By Jo Henderson of JHJ Consultancy
We can all be guilty of looking but not seeing when it comes to the presentation of our stores and displays. We assume that because we view them constantly that we see what our customer(s) and potential customers see.
However try this experiment; without looking cover the watch you have on your wrist and try and answer all of these questions correctly; is it numbers or markers and of what style and placement, what colour and pattern is the face and where exactly is the logo. I can predict you have answered at least one of these questions wrongly. What this demonstrates is we assume we see but we don’t look with fresh eyes. You can do the same experiment with a £20 note, try it with your team as well.
So let’s think about really looking with fresh eyes and where to start?
Visual Merchandising Layer One : Make a great first impression
Stand as far away as possible from your store(s), across the street, the other side of the precinct. What is the tone of your brand, your store, what message do you portray? Do you give off a vibe of classic luxury? Contemporary fashion? Do you appear open and inclusive? Aspirational? Do you stand out? Can you be seen? Is the store intimidating? Old fashioned?
Crucially, does your store tell the customer who you are as a brand and draw them closer?
At this stage customers can have an incorrect assumption about your store or not even notice it, so they never get close enough to look in the window… let alone cross the threshold. You may be offering exactly what they want to buy, but if they’re not impressed by your store on first glance, they’re likely to walk away. This stage is not about the jewellery and watches you sell or display, it’s about the atmosphere you create.
Visual Merchandising Layer Two: Draw customers in
If you are able to draw customers to your store ensure that, like moths to a flame, they see exactly what it is they were hoping to find and more. Go above and beyond their expectations. This layer is predominately about your window displays and the displays that guide a customers inside your store.
Have a plan for up to a year in advance and make sure to change your window theme and colours at least four times a year. Don’t leave it until the last minute and give yourself and your staff plenty of time to source props and materials.
Think about the time of year, such as the seasons and, obviously, celebrations such as Christmas and Valentine’s. However, I would advise against being too literal – this can be limiting and restrictive to creativity.
Think about repetition and scale, and beware of anything that looks halfhearted or amateur. Think simple, but effective. Some of the best displays I have seen take very easily sourced, inexpensive materials and use them in creative and innovative ways. Don’t forget, your jewellery is visible at this stage, so while you should be captivating and inspiring the customer, you shouldn’t be overshadowing or sidelining your jewellery.
The old adage: less is more really can apply here when it comes to product. Show enough to give a picture of what is available but let it breathe. Take a look at the Instagram account of IJL 2017 exhibitor, 4D Projects, who will be showcasing their talents in the IJL Retail Experience Zone this year.
Visual Merchandising Layer Three: The star of the show
Jewellery and watches must ultimately be the main focus. Ensure that pieces are correctly lit, beautifully placed and grouped. Allow space around products and group them in families or suites. Think about colour and style and, where appropriate, do consider cross-merchandising between different designers and brands to show a ‘look’ to a customer to encourage link selling.
Have you considered labelling? Beautifully presented and relevant information will be read by the customer. Just because you know about the product don’t assume the customer does. Stories and product descriptions can be very powerful and give the sales person a seamless starting point for customer interaction.
To price or not is a personal choice, but in most cases I am in favour of neat, unobtrusive pricing even if you only visibly price some of the pieces. Above all treat the product, the displays and your customers with the care they deserve.
Now, go and take a look at your business’ displays with fresh eyes!
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