Summer’s Here! Creating Lifestyle Stories to Sell

For a change, this week I would like to share with you an article I wrote for Seaside Retailer I thought you may find relevant. As many of you are souvenir shop or gift shop owners, here are examples of retail story telling that will resonate with your customers and hopefully drive sales.

Here’s the link to the article or simply read on:

Planning a display that excites your customers into buying? Bring lifestyle stories to life by taking your customers on a journey. From sea caves, to tidepools and beachcombing delights of the West Coast to the nostalgic and historically nautical beaches of the East, displays can bring daydreams to life. If you can capture the soul of your store’s special location, you’ll lure customers to merchandise that gives them a sentimental feeling.

Stories bring people closer to products. They bring life to an otherwise ordinary item. Stories make up people’s memories — of a loved one, a visit to a place or a unique experience. Products displayed as part of stories invite shoppers to touch and view the products for closer inspection.

Enhancing people’s perception of product values is a vital role of storytelling themes. It elevates a functional item into a memento that brings about a precious memory. A fridge magnet holds daily reminders up on a metal surface. But a fridge magnet that depicts a lighthouse is a reminder of a wonderful vacation. And people are willing to pay more for it. That plain fridge magnet might go for $2, but add a symbol of a beach trip, you’ll easily fetch $5 or more. It all goes back to the power of storytelling.

Enhancing people’s perception of product values is a vital role of storytelling themes.

Stories are made up of products that depict the story theme. It can include gourmet food products, confectionery, baked goods, toys (plush or otherwise), clothing, fashion accessories, footwear, kitchen accessories, dinnerware, glassware, home fashions, vases, stationery, bedding or bath accessories. The list is endless as long as the colors and print or design conform to the story theme.

Here are some ideas you may develop for your own display story. I am sure you can add more to these.

  • Tidepools: Anemones, sea stars, sea urchins, baby octopuses, sea cucumbers, shells, snails, seaweed, small fish and crustaceans.
  • Beach finds: Sea glass, shells, colored stones, driftwood, starfish, sand dollars and shark teeth.
  • Historic memories: Landmark icons, vintage posters and postcards, antiques or items that have been treated with an aged finish and old maps.
  • Rustic pleasures: Items with raw wood finish, shabby but chic products, live edge wood pieces, vintage boat paddles, old kettles and other kitchen wares, dried preserved fruits and floral bouquets.

If you do not have enough products to create your story, you can use neutral items such as glass vases filled with colored water to blend in with your theme. These can also be filled with flowers, feathers and fabric pieces within the same color family. Wicker baskets, cork and wood products and items fabricated in metal can also be included.

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