‘Show & Tell’ Merchandising Sessions at Outdoor Retailer

If you missed the ‘Show & Tell’ Merchandising Sessions at the Outdoor Retailer show (or didn’t feel like taking notes) here are some key topics that we covered. These are good merchandising points to keep top of mind.

The point is.
Yes, merchandising and visual displays are fun, interesting and add depth to your store, but the point is to showcase product and entice shopping. We all want to sell more and move product quickly.  Paying attention to your merchandising will move your product faster and provide a memorable shopping experience for your customer.

Where to begin.
Take a good honest look at your store and answer these questions:
+ Does your merchandising reflect the clothes you are selling?
+ How does it make you feel?  Is it interesting, surprising, sophisticated, well-organized, easy to shop?
+ Are there areas in your store that are hard to shop, neglected, customers avoid?
+ Are the displays enticing? Is the music appropriate? Does your store smell good? Do customers feel
like lingering, savoring the environment, taking it all in?

Find Inspiration.
Now that you’ve answered some questions about your store, find inspiration to become what your customers will love. I’m often asked where I find my inspiration for the merchandising at Lizard Lounge. The question should be where don’t I find inspiration?
+ Leave your store and look around. Go shopping (don’t get stuck in your world)
+ Read blogs that inspire you- include topics like travel, home decorating, fashion, and world events.
+ Pay attention to current culture.  Music, art and movies influence design.
+ Cut pages from magazines. Keep an inspiration folder
+ Sign up to receive emails from other brands/stores.  It’s difficult to manage your in-box, but you need to know what is going on in the marketplace.

Merchandising rules of thumb.
+ Keep it new and fresh looking every season, all season.
– the entry & front of your store needs to be perfect and frequently refreshed
– the back of your store needs to be compelling and well-organized to draw people in
+ Move product that isn’t moving
-there is a reason you bought everything in your store, make your customers see it too
+ Make it make sense
– make connections for your customers. Are these items wearable together?
+ ”God is in the details”
– create merchandising standards and apply them religiously
– use consistent heights, measuring, folding and tools
– cleanliness and organization go very far in merchandising

Merchandising devices.
These are common attention grabbing elements you can put to work in your store:
+ Visual references
– color – this is what your eye sees first
– contrast – use light, color, texture
– repetition – same idea repeated for impact
+ Emotional references
– humor – make people stop and smile
– surprise – fun and attention getting
– nostalgia – use pleasant reminders of the “good old days”
+ Mechanical Elements
– line and composition – vertical, diagonal and horizontal lines
– scale and proportion – make use of relative size and scale
– motion or movement – makes you stop and find out what will happen

by Kelsie Morrow, Lizard Lounge Store Manager and Women’s buyer and former Portland Art Institute Professor of Merchandising