Fall is in full force at Helen Olivia Flowers. To usher passersby into the next season — and into her store — owner Rachel Gang has merchandised the Alexandria, Virginia shop windows with autumnal designs, including a large wreath of gourds and berries and a cornucopia filled with yellow cymbidium and mokara orchids and pincushion proteas.
Gang spoke with Floral Management contributing writer Mackenzie Nichols. In the September issue’s “Snapshot” column, she offered some of her best strategies.
For instance, because she expects her window displays to lure in shoppers, Gang only shows merchandise that has backstock. This way, staff can easily access a duplicate wreath (or cornucopia) without having to dismantle and restock the display.
Additionally, she positions a chalkboard in the window, where she advertises upcoming in-store events — fun activities to pique people’s interest.
Click here to check out the column.
Need to revamp your shop’s layout for the upcoming holiday season? Here are 10 tips from visual merchandising experts, Becky Tyre, author of The Retail Details blog and a contributing editor of Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine, and Tim Huckabee, founder of FloralStrategies, a Floral Management columnist and regular speaker at Society of American Florists educational events.
- Avoid harsh lighting.
Soft white bulbs will create a friendlier, calmer environment. Swapping fluorescent lighting for incandescent options will invite customers to stick around and browse more merchandise.
- Make price point zones. Set up tables and place similarly priced items together. Include signage that indicates the price range. And while you’re at it, stack the lowest-priced items around the most expensive ones, which should be showcased in the middle of the table. This tactic will draw eyes to more premier products (dish gardens, luxury candles, embellished picture frames, etc.) you’d like to sell.
- Place a table in the path of incoming traffic. When customers first walk in the door, greet them with a table of your favorite ideas for Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas, etc. Half of your traffic will ultimately stop at this table and browse.
- Feature your highest-priced items on the right-hand side of the store. Research shows that 80 percent of customers turn right when they enter a store, Huckabee said.
- Make a statement with color. The purpose of color is attracting attention to particular areas and/or products. “Bright colors tend to stand out and draw customers near,” Tyre said, “but monochromatic displays can achieve the same result by creating visual interest.”
- Create themed displays. Grouping products with a common color, motif, scent or purpose (think: bath products, kitchen tools, bar ware, travel items) is easy on the eyes and leads to leisurely browsing. “Cross-merchandise with products from various categories to encourage add-on sales,” Tyre said.
- Take advantage of signage. “Words” are a big trend in visual merchandising. “Take advantage of it by using letters or signs to indicate categories, departments or seasons,” Tyre said. You can also use signage to provide social media cues, such as placing an Instagram icon and suggested hashtag next to your favorite displays.
- Give old furniture a new purpose. Hutches and wardrobes find new purpose as “displays that clearly identify a product genre,” Tyre said. Consider filling them with small gifts, such as stationary, lotions, jewelry or terrariums.
- Set the table completely. Keep in mind that people tend to walk all the way around tables, “so attention should be paid to merchandising from all angles,” Tyre said.
- Play with dress forms. Got mannequins? Doll them up with a too-cool-to-resist accessory, like a floral necklace. “Dress forms are ideal for cross-merchandising,” Tyre said.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing writer for the Society of American Florists