By Glenn Calabrese, President & CEO of Storetech+Co.
Retail is a wonderful industry, keeping everyone on their toes with the latest fashions and fads. Because of the constant changes, it’s important to keep abreast of the trends. After all, though the economy has arguably improved, it still has its ebbs and flows. So creating a fresh, new approach that attracts retail clients to your store-and keeps them there-is very important.
For the better part of my career, our focus on store design was based on science and the shopping habits of individuals. For the most part, it still is. Our first priority was to determine where the Cash & Wrap (POS) should be placed; then we would build a design around it. The next key step was maximizing the use of the walls for merchandising. Then came a few focal floor fixtures, which continued the theme and made a statement. Finally, we’d fill in the balance of the space with the appropriate racks, tables or merchandisers. We did not allocate a lot of the budget to the loose floor fixtures. as the walls produced significantly more sales than merchandise presented on a floor display.
It wasn’t until roughly nine years ago that our thought processes changed. That’s when we started fabricating fixtures for a large theme park in Florida. Their approach was different. They looked at each floor fixture as taking up a certain amount of valuable real estate. Creating an economically viable fixture meant it had to produce a certain amount of sales. Therefore, a lot of thought and design went into each floor fixture. The budgets were considerable, as the design increased sales, which in turn made the ROI work.
With this new information in hand, we started to design floor fixtures that were no longer generic. We created pieces that increased buyer interest and made a statement. We saw firsthand that these fixtures increased sales. In fact, our customers were seeing double-digit sales increases-and sometimes even more-by taking the same merchandise and placing it on a custom fixture. The best part was that these increases were not a cannibalization of existing sales, but added to the entire sales volume and bottom line.
As retailers, you need to give your customers a reason to come in to browse and to shop. You need to engage the customer on an emotional level to captivate them through your displays and merchandising approaches. If you have never given thought to the floor fixtures before, now is the time to consider each piece as an investment that will produce real returns.
FORMULATING A PLAN
Investing in your store environment has always been important. By considering custom floor fixtures and racks, and being deliberate in creating fixtures that continue the overall theme of your space, you are almost guaranteed to increase your sales. This approach will increase the sales of individual items being displayed as well.
The key is to develop a fixture plan. and then design each fixture to enhance and enforce your brand. The plan forces you to consider traffic patterns. How does your customer shop? How will he or she be engaged? When considering the design of each fixture. you need to consider how your merchandise needs to be presented to your client. The fixture should be engaging and interactive, if possible, and it should enforce and elevate the perceived value of the merchandise. The design of your space and the fixtures should have continuity. This means there should be continuity in each fixture category; fixtures displaying hanging apparel will be the same, as will fixtures displaying gifts, folded clothing, etc.
All of the design aspects should tie into a main theme, and everything should create an increased perceived value. Doing so will increase sales. It’s also important to build-in flexibility so that each fixture has a long life; for example, a fixture that can be revamped in a few years just by changing the finish on it. This gives you the ability to update the look and feel of your space at a minimal cost, while keeping your store fresh and current.
So go out and rethink your fixtures. Get creative. For some of you, starting slow may be the answer. Create your overall floor/fixture plan, and then every six months add a custom fixture. You’ll be on your way to a new and exciting store. If you are not the creative type, then hire someone who is. The initial investment will be overwhelmingly worth the rewards and increased returns you will see!