Retail is a wonderful industry. It is forever changing with current trends,
fashions and the occasional fads, keeping everyone on their toes. Because of all
the constant changes, it is important to keep current and to be “ in the know.”
Today, though the economy is arguably much better, it still has its ebbs and
flows. So keeping up and creating a fresh and new approach for your retail
clients is very important.
For the better part of my career, our focus on Store Design was based on science
and the shopping habits of individuals, and for the most part, it still is. Our first
priority was to determine where the Cash & Wrap (POS) should be placed; then
we would build a design around it. The next key item was how to best maximize
the use of the walls for merchandising with the best merchandising system. Then
came a few focal floor fixtures, which continued the theme and made a statement.
Finally, we’d fill in the balance of the space with the appropriate racks, tables or
merchandisers. We did not allocate a lot of the budget on the loose floor fixtures,
as the walls produces significantly more sales than merchandise presented on a
It wasn’t until roughly nine years ago, when our thought processes changed. This
is when we started fabricating fixtures for a large theme park in Florida. Their
approach was different; each floor fixture took up a certain amount of real estate,
which is valuable. Creating an economically viable fixture meant it had to
produce a certain amount of sales. Therefore, a lot of thought and design went
into each floor fixture. The budgets were considerable, as the design increased
sales which in turn made the ROI work.
With this new information in hand and with a new thought process, we started to
design floor fixtures that were no longer generic. We created pieces that
increased buyer interest and made a statement. We saw firsthand that these
fixtures increased sales. Our customers were seeing double digit increases by taking
the same merchandise and placing it on a custom fixture. Many customers were even
seeing increases bigger than this. The best part was that these increases were not a
cannibalization of existing sales, but added to entire sales volume and bottom line.
As Retailers, you need to give customers a reason to come in to browse and
to shop. You need to engage the customer on an emotional level to captivate
them through your displays and merchandising approaches. If you have never
given thought to the floor fixtures before, now is the time to consider each piece
as an investment that will produce real returns.
Investing in your store environment has always been important. By considering
custom floor fixtures and racks, and being deliberate in creating fixtures that
continue the overall theme of your space, you are almost guaranteed to increase
your sales. This approach will increase the sales of individual items being
displayed as well.
The key is to develop a fixture plan, and then design each fixture that is on the
plan to enhance and enforce your brand. The plan forces you to consider traffic
patterns and how your customer shops and will be engaged. When considering
the design of each fixture, you need to consider how your merchandise needs to
be presented to your client. The fixture should be engaging and interactive if
possible and it should enforce and elevate the perceived value of the
merchandise. The design of your space and the fixtures should have continuity.
This means there should be continuity in the each fixture category: your fixtures
that will display hanging apparel will be the same, as will folded presentations
and gifts, etc.
All of the design aspects should tie into a main theme, and everything should
create an increased perceived value all together. Doing so will increase sales. In
an ever-changing world, it is also key to building flexibility so that each fixture has
a long life. An example of this would be a fixture that can be revamped in a few
years just by changing the finish on it. This gives you the ability to update the
look a feel of your space with minimal costs, and be a store that stays “in the
So go out and rethink your fixtures; get creative. For some of you, starting slow
may be the answer. Create your overall floor/fixture plan, and then every six
months add a new custom fixture to begin creating your new and exciting store.
If you are not the creative type, then hire someone that is. The initial investment
will be overwhelmingly worth the rewards and increased returns you will see!