Fabulous Floors Magazine is happy to have guest blogger Emil Mellow of EM Creative Services. Mellow is extremely talented and understands retail.
For the second year in a row, the vast majority of retailers (86 percent) believe there is a direct correlation between proper execution of merchandising directives and an increase in sales conversion rates. For Retail Winners, the rate is even higher: 94 percent recognize the link between merchandising execution and sales.
Who doesn’t want better sales? Here are some ideas to make the overall customer showroom experience exciting and inviting.
Steps to a Great Showroom.
- Make a great impression! The purpose of your showroom is to stimulate and motivate your customers to make a purchase. Don’t forget, your salespeople need to be motivated to show your merchandise.
They say ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression’ and it’s true. Get a third-party to evaluate your store from front to back. People notice your window displays.
I design showrooms everyday but it was impossible to redesign my own studio! I had to have someone with fresh eyes and not emotionally attached.
Does your exterior building have ‘curb appeal’? What about overall appearance? Check your signage, parking lot and planting. According to a FedEx survey, nearly 76% of consumers, (8 in 10) said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs.
Your entrance way – is it fresh – is your flooring clean and new? Is there a sign greeting your customers? Fresh flowers? For instance, enter a Safeway grocery store in the chain’s upscale Marketplace format, and your eye is drawn to the floral department on the right.
Make your retail store first class – you want to create a special shopping experience and a clean well-lit showroom is a good start.
- Choices not ‘Chaos’
I would say 80% of showrooms that I evaluate are overcrowded with merchandising displays and samples. I hear the excuses…’I’ve got to keep that one I’ve known them for ages’. That is not a good business reason to have their display. Research now shows that there can be too much choice; when there is, consumers are less likely to buy anything at all, and if they do buy, they are less satisfied with their selection. HBR
If your strategy is to showcase the best products to help your customer, then you need to make the tough strategic decision on what products are the best and only showcase them. Don’t duplicate! It will only confuse your customer. They are there for your expert guidance or they would be shopping in the big box!
Get rid of deadwood (Displays that haven’t performed or are duplicates).
With fewer displays that have your preferred choices you’ll have more room for wider aisles and a better shopping experience.
Finally clean your show room like it’s your formal dining room – get rid of the clutter!
Want better sales? How easy is it for salespeople to find the right products? How many times have you been in a store and the salesperson says, “I know the perfect product for you—it used to be right here!” Every time this happens the salesperson loses status with the customer and appears to be not on top of their game. Cleaning up and organizing your showroom is the critical link to getting things sold.
- Let your store shine!
Proper lighting is a must. Well balanced lighting is critical to see color and texture. Ask your retailers to only use low volt LED daylight balanced fixtures for your displays. A recent study from Lux suggests that in-store lighting can actually help guide customers through your store, and increase the average spend per customer: “Zumtobel claims a fashion retailer in Germany saw its sales go up by around 12% compared to another local store, after it installed a new lighting scheme specially designed to appeal to the personality profile of its target customers.”
- Don’t forget the ‘fanny’ room.
Wide aisles and sight lines – the best showrooms have both. Tall displays in the center of your showroom create a visual barrier and a shopping ‘maze’. Take an example from your retail friends in attire. They have low racks in the center and line the walls with the taller displays…they do this for a reason! Women shoppers like to feel comfortable not claustrophobic.
- The Disney Way
Hire, pay, train and retain friendly engaging sales people.
One successful retailer I interviewed told me he uses a personality test to determine if the store associate is the right type. This is critical because if they are ‘shy’ or don’t like to engage your customer everyone fails.
This is not rocket science. You have to get the right people on your floor to have a good pleasant customer experience and build repeat business.
It helps to have someone with flooring experience but not 100% critical. They can learn about flooring. In fact, the better flooring providers love to give PK (Product Knowledge) session right in your store. Take advantage of this free service.
I get it…it’s a daunting task to re-do a showroom but essential if you want to do more business.
It is also tough to lose business to the ‘bigger and better’ store down the street. So do the right thing…evaluate, plan and change. It’s for your survival and growth. Ask for professional help if you need it! The results will be new and repeat customers, happier sales people and more profits. Now that sounds like a project worth doing!
Emil Mellow is owner of EM Creative Services and has over 20 years of retail merchandising experience from design to implementation. Some of his design experience includes Armstrong Flooring, Karndean Designflooring, Disney Epcot, DuPont, Stainmaster® and Wawa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 302.690.2358.
Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine. She can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518.495.5380.
#EMCreativeservices #Emilmellow #showroomdesigns #Lisbethcalandrino