The holiday season (i.e. the busiest shopping stretch of the year) is an apt time to clear out all the backstock you’ve accumulated over the past few months, allowing you to start 2019 with a clean slate. But the clock is ticking! Here’s a roundup of best practices for visual merchandising to make a statement, catch consumers’ eyes and encourage sales.
Hire some extra hands. Colleges around the country are wrapping up their fall semesters, with high schools close on their heels. Do like Rachel Gang of Helen Olivia Flowers in Alexandria, Virginia, and take advantage of this potential pool of temporary workers. Understanding the importance of window displays and that changing them up has impact, Gang hires students to help dismantle and rearrange vignettes. This takes the pressure off her full-time staff so they can attend to customers.
Highlight what you want to sell. Have a snowman statue or a vase in the shape of Santa’s sleigh you really want to move? Place that item prominently in the center of a display and surround it with duplicates of other merchandise. The customer’s eye will go straight to the focal item, interpreting it as special and rare, explains Bob Phibbs, a consultant known as “the retail doctor” who’s worked with scores of companies including Omega, Vera Bradley and Calphalon.
Merchandise for different demographics. The bargain hunter. The “finer things” consumer. The funny guy. Florists see all kinds of customers, and it’s wise to merchandise for different “types” of people, said Phibbs. Set up tables by price point and by personality type. Inexpensive ornaments surrounding a big bargain item will cater to customers on a budget. A table filled with high-end merchandise will inspire visitors with eyes for decadence. Likewise, a vignette of humorous and quirky gifts will entice shoppers looking for light-hearted stocking stuffers or, say, a white elephant gift.
Place expensive items on the right. Research has proven that 80 percent of customers veer to the right when they enter a store. Sales expert and Floral Management columnist Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies recommends staging expensive merchandise on the right-hand side of your business.
Use warm lighting. The longer a customer lingers, the more likely he or she is to buy. A quick way to make your store more ambient and inviting? Switch out your lightbulbs. Make sure your overhead lights are fueled with soft white bulbs, and if you have any votives or small candelabras, investing in electric tea lights will add a Christmas-y feel to your holiday displays.
Mackenzie Nichols is a contributing writer of the Society of American Florists.