of the window casement. The only shoppers who looked at that section of the window were middle-aged women who did so from a bent-over position. Their interest was terminated, however, when someone brushed past their protruding rear ends on the busy sidewalk behind them.

Our research also has shown that there is a dominant direction from which people pass almost any storefront. That dominance may be created by the location of a parking lot, a public transportation terminus or some other physical feature. We have found that displays canted or slanted to that dominant direction of traffic will get more serious attention.

And finally, if graphic information is part of the storefront’s message, make sure that it can be read as shoppers walk past; don’t expect them to stop to get the message because they very well may not.

Modern Graphics Theory

Has pointed out that people read differently than they did in 1960. Americans and Europeans no longer read letter by letter, but have graduated to reading letter clump by letter clump – one reason why typefaces that allow for closer positioning of letter are used much more often than 30 years ago.

**One Common Flaw Of Store Entrances **

Is that they do not take people into account. For many department stores and main street locations, a common flaw is not planning a transition zone. Consider that people have many different walking speeds. The pace that they move down a rainy street or across a hot parking lot is very different from the pace they move through a store. It takes time for people to slow down once they get through the store’s entrance.

Directional And Promotional Signage And Displays

Can be more effective when placed deeper into the store. For one of our clients, we were able to triple the number of consumers shopping with in-store circulars by adjusting where, and at what height, the circulars were presented to the customer. Poor placement of information systems not only translates into consumers who may walk out of the store because they do not want to commit to finding their way, but it also means headaches for sales associates, as they are asked the same series of questions over and over.

Aisles And Entrances

Need to be stroller accessible. Even if babies and toddlers are not a store’s prime market, the consumers they bring with them are. In reviewing film data for a client, we discovered the comedy of mothers trying to negotiate their baby strollers around a lease-line table. Appearing clumsy becomes one more reason for a customer to leave the store. In this case, almost nothing was sold from the lease-line table – the job of getting around that fixture took precedence over shopping the merchandise.

Good retailers can work magic if they can get people in the door. A good store involves an ongoing dialogue between store designers, merchants and consumers. Modern retailing history is littered by stores that failed for the most mundane of reasons. The difference between stores that work well and look great in the flesh, and those that don’t, often has nothing to do with price points and inventory, and everything to do with a well-executed strategy based on human needs.

Published By: Envirosell