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How long before customer boredom sets in?

The Display Window, The Power Spot, The Sightlines in Store There are many books and articles written on retailing being theatre and that the shop floor is the stage where you entertain your customers. John Stanley expands on this topic.

The challenge is: how do you keep them entertained and stop them getting bored? The last thing any retailer wants is for their consumers to get bored with the displays and stop purchasing.

Rachel Shechtman, the owner of the New York concept store, The Story, would argue that the display theme has to change at least every four to eight weeks to ensure the customer continues to be engaged with your business.

Why not daily?

The change over will vary with the type of store and the season, but in principle monthly changes will prevent customer boredom. I am aware of retailers who believe in daily changes. One is a retailer located next to a bus stop who would argue that the display has to change daily as the customer looks at the display every day while waiting for a bus. I live in a small town and the local gift shop changes their message on a blackboard outside the store every day. I think most of the locals that drop into town would go and read the daily message, purely because they are curious about what the new message will be. The key is that the message has to grab the customers’ attention.

Like any merchandising and display strategy the key is consistency, as soon as you falter the consumer will lose interest.

What grabs the attention?

One of the keys to success is making sure that a consumer notices a display. To catch their attention you have to do something different, or place the familiar with the unfamiliar.

These types of displays do follow a trend. In recent years retailers have used wooden crates as a prop to create a different ‘feel’ and this was recently followed by wooden pallets. On a recent visit to Germany I noticed that tyres are now being used to create a different feel. The secret is to keep coming up with a new concept and to stay ahead of the competition, once it becomes the norm it is not noticed by the consumer.

You do not have to change the whole store

Over the years I have often heard retail team members say they agree with the concept, but they do not have the time to make the differences required in the store. This is where I disagree. Making the right changes, increases sales per square metre, plus you do not have to change the whole store.

There are three key locations that must be changed on a regular basis.

Those three locations are:

The Display Window. Not all retailers have display windows. Those that do should use them to engage the consumer by telling a story. You know they are successful when consumers start taking pictures of them. These are locations where you may want to employ a professional window dresser to ensure you get the right look.

The Power Spot. This tends to be around four steps into the store and the location that sells more product than any other location. Most retailers will use this to sell a specific ‘hero’ product.

The Sightlines in Store. These in my experience are often neglected display locations, but can be powerful as the right story displayed in a sightline can draw the consumer into the retail area. I encourage team members to walk around the store as a consumer would walk around the store and identify sightline locations and ask themselves if the displays in those locations would draw the customer to them.

Pick up ideas from other retailers

As a retailer you do not have to invent new ideas all the time. Look at what leading retailers are doing in other retail sectors and adapt their ideas to your own situation.

The key to success is making sure you engage the consumer remembering that people buy with their eyes. Your role is to make their eyes focus on your displays.


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