Innovate Using Proven Techniques


Being a retail merchandising consultant for many years, I have come to realize that success comes to retailers who innovate while at the same time, apply the tried-and-true techniques to the new ideas they present.

“The Dictionary of Retailing and Merchandising” defines store atmospherics as “external factors from the environment that are designed to establish a specific mood, image to stimulate sales. This includes the store’s layout, architecture, colors and other sensory inputs.”

“Store atmospherics bring fun and excitement in the shop. More importantly, they make the job of selling and delivering exceptional service much easier.”

Your personal service delivery also contributes to your store’s atmosphere. With both combined, you have a winning formula.

1. Shop layout. Shop layout dictates how you would like your customers to shop your selling space. As an owner, you have the power to influence how shoppers walk your space as well as how much of that space is shopped. Do you want them to explore all areas of your store including the hidden nooks and crannies?

A racetrack layout offers easy entry and exit points; a grid layout albeit a bit unromantic provides for an easy shopping experience. Free flow allows customers to meander from one area of the store to another.

2. Fixtures. Once you have decided on your shop layout, your next consideration is the fixtures. What type of fixtures will you use to showcase your product, and where they will be located along your layout plan? Two vital keys to fixturing success is its modularity and how it supports or enhances your product displays. Modularity makes displaying any type of product possible, allowing for the best way to showcase your merchandise.

3. Product placement. The next step is product placement. Where will you place certain product categories? This also has a direct bearing on how you prefer your customers to shop the store.

Do you want sale items up front or at the back? Where do you want high margin goods? Product end-use type is also a factor. So are stories. You could group locational merchandise together or group them by color.

Effective atmospherics communicate your shop’s identity and use every opportunity to promote products through visuals such as focal displays and attractive presentations. They also engage customers’ hearing, touch, smell and taste.

Successful stores are easy to shop. They have a well-organized merchandise category layout that follows logical sequencing and adjacency plans.

One Comment on “Innovate Using Proven Techniques”

  1. Natalie,
    I love the thought of having a consultant but the cost seems out of my reach. I have a store at the beach that is only open for the summer months. I only grossed around 140K last year. So much money has to go back in for inventory. It’s about 800sq ft. I am a retired photographer in my 60s with little retail experience. My husband used to run the store until he died 2 years ago. I love the store. We try to keep it mostly made in America by artisans. I saw your virtual package that starts over 3 K. I’m not sure if there are any other options.

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