It’s not too early to begin showing off your spring merchandise! If you have it in stock, get it out where customers can see it.
Right now, your main focus may be Valentines Day or sale merchandise, but that doesn't mean you have to hide spring! Customers will be excited to see something new, fresh, and promising of warmer weather, so get it out of the back room or storage. It doesn't have to be in the most prominent spot just yet.
Need help with spring displays? Check us out on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or get in touch with us today!
Valentines Day may not be for every retailer as it doesn't always apply to your offering. But, that doesn't mean that you have to sit it out completely.
If you don’t have a Valentines display, try pulling together a few things by the till. If you don’t have Valentines merchandise, be creative to take advantage of the season!
Valentines is a fun holiday during the drags of winter, so be creative and pull together existing merchandise in your store with a simple sign for those who might be looking for a gift or decoration!
If you're really unsure of what to pull together, consider the colour of the merchandise and the holiday.
Have questions for Melissa? Check us out on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or get in touch with us today!
I thought it would be fun to include some blog posts about creating props, so I've been waiting for a great prop project to blog about!
There's no sense in beating around the bush, so here it is... The Twisted Tissue Paper Lollipops tutorial!
These Lollipops were created for a tree in Festival of Trees Edmonton (for the University Hospital Foundation), but could be used in a window display, candy shop, or for a party! All you need to do is use your imagination... and get comfortable in front of the TV while you twist the tissue paper for them.
Start by cutting your paper plates to the desired size. It helps to at least cut the lip off the edge, allowing the plate to flatten a bit.
Then begin twisting your tissue, one sheet at a time. Plan which colours you want for each pop and twist according to how many you think you'll need. It's faster and easier to twist first and glue later.
Next, it's time to get ready for glue, so remember to protect your surface before adhering the tissue. Twist the pieces together and begin by gluing in the center of your plate.
Rotate and twist around the glued down center, gluing every inch or so. I used hot glue which adheres quickly, but beware: hot glue burns! It's actually really tough not to burn yourself when working with hot glue and tissue paper. I'd love to hear other adhesive suggestions in the comments section below, just note that double sided tape didn't work very well and I don't recommend it.
Keep twisting and rolling your tissue around (twist sections together and adhere with a dot of glue when you need to attach a new piece) until you reach the end. Once you've filled your paper plate completely, finish it off with a dot of glue and trim the end.
Now you're ready for what comes next! Some might want to leave them like this, others may want to just add cellophane, and I went all the way and added a stick and cello. This gave them the traditional lollipop look and created some stability so that I could wire them to the tree. It all depends on what you're planning for their end use.
I attached the chopsticks to the backs simply by breaking them apart and adhering them with electrical tape in white as you see below.
Wrapping them in cellophane is easy, just cut a piece large enough, wrap, and twist around the stick. Then tie a ribbon around it!
I used curling ribbon to tie first and trimmed it down so that it would be easy to cover up. I did this so that I didn't have to worry about making it pretty, I just needed to think about getting it tight. Pretty comes next.
Next, I trimmed the cellophane at the bottom by giving it small snips and then tearing pieces off. Last, but not least, tie it with a pretty ribbon!
If I was going to use it somehwere where the stick could be seen, I would have painted the chopsticks white or purchased white dowels, but since the stick would be mostly hidden, a bare chopstick worked! Boy am I glad I saved them... Sometimes hoarding pays off I guess, wink wink!
Use your imagination for colour combinations and lollipop applications! Mine were in this tree (below), but yours could be used anywhere! Just plan for an hour per lolli... That's how long it took me, anyway. If you have any suggestions for adhesives or speeding up the process, I'd love to hear them. I'm always open to suggestion! Otherwise, enjoy your new tissue paper lollipops!
An awesome colleague cohort, and client of mine recently emailed me this great question and I just had to share it with all of you!
I, myself, haven’t read a whole lot of research. In fact, I don’t think there’s a whole lot out there. But I do think that the study you read is among the most accurate.
If you choose music that your target market or core customer likes the best, they will linger longer. It’s also important to have music that doesn’t drive you or your staff members crazy! If you’re on edge, your customers will sense it.
The truth is a happy customer and a customer who is in tune with the environment buys more, so don’t worry about what the malls are doing because your customers don’t shop there all that much. The reason we see malls choosing the music they do is that they’re generally trying use top 40 type music to appeal to the masses. There are also often loads of stores in the malls that appeal to teens and young adults and that is the music that they like best.
If you really want to focus on choosing music that your customers like best; you could try creating a survey monkey survey (or use a similar software or system) and invite them to complete it or complete it with them at the till! It could be fun and customers get to feel involved. Also, I’m sure most branding gurus would say that the music you choose needs to fit with your brand. If your brand isn’t a super young, high octane brand... I wouldn’t worry about pushing the high speed music.
Last, but not least, we come to holiday music... I know it's not everyone's favourite, but it’s an absolute must. That’s where most of the retail studies pertaining to music have been done and it’s proven to drive sales up quite a bit! Usually, the chain stores start weaving in the odd quiet holiday song about November first, then after Remembrance day, you’ll hear it every 2nd or 3rd song (you may have to make custom CD’s or playlists for your store). As of December first, it should be all Holiday, all the time! You will get the odd customer that may complain about it, but even they will be more likely to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts (should that be applicable) because it’ll be top of mind.
Here are some links to research I've found!
Association for Consumer Reasearch - Using Store Music for Retail Zoning
Michael Morrison, Monash University - The Power of Music and its Influence
Live Science - 7 Holiday Marketing Tricks Retailers Use
And here's a little bit on the Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday music "controversy"
Canadian Retailer Puts Christmas Music on Pause
Shoppers Drug Mart Hits Mute on Christmas Music
I gladly welcome all of your questions and comments! If you have a question that you would like answered in the blog or would like to know more about our services, leave a comment or contact us here.
A little while ago, I was flattered to be invited as a panelist to the Capital Ideas event (for the Edmonton Journal) called "How Do I Design a Great Customer Experience?" along with Kirsten Proulx and Jason Suriano! It was an awesome experience and so much fun, so I wanted to share some of the key takeaways with you, my readers!
What's the most important thing you've learned about designing a customer experience?
Examples of a great customer experience
Dealing with "problematic customers"
Applying lessons from past to present
How do you motivate your sales staff?
The "treasure hunt" method of shopping
Measuring the effectiveness of your customer experience tactics
The takeaway - What others had to say
Want to see more? Have a look at some event photos on the Capital Ideas flickr page! You can also read all of the tweets associated with #CapitalIdeas on the Storify page! Would you like to hear more from Capital ideas and the panelists on Twitter? Follow @CapitalIdeasYEG @FlourishDesignM @Henrys_PFT and @jasonsuriano by clicking on their links!
Lighting is so important to a store's atmosphere and can make or break the overall look and feel. Humans feel safer in the light and so gravitate to well lit spaces, but harsh lighting can wreck the look and feel of your product. So... Which type of lighting will work best for you?
Ceramic Metal Halide
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
Let me begin this post by saying I am absolutely addicted to Pinterest and I am especially addicted to posting retail pictures on Pinterest! I'm so addicted, in fact, that when I went to create those links above, I found myself pinning...
My love for Pinterest and many of the window display pictures floating around is what inspired last week's Tip of the Week and this week's blog post.
FYI - Last week's tip: "When planning store windows, keep the end in mind. What is it that you’re trying to sell or accomplish and are you getting your point across?"
So many times, very talented visual merchandisers or display people work really hard to create a beautiful window display... that actually doesn't sell anything.
When creating your window display ask yourself a few questions:
Why should a window display have a purpose or be selling something, you ask? (Or maybe you didn't, in fact you probably didn't.) Because the primary job of a window display is to bring customers into the store, especially customers who weren't already headed there in the first place. The second role of a window display is to potentially sell something, that they wouldn't have thought of otherwise, to someone (remember, around half of most buying decisions are made impulsively.) And... last, but not least, the role of the window display is to communicate your brand, which can be through messaging, images, overall feel, etc.
Often, (especially on Pinterest) we see windows that are decorated with lovely paper sculptures or that have complicated projects in them that the retailer or their team worked tirelessly on. Remember; these things should have a purpose and generally be in a supporting role to the product you're trying to sell or the message you're trying to communicate.
In a window display, we have very little time to communicate something to passersby or to even catch their attention. Chances are, they're walking down the street, phone in hand (they could be talking or texting, or any number of things...), they've got cars whizzing by, there are signs everywhere, people passing... Any number of distractions really! It's important that your display and message are simple and easy to understand.
Now, since it's difficult to find original sources for photo credit when using Pinterest, and my post could be construed as criticism (though most of these windows were beautiful!), I haven't posted any photos of the windows that were amazing, yet not necessarily selling anything. Sorry for the text heavy blog post! (Wait... I can be long winded... Maybe they're all text heavy?)
Here's a gratuitous window display shot from Cloud Nine Pajamas last spring! (Yeah, it's an inside view, I live in Edmonton, so in spring there was still lots of snow on the ground causing horrible glare.) I still <3 it.
Now, know that I'm not telling you you can't do anything. I'm just asking you to keep the above questions in mind. If you would like to spend hours creating amazing artwork for your windows, be my guest... and remember to pin pictures after! Just remember that, ideally, you should be changing your window displays every 4 to 6 weeks.
If you have any questions about setting your windows up to sell, to drive traffic, or to combat glare, get in touch with Flourish Design & Merchandising any time! Feel free to follow us on twitter and facebook, too!
As human beings, most of us are lucky enough to have five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. This week’s Flourish tip of the week was all about stimulating as many as possible of those five senses to engage your customer to the fullest. Getting our senses going is a way to create an exciting and memorable shopping experience for your customer.
Sight is arguably the most important of the five senses where shopping is concerned. Customers are attracted to merchandise, first by looking at it. The overall look and feel of your store can also have a huge impact on your sales and overall image!
This is why visual merchandising is a career choice for many and why Flourish Design & Merchandising offers the services that we do! Stimulating your customer’s sight is what draws them into the store, attracts them to look more closely at product, and most often entices them to buy. Sight is one of the major ways in which we make product selection.
In order to make the most of the visual appeal of your store, ensure that everything is neat, tidy, and in its place. Clean visual merchandising is often the most effective type. Combine major displays and features with basic merchandising. If everything is a “feature” the customer won’t know where to look first.
Don’t forget to include your logo! Reinforcing the brand identity in-store is so important!
Last, but not least, if you’re not sure of the most effective way to merchandise your store visually, then hire a professional, someone who is educated and trained in visual merchandising.
Sound can have a huge impact on how we feel while we’re shopping. The music in your store needs to feel just right to your target market. Listening to the wrong music choice can have a very negative impact as can music that is too loud or not there at all (it makes customers very uncomfortable). Know your target market and make your listening choice accordingly.
Consider listening to satellite radio or an mp3 player hooked up to the stereo system as well as music on CDs and other forms of non-traditional radio music. Avoiding the commercials, talk, and occasionally poor reception is a good thing!
Here’s another thought when creating atmosphere… What suits the merchandise that you’re selling right now? Is spring time fast approaching and do you sell outdoor product? Consider something with nature sounds such as birds or water to make the customer feel more “outdoorsy”. Also know that holiday music during the holidays is an absolute necessity. While, as retailers, we often get tired of hearing it, it is proven to increase holiday sales by getting customers in the spirit.
Okay, so you might be thinking… How are my customers going to taste the merchandise? This one may only apply directly to a few of you, but the rest may be able to apply it on occasion!
When you sell food of any kind, customers are more likely to buy if they get a taste. This is actually the case by a large margin! You will, most likely, more than make up for the cost of giving away samples in profit you make. Not to mention, customers feel more engaged and may even buy more of other products in the store! I always semi-jokingly tell my clients: “If you feed them, they will buy.”
Now, if you don’t sell food? I don’t recommend tasting soaps, shirts, candles, or any other product! Instead, on special occasions, feed your customers samples from a nearby local eatery. It’s a nice gift to give to them, you can advertise it on social media and hopefully that local eatery will be willing to sponsor at least a portion of the cost of providing those samples.
Touch rivals sight for being an extremely important sense! If a customer can’t hold and feel a product, they generally won’t buy it. Take a look at the customers milling about your store; they’re always grabbing things, stroking them, and picking them up, aren’t they? That’s a good thing!
Customers may consider an item based on the way it looks, but they won’t make a final decision unless they can hold it in their hands and feel the texture, finish, etc. The most important thing when doing your visual merchandising, is not to impede this urge. Remove from plastic wrap, packaging, and boxes as much as possible. At the very least, offer a sample of merchandise that is out of the package for customers to pick up and feel.
In the case of high theft items, some of them simply must be kept under lock and key, often in a display case. Just ensure that this display case is well-lit and that there is always someone available to pull out merchandise to show interested customers.
Smell can be a touchy subject! What about allergies or people with different tastes? What about conflicting scents? These are all valid concerns.
I think that the guiding factor with scents is that less is more. Avoid overpowering scents that will take over the entire store. Customers can’t escape from them if they’re allergic and there’s a possibility that it will conflict with another scent in the store.
The main thing with scents is that you want to avoid having bad ones in store which is sometimes a possibility, especially when unpacking new merchandise. Consider using a gentle air freshener or a scented product you sell. I especially recommend something that generally eliminates odours as opposed to trying to cover them up. Try to also remove the source of the bad smell right away!
Another creative way to use smells is by using something (again gentle) that works with the theme of a particular display. Think about a display of margarita products, for example. You could add the soft scent of lime by including some fresh limes in the display or even just their zest! Cinnamon is popular during the holidays and pumpkin or apple pie during the fall. Grocery stores do this, too. It’s like torture when you walk in to pick up some fresh fruit or veggies in the morning and can smell fresh bread or cinnamon buns baking!
Lastly, make sure that scented product, such as candles or soaps, is available for sniffing. If you keep all of a particular product under wraps, customers will get frustrated by not being able to give it a sniff before making a purchase! Be sure to include a tester for lotions or sprays of any kind so that customers can give them a try!
The important thing to remember when creating a sensual store (in the purest sense of the term), is that we’re all human beings and operate in similar ways! If you appeal to common human urges and make shopping easy, you will be successful.
Have you got more questions about the senses? Get in touch with Melissa of Flourish Design & Merchandising today! To get updates for new blog posts, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter!
This week’s tip of the week was about reminding your customers of important dates approaching in a relevant display. This creates a sense of urgency and gets customers in a frame of mind where they will begin to consider everything that they’ll need for that approaching date.
For example, a simple sign that reads “Mother’s Day is May 13th” on a display of ideal Mother’s Day gifts will get the customer thinking “What do I need for then?” and “What can I pick up here?” It not only gets them looking through the gifts for the perfect one for Mom, but also has them consider other items that could be in-store that would apply!
Do ensure that the sign is professional, simple, easy to read, and attractive and that it is displayed in a sign holder or a pretty frame (whichever is consistent with your usual signage). Some might prefer to give customers a gentle reminder that a holiday is approaching by having the merchandise tell them, such as the photo below. Just make sure everyone working at the store knows the date for inquiring customers!
Remember, by doing this you’re not only increasing sales, but also doing a service to your customers! Sometimes we need a reminder to not leave things until the last minute. And… in the case of our example date, Moms probably appreciate it, too!
First is Colour Blocking
Colour plays and important role in our everyday lives, but how much time to we spend consciously thinking about it?
As retailers, it’s important that we do this all the time, keeping colour top of mind.
Why is colour so important? We have natural physiological reactions to colour as well as behavioural and cultural reactions. Almost everyone has a favourite colour, there are colour trends for fashion and for home, and we associate certain holidays with certain colour schemes. There are people who dedicate their entire careers to colour. You can find colour experts, behavioural psychologists that study colour, and even an international colour authority!
Obviously you can’t please everyone in one shot, so how can you apply colour to your store in an effective way?
By gathering items of a same colour together, you can create a display or section that’s easier to look at, allowing the customer to gravitate to colours that appeal to them. It works with regular merchandise, sale merchandise, or even just odds and sods that you’re trying to gather together for an appealing look.
In a display or a section, you can create a colour story, choosing specific colours to pull together for a certain look. Then block those colours together in certain spots and combine them in others for a great overall look that’s easy for the customer to shop.
Secondly is Colour Trend
Many people are very on trend as far as what is in this season and those colours will sell best for you. So how do you know what’s will be in next season when you’re ordering?
One option is to consult with the International Colour Authority, an organization based in the UK that uses a panel of colour experts to determine future colour trends with great accuracy. This is an expensive option, but will give you the most accurate colour forecast, far in advance.
Are you like most of us and don’t have the extra cash to spare for a colour report? Your suppliers may have already subscribed to the international colour authority and be well aware of colour trends for the upcoming seasons. As they are product developers and importers, it is important for them to be onto trends before everyone else!
Also consider using Pinterest and the Pantone website. They won't have information as far in advance, but will definitely give you a heads-up as to what's coming.
Lastly, use magazines. You definitely won't get the information far in advance, but they’re full of current trends and trends coming in the near future. They’re even known to set trends, of course! Whether it’s fashion, gifts, or home decor, look to your favourite magazines to guide you in the right direction and keep you on track.
When all is said and done, your intuition will help guide you in the right direction; just remember that strong colour blocking often leads to strong sales and an organized looking store. And… When in doubt, remember that customers shop first by colour, followed by everything else. Need a little help? Consult an expert to help you make the best of your store.
Melissa Mainville is the owner and operator of Flourish Design & Merchandising. She has a passion for retail and tons of experience in the industry. Learn more here.