Martin M Pe­gler

As you show –so shall you sell! It is as sim­ple as that and yet, sur­pris­ingly, so many re­tail­ers just don’t get it. It is not enough to carry fine mer­chan­dise and well ad­ver­tised brand names; how you present your mer­chan­dise sets you apart from the re­tail

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Just as man­u­fac­tur­ers spend mil­lions cre­at­ing eas­ily rec­og­nized and long re­mem­bered lo­gos and brand in­signia so must to­day’s re­tailer cre­ate his own brand iden­tity which should be­come even more im­por­tant to the con­sumer than the man­u­fac­turer’s brands which are con­tained within the store. Since I write books on re­tail, restau­rant and spe­cialty food store de­sign I am al­ways look­ing for and find­ing new de­signs and ar­chi­tects and store plan­ners who cre­ate them. These stores, shops and cafes are now con­sid­ered “re­tail brand im­ages” - they are the “vis­ual cues” to the shop­per and by the choice of build­ing and fin­ish­ing ma­te­ri­als, the color pal­ette, the theme, the graph­ics and the vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing and dis­play a dis­tinct “sig­na­ture im­age” is cre­ated. It tells the shop­per who and what the re­tailer is and some­thing about the cal­iber of the mer­chan­dise.

So many re­tail­ers who have grown and pros­pered over the years are to­day com­mis­sion­ing de­sign­ers to cre­ate new re­tail brand im­ages for them be­cause the world now re­lies on im­agery and im­age recog­ni­tion. People don’t seem to want to take the time to dis­cover on their own; they want a sure thing— some­thing al­ready proven. Thus, the power of brand­ing. Also re­tail­ers are look­ing to ex­pand their cus­tomer base and reach out to new shop­pers with­out los­ing their tra­di­tional and loyal cus­tomers. That means ty­ing in some of the fa­mil­iar vis­ual cues with the new ones. Maybe it is main­tain­ing a sig­na­ture color in the logo, or some unique ar­chi­tec­tural or dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ment from the old store in the new de­sign like a chan­de­lier or a clas­sic old dis­play ta­ble. The re­sult­ing de­sign com­bines old with new, tra­di­tional with the fu­ture and still serves to iden­tify the re­tailer as an en­tity to be reck­oned with.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of the mer­chan­dise and the dis­plays that bring the shop­pers into the store are very im­por­tant in cre­at­ing the re­tail brand im­age. If one uses man­nequins—are they dis­tinc­tive? Do they rep­re­sent, truly, the re­tailer’s cus­tomer base? Do they do jus­tice to the mer­chan­dise? Are they as smart, so­phis­ti­cated and stylish as the gar­ments or as amus­ing, young and trendy as the re­tailer would like his wares to ap­pear? They are the store’s “silent sales­peo­ple” and they “speak” vol­umes about the mer­chan­dise! If the re­tailer uses forms, drap­ers or cos­tumers— how are they dif­fer­ent from those used by his neighbor? How do they make the gar­ments look unique and dis­tinc­tive? If the re­tailer doesn’t have a big sign with the store name on it will people still rec­og­nize the store by its win­dow pre­sen­ta­tions? They are the im­age mak­ers—out on the street and in the aisles of the mall. They dare the shop­per as they en­tice them and lure them in with a sense of new­ness and ex­cite­ment.

What does the dis­play of stock on the wall and floor fix­tures or fit­tings –on the dis­play ta­bles and racks—say about the re­tailer? How does the shop­per quickly and con­ve­niently find the mer­chan­dise or the par­tic­u­lar de­signer or brand name she seeks in­side the store? That is where the re­tailer’s dis­tinc­tive vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing not only be­comes part of the re­tail im­age but adds greatly to what shop­pers—the world over—look for in a shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. They look for and want se­lec­tion, qual­ity, com­fort and ease of shop­ping. So, as I said at the very start—this is the mo­ment of truth. This is where the shop­per meets the mer­chan­dise and where the de­ci­sions are made. This is where how you show af­fects how you sell.

Many re­tail­ers, hop­ing to ex­pand into mul­ti­store chains know the im­por­tance of that rec­og­niz­able Re­tail Brand Im­age and how it plays in the mar­ket­place. The “look” means con­ti­nu­ity; it means good will and the store’s rep­u­ta­tion is rep­re­sented by the col­ors, ma­te­ri­als and the vis­ual cues in­her­ent in the de­sign. The bet­ter the re­tailer looks—the more will he be able to at­tract the top name brands look­ing for out­lets. We are a brand con­scious so­ci­ety so make sure that you cre­ate your own per­sonal “brand im­age” to suc­ceed in busi­ness

Martin M. Pe­gler

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