Spring 2015
Display Inspirations: Every Store Tells a Story By Zeke Jennings

By Gretchen A.C. Kroll | Special to Gift Shop

I am an avid reader. I love being taken away by adventure, mystery and romance. A carefully written book spikes the imagination and leaves the reader waiting for the author’s next tale. Our society is one of interaction from which people connect emotionally. Individuals gravitate toward books and environments that resonate with who they are and ignite ideas of what is possible. Retailers can grow their business by replicating the tactics of famous authors and tell a carefully crafted story.

What is your story?

Authors have a specific expertise and style of writing. They specialize in conveying a perspective that engages the minds of readers. Likewise, retailers have a passion and desire to share their talent through the four walls of their store. It is not about the words on a page or the product in the store, it is how it is arranged that ultimately conveys meaning. Thinking beyond the product and understanding the message being sent to customers is key to retail success.

What is your message?

Stores, like any great book, create a setting that either encourages or discourages engagement. It is human nature to judge an environment within the first few seconds of contact. Some may feel irritated with over-stocked racks that are unorganized, while others may enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Retailers, like great authors, will not appeal to everyone. It is important however to clearly identify your customer and direct messages that appeal to your target. Retail presentation ultimately sets the stage of your novel and must be the number one salesperson in connecting buyers with your story. Regardless if you are selling teen clothes, evening gowns, chocolates or gifts, the store needs to take the consumer on a visual experience that communicates feelings, solves problems, suggests ideas and entertains.

There are many ways stores can improve their communication through visual display. Two important tactics include understanding the power of grouping and creating drama.

The power of groups

Eyes seek order. Keeping product arranged in defined groups helps the viewer to easily interpret what is being shown. Small, organized collections assist people in processing information through association and tell tales of trends, purpose and expertise. Grouping product by color, item, or theme intensifies the message and draws attention to items that would otherwise go unnoticed. There should be defined vignettes throughout the store to inspire customers to new ideas and thoughts.

Grouping is achieved by displaying coordinated product tightly together. Small and large items are more prominent when positioned collectively. Arrange fixtures in your store to clearly define space between different statements. Garment racks can be used to house distinct assortments with a featured example prominently highlighted on the end-caps. This allows consumers to process what is on the rack without having to relentlessly review every item. Make certain all areas of your store do not look the same by incorporating a variety of themes to separate collections.

You can also create groups by coordinating similar display pieces. Large and small body forms in similar fabrics can pull a grouping together and bring it center stage through textures and color. Place mannequins on tabletops to create strong focal points with assorted product organized below. Groups should feel different throughout the store. Use imagination to incorporate unexpected fixtures that create diverse backdrops. Incorporate specialty fixtures to prominently showcase large assortments like scarves, purses or gloves. It helps consumers know your collection offers a wide range of styles in just a quick glance. These prominently displayed items tell consumers you are an expert, you know fashion and you have what they need.

Create Drama

Like any good book, incorporating the unexpected is important to getting things noticed. Put tables on tables, screw chairs on the wall or hang old barn doors from the ceiling. Surprising and unanticipated fixtures entertain the customer and keep your store unique. Unpredictable displays draw consumers toward product that otherwise might get unnoticed. Beautiful upholstered chairs placed on tables can give interest to a shoe collection, be used to tack jewelry into or highlight a draped dress. Barren metal trees can be used to add drama through texture or daintily showcase spring’s latest eyeglass collection. Large spools can be used to create height or showcase belts. Incorporating a few unique display pieces allows you to create a feel that attracts customers and emphasizes product.

Grow your sales by telling your story and take the time to set the stage for success. People have a choice about what books they read and where they shop — make sure your store is one they keep coming back to read.

—Gretchen A.C. Kroll is vice president of sales and marketing at Tripar International, Inc., a family owned business for more than 40 years. Through the years, Tripar has evolved as a leader in visual display and decorative accessories for the wholesale market. The team at Tripar works diligently to design products that offer options for every display, regardless if the needs are basic or elaborate. For more display ideas, visit www.tripar.com.

Zeke Jennings

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