Humans are created with five natural senses (and some, like a 'fifth' sense, or "nonsense" we aren't discussing here!) Non-Store shoppers browsing magazines, papers, catalogs or text and images on-line, are using ONE sense: SIGHT. It's the most important one for sure, and that is why everything Today's Displays does begins with VISUAL! I say VMP is what you see.
Non-Store shoppers listening to phone soliciting, are also only using ONE sense: SOUND. So anything visual here is totally related to what you are visualizing when listening. Videos and face time add the sense of SOUND and when added to the SIGHT influences us even more. This is when watching TV, audio/visual ads on line, or even a non-interactive product presentation in a store or at a trade show exhibit.
I think it's hilarious the antics actors go through on TV to try and describe what something smells like, tastes like, or feels like. The ad agencies have to come up with ways to make you believe that peanut butter tastes like the first time each time, challenging you to go buy a jar and see if that's true. Another favorite of mine is the 'nose blind' ads, or those for laundry freshening products. I wonder when we will have Smell-a-vision, Taste-a-vision, and Touch-a-vision! Right now they can only use what we see and hear to influence our motivations.
As an Independent RETAILER, you have the chance to appeal to ALL FIVE senses. You can add the other THREE senses to SIGHT and SOUND in a bricks 'n mortar shopping experience. Examples are:
We sold tons of masks and I became the expert mask fitter! We had five vendors who supplied masks and the all worked differently. Letting shoppers know they could try on the masks was huge. All we asked was that they didn't put the ones unpurchased back on the rack, but to bring them to us. By the end of the day, there was a little pile of unsold masks waiting to be sanitized. This made everyone feel safer and happier with their purchases. We also sold more masks and the word began to get around town.
If you sell beauty and health products, the fragrance you want is different than if you sell food items, or garments. Some seasons lend themselves to smells that are traditional and familiar, such as pine, or cinnamon at Christmas, with hot apple cider being offered to shoppers with ginger cookies.
As a sales rep for a company, I once called on an upholstery shop that was located between a salon and a fast food chicken place. When I walked in I immediately reacted to the smell of fried chicken and fries mixed with the small of perm solution. Because in their industry that was just their workshop and they called on customers to show samples and give quotes, they didn't feel the need to relocate!
Words of WARNING:
(Side note: you will sell on average 20% more of what you take out of the package and display! And you also reduce the temptation from shoppers to open the box to see what's inside!) Don't use strong smelling cleaners on your floors or fixtures that smell like disinfectants.
The bank I frequent from time to time offers cookies and coffee or water to those standing in line. At that moment they are 'soothing the senses' which is what our featured article this week is all about. Check out the FREE article: Soothing the Senses
This client had just opened up a new location for her clock business. It was Christmas, one of her top selling seasons, and the budget for decorations and props was nil after all the expenses of the leasehold improvements.
We had a little discussion and decided that the best way to bring in the traditional Christmas flavor, would be to add live poinsettias in key places and strategically add some artificial evergreen garlands tucked in here and there amongst the mantel and shelf clocks. She could take the flowers home to enjoy over the holidays, so that was a good investment to brighten up her personal Christmas as well. In the case of this large poinsettia on the stand, it was strategically placed at the “back of the aisle” to catch the eye and bring shoppers into the back of the store where there were more products to see.
Beverages were set out on a little tea card that suited the image of her shop and a small mini poinsettia was set there. Again just to give a pop of color and bring the festivity into the store where the shoppers could enjoy a hot cup of apple cider. This was also to appeal to the other senses of the shoppers by adding ‘taste’ and hospitality to the shopping experience. A tray of non-sticky Christmas cookies or gingerbread could have been tucked into the bottom shelf of the cart too.
One of the keys about Christmas décor is that it shouldn’t compete with the products. Shoppers still need to be able to make comparisons, and check out the details of the options between different items.
When it comes to distance versus eye level, sometimes the best place to display Christmas is above eye level and out of reach. In the case of the cabinet shown that is full of mantel clocks, there was no room for Christmas décor with the products themselves. The artificial garland with the beaded Holiday fruits on top of this showcase is another place where we added a touch of Christmas.
The three things that catch the eye are Light, Contrast, and Movement. What would have added to this stores Christmas with a little budget would have been
It’s always wise to start out with less and then add as you feel you need it. I also will step back from time to time and look at the affect from the front door and then let my eye follow the natural traffic flow of shoppers as they browse.
Keep in mind that the first impression is the most important and from the entrance back it can then get more detailed, closer to eye level, or just carry the theme into more places. Do as much as you have time and money over and just let the Christmas spirit come from your heart and service, if it can’t come from a lot of décor! Let your products still be the Christmas STARS that come out to perform their holiday gift giving pleasure!
Check out more VMP Display Ideas in articles and Christmas Quicknotes for sale.
In Canada, as in many other countries that aren’t close to the equator, the days of winter are dark late in the morning and dark early in the evening. Along with blustery cold winds, snow, and sometimes icy roads to ride on to the stores it makes Holiday Cheer harder to believe in.
This time of year, when the retailers are geared up for their best sales ever, including at least one Black Friday, there are issues that don’t come any other time of year. While the darkness of the days and the low sun in the sky may motivate shoppers to stay in side and shop on line, sooner or later they remember something they need and will rush out to shop.
Your store can light the way with a great invitation to come into your store for Holiday Cheer.
All the traditional trappings and symbols of Christmas are what shoppers love to encounter. As much as you can place things like:
1. Wreaths on your door or in your windows extra large so they can be seen at a distance.
2. Pots with twigs or evergreen each side of the entrance to your store.
3. Twinkle lights anywhere, especially if they are twinkling as this will catch the most attention from a distance.
4. OPEN sign and Holiday Hours of operation.
5. SIGNS… either sandwich board signs on the sidewalk, if you are allowed or signs inside your windows to tell shoppers what you offer for the season:
a. Inform ( FREE Gift Wrapping – Hot Chocolate While You Wait)
b. Direct (MORE parking one block North)
c. Promote ( Two for One on XCYZ until end of year!)
6. Light! Step outside in the dark evening hours and see the effects of the lighting in your store. The darker it is outside, the more can be seen inside when going by.
What impression and invitation is your store giving?
Is your eye jumping to a bright fluorescent light and not appreciating all the displays and products on fixtures? Make baffles for those lights! It can be as simple as taping a ‘valance’ made out of cardboard around the light to keep the glare from the shopper’s eyes!
INSIDE HOLIDAY CHEER
The atmosphere you create inside the store that begins with the music, and fragrance that is a delicate cranberry, cinnamon, or evergreen, aids in creating the holiday cheer.
Providing a place for shoppers to hang their bulky winter coats, gloves, and scarves and other parcels they have accumulated along your street is the BEST way to cheer up a shopper and keep them in your store longer! This has to be a place behind your till where they feel they will be safe.
If your store is large enough for a few mini shopping carts, you can offer these to the shopper so they can remove their outerwear and also have a safe place to carry their other packages and handbags. Most shoppers stop once they have all they can carry and they need both hands free in your store to handle and inspect the details of your products. Make is super easy for them.
Gift wrapping, or even offering nice gift bags, tissue and seals is also something that will offer Holiday Cheer to the busy, time crunched shopper. You can charge a small fee that would cover your costs, or offer it FREE if it’s in your advertising PR budget to do so.
Having a comfortable place to sit down, even a stool by the till, is a way to let a weary shopper feel refreshed and renewed to keep shopping. Offering hot chocolate, apple cider, coffee and even non-sticky cookies, or mints, is another way to create some holiday cheer. They may not accept for various reasons, but they will appreciate the gesture.
Charity Donation Box: Sometimes if they don’t see anything in your store that appeals to them, but they feel favor towards you because of your disposition, positive attitudes, and friendliness, they may leave a small donation for a charity the community supports. This adds a lot of holiday cheer to the Christmas Spirit of giving.
Last but not least is the Holiday Cheer that comes from YOU and YOUR STAFF! Your smiles, your graciousness, your willingness to help them find the perfect gifts in their budget, AND explain product knowledge, as well as, your return policy will have a lot of profit well into the New Year and beyond!
VMP Display Consultant for 25 years. Consulting, Instructing, Public Speaking and Writing.