2 articles Tag merchandise

Irresistible Shop Windows. How do they Do That?

3223433918_a4dbc0af4b_bSource – Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/herry/3223433918/in/photolist-5UQWAS-5ULyDk-5ULxeZ-5UQXhs-6sMYG5 License – CC BY 2.0

The importance of effective visual merchandising is never underestimated in the fashion retail shop business. Window shoppers love to be captivated by shop window displays – including entertaining store -front set-ups – because of the creative genius that lies behind these creations, and of course it is a job that requires artistic skills, an eye for fashion and a passion for the job overall.

For those passionate about fashion and desirous to learn about interior decor/design, visual merchandising courses are held in London as well as in other major fashion cities around the world. In fact, professional visual merchandisers need different qualities and use different techniques. And that is exactly what these courses can teach.

Having a good sense of aesthetics and organizational layout, and knowing how to utilize store space (both inside and outside) effectively are only some of the requirements needed to become an expert visual merchandiser. The visual aspect also considers the use of effective means of communication to orientate potential customers via visual signals (advertising posters, dress mannequins, and other important tools such as the use of colour in the decor which is all important) so that they can easily find their way around the store and discover as much as possible that the retailer can provide for their tastes. In short, the strategic positioning of the displays must be pleasing to the eye and eye-catching at every location, from the store front to the interior.

Other vital techniques taught by courses focus on the merchandising aspect: these include learning the distinction between the demands of the commercial versus the luxury markets, and acquiring the experience to design diverse and demographically-targeted, distinct genres to satisfy different audiences.

Understanding the essentials of product grouping is an important point. This includes knowing where to position the products around the store in relation to the space assignment to be allotted according to sales objectives. The various levels of display, from vertical to horizontal shelves and equipment, use of walls and floor space must also be applied to the strategic use of a harmonizing element to enhance the ambient and customer experience – Feng Shui-oriented decor is a perfect example of this practice.

Furthermore, the synergistic bond between ‘offshore’ and ‘online’ store options is a primary consideration in order to make the most out of customer satisfaction and sales objectives for retailers. Customer relations are necessarily tied to customer loyalty and this means that you must know how to deal with clients first-hand. In this respect, after-sales experience is naturally another prerequisite in customer relations. Visual merchandising courses teach excellent guidelines to learn about consumer behaviour which is of course one of the main foundations that will ensure customer loyalty and enduring satisfaction that will lead to growing a solid loyal customer base. Do not forget also that a perfect balance is needed in the layout, use of space, decor, colour and product placement/grouping. Too much or too little makes all the difference, so cluttering the store may not be an advantage. Rather, leaving it simple and providing ample space for the customers to walk around will certainly prove to be a more successful methodology.

Well Played, John Lewis. Well Played…

On Thursday afternoon, I saw the new John Lewis Christmas advert. I was, it’s fair to say, pretty underwhelmed by the whole affair, especially after having seen so many people talking about how moving it was across social media. I mean, it’s cute enough and all that, but it didn’t make me feel in the least bit Christmassy, nor did it make me want to shed a tear like so many of my friends seem to have upon viewing it. I mentioned this fact on Facebook and inadvertently managed to surprise a lot of people who felt that my lack of enthusiasm meant that my heart must’ve been replaced by a swinging brick, but the whole thing just felt wrong to me.

This morning, I was browsing the internet and guess what? John Lewis has sold out of cuddly penguins featured in the advert.

John Lewis Penguins Monty and Mabel

I toddled over to the mobile site and found that not only were John Lewis selling cuddly penguins, including a huge one for just under £100, they were selling a whole bunch of ‘Monty the Penguin’ branded goods. MERCH ALL UP IN YOUR FACE. And you know the worst part? John Lewis has actually sold out of almost all of it. The hapless consumers have played right into their hands.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that a company as huge as John Lewis would make an advert at Christmas, the busiest retail period of the whole year, just for shits and giggles; they’re trying to sell us stuff, plain and simple. But to me, creating a specific character, crafting an overly-sentimental advert around it and then merchandising the hell out of it, seems like a new low. I’m not even going to get started on the fact that people are buying a £95 cuddly toy.

The sudden lack of stock on their online store could be one of two things; either the British public really has lost its tiny mind and bought these exorbitant fluffy buggers in their thousands, or John Lewis is applying a bit of renegade marketing by only releasing a certain amount, thus creating a sell-out situation, and making demand for them go through the roof. What’s the betting we see people selling them on eBay, in early December, for hundreds of pounds to beleaguered parents whose kids want NOTHING but Monty the Penguin, only for John Lewis to miraculously find a mountain of stock right before the big day?

I know that for most, Christmas is not really a time of spirituality any more, and if you know me at all you’ll know that that’s really not my bag anyway, but I’m really nauseated by the blatant manipulation that John Lewis has employed in doing this and I certainly won’t be buying into it. It all seems so dreadfully cynical.

Have you bought any of the John Lewis Penguins or do you think the whole thing is madness? Let me know.