Every Organization will have organizational guidelines regarding the display of goods in the store. These guidelines will include instructions on how to set up and dismantle the display and any health and safety issues affecting the display. If you work for a large organization with several different shops or stores, there are likely to be instructions on maintaining the consistency of displays throughout different locations.
In larger organizations, there will be a dedicated team of people who are responsible for the window displays of the store and any merchandising or displays inside. They will be fully trained in not only the art of display, but also the health and safety aspects of moving and displaying stock on the sales floor.
However, not all organizations have their own display team and you must ask the correct person if you are in any doubt about the construction of the display. Check you have the correct tools for the job and follow any written instructions. Make sure the display fixtures are safe, complete and in good working order. Ensure the area around the display is clear of obstructions and do not overload the fixtures.
Begin by planning your display, either mentally or by drawing a quick sketch. Make a list of the stock available for display and stock you need for display. Take a trip to any local competitor retail outlets and make a note of what promotions they have running or products they have on display.
You will need to be clear about the purpose of the display: is it to promote a slow-selling item; is it to encourage multiple purchases, is it because of external influences such as the weather or a recent advertising campaign, or is it simply to introduce a new product-line? Whatever the purpose, the objective of any display should be to encourage a customer to buy or persuade them to return to the store.
The purchase of goods falls into different categories. These categories will influence the type of merchandising techniques you apply. The four general merchandise categories are:
Impulse – it is often an emotional and unplanned purchase. This is seen in the placing of certain products at supermarket checkouts such as magazines, sweets, and chocolate. This is often done with parents and children in mind
Convenience – it is usually everyday items such as batteries or newspapers. Usually a well- known brand and purchased with little thought
Shopping – Goods that are regularly bought by the customer and will influence their choice of store. Customers are prepared to move from store to store to seek out these items
Specialty or Luxury – Customers are prepared to spend a lot of time in search of these goods and are influenced by image, brands, and lifestyle
The requirements for an in-store display will depend on several factors:
- The floor space available
- The type of goods being promoted
- The amount of stock available
- The local competition
- The brand or organization image you wish to create
- How long the display will remain in place
- The time of year or season during which the promotion will take place
You may need to speak to your line-manager or colleagues about setting up a display to ensure you have all the correct information. However, also think about contacting the suppliers or manufacturers of any goods you intend to display. They may be able to offer you promotional aids such as signs and notices, or small gifts to encourage purchases.
Types of Display Equipments
Once the plan for the display has been decided upon, you will need to know where it should be positioned within the store and the type of fixtures to use. Types of display fixtures include:
Gondolas – Commonly placed in the center of aisles and walkways to grab customer attention the minute they walk into the store
Rummage Bins or Dump Baskets – Good for less expensive and smaller items such as soft toys or small items of clothing, e.g. socks or underwear
Racks – Usually positioned on the back walls. Create large displays to attract customer attention
Glass Showcases or Cabinets – Good for the display of small, valuable items such as cameras
Mannequins – Position next to racks of clothes to present a lifelike display
EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) – Make use of the area around the point of sale, but be careful not to create security risks
Mass Displays – The concept of ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ is effective in some circumstances but be aware of any health and safety requirements and do not put customers or employees at risk
You will need to ensure that the display does not interfere with walkways, fire exits or the general coming and going of employees and customers. You also need to make sure the display is the correct size, not only for the area in which it is to be placed but also for the type of goods to be displayed.
Different Types of Promotions
Once you have decided upon where to position your display and the type of fixtures to use, you will need to examine carefully the purpose of the display. The purpose will either be to promote the sales of existing stock or to introduce new products and there will be various types of display that are suited to each. For example, the display could incorporate price promotions or free gifts:
Price Promotions – Restrict this to a short period of time or only during traditional sale periods. It could take the form of discounted products, ‘two for the price of one’ or money off coupons. Suppliers or manufacturers often influence these types of promotions
Free Gifts – For example offering a free toaster when buying a fridge or giving the customer a free jar of coffee with every coffee maker purchased. It could be that the purchase of two or more products qualifies for a gift – cosmetic companies are particularly successful at this type of promotion. Use the display to show off the products and the gift.
Assembling the Display
Once the planning and organization is complete, you will need to assemble the display itself. The following should be taken into consideration:
Arrangement – The arrangement of goods should be logical: keep like products grouped together, place the larger items at the rear and make sure the display is at eye level. Place signs or notices to inform customers of the promotion
Impact – Mass displays of identical goods can create a great impact – this is especially useful for displaying small items. Group goods together, not in long, straight lines. Create a central focal point in the display and maintain a balance within the shape. The human eye scans from left to right, or top to bottom so put the most attractive merchandise on the right or towards the bottom of the display where the eyes will rest
Accessibility – Make products as easily accessible as possible. A product handled is a product half sold. If the display consists of such things as electrical goods or toys, ensure that a least one working model is on display. Do not display broken or damaged items and keep the display clean and tidy
Themes – At certain times of the year, themed displays can be effective. For instance, at Christmas think about making displays of cards, wrapping paper and decorations. In the summer, group items together such as beach towels, sunscreen and suitcases
If setting up a new display or dismantling on old one, choose the best time of the day to do so. Try to work during the quieter periods during the day such as early morning or just before closing time. You may only have a certain amount of time to prepare a display so make sure you work quickly but do not cut corners. If using special display fixtures, check that you follow instructions and use the correct tools, and double-check the units once they are put together.
It is important that you dismantle the display as carefully as you set it up. Make sure you return all display fixtures and fittings to their correct place when dismantled and do not leave them in corridors or areas where people may trip over them. Display equipment, fixtures and fittings can be very expensive and it is a good idea to have some type of system in place whereby a record is kept of the last time equipment was used and by whom.
Once the display is dismantled, you must put any unsold merchandise back in its original place, either on the sales floor or in the stockroom and dispose of any rubbish or waste in the correct way.
Checking the Levels of Stock
If you have a prominent display within the store, the purpose of which is to increase sales of a particular item, you will have to check stock levels more frequently. Products displayed should always be in proportion to their sales and stock-turnover.
There is no point in featuring products for which you have little stock, or creating long term displays for items of which you may sell only a few per year. You must continually check the level of stock when you have a particular promotion running and as soon as it is clear that almost all stock has been sold, think about changing the display to a different product.
Keep promotional products together in the same place in the stockroom – keep them neat and tidy and preferably close at hand, as the chances are that you will have to make more frequent visits to the stockroom than usual.
You will have to ensure that all stock, whether being displayed as part of a promotion or on normal view on the sales floor, is correctly and clearly labeled.
Normally the orientation of your product is very important, many a time it is seen in store room that the product is not oriented ergonomically which makes it difficult for the worker to read the name of product and hence the details. Therefore it is always advised to keep the stock or product in a arranged manner which is easier for the employee to read the product and hence do not make any mistake which may cost loss of time and money as well.
Along with such necessary tips one should also take care of the counting of the stocks, many big companies follow certain indigenous procedure to take count the of stock in their go-downs or store rooms. Many of them follow some mathematical formulas, whereas some Indian companies follow Vedic method to track the stock.
Stock levels should be maintained and checked regularly and there should be a set procedure under which it becomes an integral part of your store’s system to check stocks regularly. Define a certain period after which it becomes compulsory to check the stock in your store room. Following this practice, it would make it easier for you to handle dead stock and also keep track of your accounts and helps in auditing your money.
Different Types of Displays
Displaying merchandise in the store allows customers to make quick decisions on purchases. Shop displays done both in the exterior and in the interior of the sore are of different types. A few significant ones are listed below:
Window Displays: Store window displays attract the attention of passers-by. The design of display windows plays a major role in organizing the display in the store. They are of two types:
Exclusive Windows: Windows are exclusive when they have an absolutely closed backdrop. The store’s show window is a separate area and displays are organized in the windows following the theme and seasonal motif.
Open Windows: Open windows don not have any backdrop, and the passing customer can see the interior of the store through the displays. This is often done in large stores, especially those that sell apparel and related accessories. A wide facade with a glazed frontage automatically serves as an open window to entice eyeballs.
Live Displays: Live models are used sometimes for product displays at the entrance of the store. They may also demonstrate the use of products. Children’s stores often use people dressed as cartoon characters to attract kids’ attention. Kids Kemp in Bangalore is one example where live characters are used.
Marquee Displays: These are done under a marquee panel erected in the front of the store or in the forecourt. Marquee panels have a canopied or an extended roof, which are sometimes used in spacious stores. Marquee panels are often used in large supermarkets too, and form an ideal platform for category indicators and related signage.
Freestanding or Island Displays: These are displays of merchandise found generally at the entrance of stores (inside) to announce new arrivals, special offers, etc. A display podium is erected and decorated suitably to highlight the merchandise. The use of nested tables is currently in vogue to enhance visibility of freestanding displays.
Counter Displays: Merchandise is displayed in counters that have glazed display shelves. Categories like jewellery and watches have counter displays lit from within to highlight merchandise.
Brand Corners: Brand corners are displays of exclusive brands and are common in supermarkets and convenience stores. A devoted space in shelves or gondolas carries the exclusive displays of the brand. This happens during a paid promotion campaign or when the brand has an offer or a scheme to benefit the consumer.
End Cap Displays: These are done at the terminal sides of the gondolas on both sides, and are commonly found in the gondola fixtures used in supermarkets, convenience stores and book stores.
Cascade/Waterfall Displays: Found commonly in garment stores, these displays are done on the linear walls with the help of stopping rods. Such cascade/waterfall displays are used for blazers, jackets etc.
Displays are organized and coordinated with appropriate props for an immediate eye appeal. It is the displays that show customers what is in store for them, converting them into purchasers.
The Significance of Appropriate Lighting in Store
Lightning plays a significant role in any retail store. Many retailers may forget to plan adequate lighting when they create their displays. Proper lightning psychologically creates a room in a customer’s mind which makes a product attractive to the customer and he generally ends in buying it up.
Generally, there are two basic types of lighting that one can employ when creating displays:
General lighting – illuminates both merchandise and the store’s general traffic paths. General lighting is usually not movable.
Accent lighting – accentuates particular pieces of merchandise. Accent lighting fixtures are designed to be moved and adjusted, depending on the need.
There are dozens of fixture and bulb choices available for both general and accent lighting. Many lighting supply stores offer free advice, so the Visual Merchandising personnel can check with the local supplier for expert tips.
Graphics and Signage
When a visual merchandiser advises a store to get graphic with a customer, he or she isn’t being rude. Instead, the visual merchandiser is suggesting that the store should use graphics and signage to convey information that will educate customers and motivate them to buy.
Graphics which are visually appealing and easy to read should be used. Graphics created should be easy to eyes and shouldn’t put strain on the person reading or looking at it. Proper combination of colors should be used to make the graphics and the text look attractive.
Signage gives customers important information they’ll need – the price of an item, the location of coordinating products, product information and more. One must make sure that the shop’s graphics and signage are professional-looking and in tune with the shop’s image. For example, in a store that carries mostly traditional merchandise lights of yellow/ fluorescent color should be used as it makes the product to glitter and shine under these lights.
Many stores have found success using over sized in-store or window graphics to add visual impact to displays. The graphics can be repeated on a smaller scale throughout the store to earmark featured merchandise or sale items.
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