SNEWS® Merchandising Tours Teaching Retailers To Turn On Your RAS

Visual merchandising ideas are everywhere. We sometimes need to turn on our reticular activating system to find them. The RAS (reticular activating system) is the automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention. It’s a fancy way of saying that, if we set a goal to find ideas, they will jump out at us. For example: You are in the market for a new car and you have set a goal to buy a white one. A funny thing begins to happen. You are suddenly seeing white cars all over town when, in the past, you would have ignored them. You have activated your brain to visually hone in on your goal.
Get ready for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 in August by setting a goal to find merchandising ideas and you’ll be surprised how many you’ll discover. Our merchandising editor, Sharon Leicham, does just that when preparing to lead the SNEWS® Merchandising Tours co-sponsored by Outdoor Retailer. She also spends a couple of hours on the last day of the show finding more ideas that she thinks fit the outdoor retail environment. And she always finds them. Some take imagination to adapt to retail, others take creativity to implement, but all can get the visual merchandising juices flowing.
Take Prana for example. The company never ceases to excite and the display at the corner of its booth at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2011 was a motivating call to action. The giant ball of plastic bags entwined with bamboo strips was an attention-getter and traffic-stopper. The sheer size was as impressive as the double meaning of the message, “Plastic…It’s Not in Our Nature.” How do you get your messages out? Why not start your own plastic recycling by urging your customers to bring their plastic bags in to your store and depositing them in a ball like Prana’s or a large plastic tube, netting or oil drum. Whatever you choose to use make it big and visual to entice customer interest. They will have fun watching the collection grow and you will be asserting your commitment to protecting the environment.
You don’t have to wait for the next Outdoor Retailer to rev up your RAS. Make it a priority to find visual merchandising ideas wherever you can – other stores, magazines, online. To inspire your RAS and see all the amazing ideas Sharon writes about in her regular Merchandising Tour columns for SNEWS®, go to Email to put your name on a contact list for more information and to ensure your name is on the registration list for the next Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour Program, Summer Market 2011 — spaces are limited.

— Michael Hodgson, President, SNEWS®