Fall Display ReSet: Play By Play

Ever heard of 'The Domino Effect'?
Hmmmn, sounds like a spy movie title, doesn't it?!

A former visual merchandising manager of mine used this term a lot
It refers to what happens when you undertake a retail display re-set: 
Start moving product from one area, and you have to find a place to put it. 
That means you have to change another area.....and so on, and so on, and so on. 
One thing moves, everything is affected - just like dominoes standing on end in rows. 

It can easily get completely out of control and come crashing down around you. 
A plan is essential. (Working at night after the shop is closed is helpful, too!)
When I was providing visual merchandising services to the Hogue Cellars retail shop,
I did a lot of seasonal re-sets of merchandise and fixtures.
Here's a play-by-play of one of the FALL re-sets - 
which will hopefully inspire you to make similar changes in your own stores.

Step 1: Walk in and survey the shop. Look at stock levels, placement, visual impact.
Step 2: Survey the storage area. Look at backstock quantities, types of merchandise, props, etc.
Step 3: Make a quick plan for where to start, what's new, what moves where, etc.


Of course, the shop was small, so it took no more than 15 minutes to make a plan....
at Columbia, where the retail floor space was more than five times larger, 
I'd spend at least two days drawing a floorplan and sketches of each display setup, 
plus a 'map' of the progression of displays to be changed - in order of attack. 
That helps to keep the mess to a minimum.

Step 4: Begin moving merchandise and re-styling displays.
There are several steps to THIS step, such as:
 
A. Empty one display area - merchandise on one set of fixtures - 
and place it on carts, or the counter, or the tasting bar.

B. Clean the fixtures!

C. Remove merchandise from a second display area - or unbox NEW merchandise - 
and CLEAN IT!

D. Place the second area/new merchandise into the first set of fixtures.

E.Style the display in a way that is DIFFERENT than it was styled before...
mix it up with new products and colors to make it look fresh and new again!

F. Clean the SECOND set of fixtures!

G. Repeat. Again and Again and Again. 

Note: ALWAYS clean the fixtures! ALWAYS clean the merchandise!
Here's how the summer-to-fall merchandise display progression worked at Hogue:
The back wall shelves looked like this ^
The main merchandise on them was grape motif items:
They moved across the shop to the window area, which previously looked like this:
After being loaded with the other merchandise and re-styled, it looked like this:
Close up
Can you see how the new display arrangement and the fixtures here 
make the merchandise look completely different?!
.
The merchandise from this display:
...was moved onto the shelf units where the grape merchandise had been:
The warm color here was a huge visual pull from the front doors...
much more so than the subtle palette of the grape motif merchandise that was here before.
It's a more contemporary pattern, and looks great in squared placements on these shelves.

The central display that previously looked like this
was stocked with brand new merchandise, to look like this:
A rearrangement of some of the fixtures 
allowed me to place the branched candleabra up high in the display, 
accentuating both the height and theme, because it looks rather 'tree-like'. 
This product was one of my favorites that season - 
it was fun to work with, and sold like wildfire in both wineries.

In the large oak cabinet to the left of that display was all of the glassware:
In the new display, the existing logo glass stayed 
(though in lesser quantities than before)
and large format bottles of wine were added, for contrast and scale.
Wine boxes were utilized as risers, and the graphic logos on them really punched up the display!

Clear glassware is BORING and needs color and contrast to make it stand out - 
and light to make it sparkle. 
The mirrored back of this cabinet reflects the light from the windows
so it's a perfect place for the glass to be shown off: 
Sales of glassware went up IMMEDIATELY!

The bank of shelves behind the register island held various food products:
Not much changed, because keeping the 'staples' consistent makes it easier to stock them
AND it ensures that customers coming in for specific food & wine accessories
can always find them easily.

A new Halloween product display was installed on the small counter 'feature area':
Corralling the Halloween-specific merchandise in one area 
made it easy to change that up on November 1st, so the shop looked fresh.

Behind the Scenes:
I can't even TELL you how much laughter was exchanged during the night of this reset,
as we discovered boxes upon boxes upon boxes 
of HUNDREDS of orange and black neoprene wine bags in the stock room!
 I guess maybe in Prosser, kids get candy when they trick-or-treat.....and adults get WINE! 
I could get into that!

Maybe a game of dominoes, too... ;) 
.content from this post originally appeared here on my design blog in 2009.

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK