Archive for February, 2011

Expert stresses the importance of shop displays

Monday, February 28th, 2011

An advertising expert has urged businesses to think carefully about their shop displays in order to stand out amongst an increasingly competitive crowd.

An expert writing for In the News has suggested that: “The first thing you need to do is encourage customers to come in off the street, but remember your audience.”

In such frugal times, the importance of catching people’s attention was stressed, as once someone is already inside their shop, it is easier to “place a free-standing display unit near the entrance of your store to show off some of your goods and encourage more impulse buys.”

When choosing what displays to opt for, the expert said that knowing your spacial limitations is key to avoiding any mistakes when buying store displays, suggesting that: “Space is likely to be something you need to consider.

“You should measure your store carefully to make sure you only order display stands that are appropriate for the room available. You don’t want to make your shop too cramped, but you do need to have displays in store and well as in the window to help encourage customers to buy.”

The report comes at a time when shops on the high street are closing at an alarming rate, further encouraging the belief that shop owners need to offer clear and enticing displays or face the fate that has befallen many other shops before.

High street retailers must embrace the internet to survive

Friday, February 25th, 2011

With online shopping gaining more and more of the retail sales market, industry experts believe a combination of on and offline technology is key for the high street’s survival.

Recent media coverage of new retail technology has provoked a surge in demand for in-store interactive displays and digital shop signs, one expert has said.

Steve Whittle, an experience marketing director, told PR Fire how some television shows had sparked an increased in demand: ”There has been a lot of press recently regarding how high street stores can compete with online shops.”

“And a recent episode of Channel 4′s ‘Mary Portas: Secret Shopper’ proves this point, as it has inspired many of our customers to make requests for electronic displays.” 

He, like many other experts, believed that in order to drive business forward and be successful in the modern retail world, high street shops should make use of online technology.

Recent technological innovations have uncovered myriad options for retailers; such as one device that combined a video camera with social media, allowing customers not just to see what they look like in an outfit but also to relay images to friends for a second, third or fourth opinion.  

Whittle concluded by saying that retailers operating on the high street had to embrace the online world, “and not see it purely as a competitor for business.”

“[They] can play a big part in the buying process, even if the sale is eventually made online.”

Shops in Basildon need to work together

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Shops in Basildon must “support each other” in order to revive their dying town centre.

That’s according to one local business owner, Nadar Boulila, who spoke in response to the news that one in five shops within Basildon, Essex, were lying empty.

“Pockets of the town centre were like a ghost town before I opened my dance school in an empty building three months ago,” Boulila said.

“I think surrounding traders have been grateful for the passing trade my pupils have brought in. We need to raise awareness that Basildon is a great town and get all the shops to support each other.”

The chairman of the south Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) branch, David Barnes, agreed with Boulila, voicing his opinion in The Essex Echo.

“What is needed is a radical approach,” he said. “We need to make sure the retail offered in Basildon is the right one for the area, so shoppers find it attractive.”

Local shop owners could consider investing in more innovative visual merchandising, in a bid to work together to attract more shoppers into the town centre.

By working together, shop owners could help their fellow ”retailers thrive, and want to be a part of the Basildon shopping experience,” according to Barnes.

The Basildon Recorder reported that the area had the third-highest volume of vacant shops across the east of England.

Other marketing activities can complement shop displays

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Shop displays are commonly used as a marketing tool by many retailers, as they are typically thought to be the best way to lure consumers into stores.

However an expert writing for In the News has suggested other marketing methods that can be used to complement visual merchandising in stores.

Firstly, being creative in the external promotional efforts used is important. “The techniques you will use will largely be determined by the kind of service you provide,” the specialist said.

Chalkboards can be an excellent way to lure in consumers, they added, and they are flexible – meaning for those stores whose stock changes frequently, the board can be updated to include this week’s latest fashion.

Business cards and leaflets are another excellent marketing tool to employ; as they can help consumers remember the store for next time, and can keep the contact details in their wallet or purse.

“And of course, you should not underestimate the power of promotional flyers advertising a special sale, a VIP discount or seasonal opening hours,” the expert added. “If done well and distributed to a targeted audience, these could be the key to attracting new customers.”

However these suggestions should not replace the effort put into internal promotions, In the News added.

Well-planned displays can be key in boosting sales; particularly signs displaying clearly where any sales items are kept, and detailing how much customers could save – such as ’50 per cent off’ signs.

Wine merchant defends new sign

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

A wine merchant in Shipston has been forced to defend his shop sign after it was attacked for being “tasteless.”

Charlie Bennett bought what was the Edward Sheldon Wine Merchants back in 2009. However, as many people in Shipston were unaware that it was a retail outlet, he decided to change the shop sign in an effort to attract more customers.

The sign has been heavily criticised by former Shipston resident Duncan Smith, whose late grandfather Bert Smith was manager of Edward Sheldon for 20 years. He said the new shop signs showed an “utter disregard for the beautiful buildings to which they have been attached,” the Cotswold Journal reports.

Mr Smith added: “I personally believe the decision to simply call the premises ‘Sheldon’s lacks an appreciation for the company’s rich and much respected heritage. Indeed, the new looks seems to have more in common with a Bargain Booze outlet than Edward Sheldon, the high quality traditional wine merchants.”

But Mr Bennett hit back stating that when he bought the business it was in terminal decline.

“Had Bennetts not stepped in, the premises would almost certainly now be an empty boarded up building awaiting a very uncertain future. We, like all other traders, need to make sound marketing decisions to keep afloat. These decisions may not always please everyone but who, in all honesty, would prefer an empty building in the centre of town waiting to be grabbed by a developer?” he said.

Shipston mayor Simon Welch said the town council had not discussed the issue and that personally, he had no problem with the sign. He said: “I do not find it either offensive on the eye or inappropriate. If it informs and encourages people to realise that this well-established wine merchant is open for retail sales – so much the better.”

Sanyo’s light to go out in Piccadilly

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Sanyo’s Piccadilly Circus retail display advertisement is up for sale as the electronics company decided not to renew its multi-million pound lease after thirty years.

The 1,250 square foot advert is the only neon-lit sign still forming part of the iconic display, with the others, including McDonalds and Coca Cola having upgraded to LED in recent years.

The change to the display is the first since 1994, when Samsung took over from Panasonic.

Land Securities has owned the Piccadilly Lights since the 1970s and are also the company behind the Trinity Leeds development, one of only two shopping centres opening in the UK in 2013.

Asset Manager for the London Portfolio of Land Securities Tim Allibone told Marketing Magazine, “This really is a very rare opportunity for a brand to become part of the London Landscape. Whoever is fortunate enough to secure the available space will benefit from a huge influx of tourists anticipated to come to London in the next couple of years in addition to the usual 56 million pedestrians and passengers which pass by every year.”

Richard Akers, Managing Director for Retail at Land Securities said on that the new developments for the company supports the view “that there is demand from retailers for the right property in the right location.”

Office Depot opens shop-in-shops with Dixons

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Office supplies company Office Depot are testing shop-in-shops in Dixons Retail’s stores.

This is the first time the American giant has taken store space in the UK and follows a similar model adopted by Phones 4U. The mobile phone retailer is building a strong chain of 50 shop-in-shops in Currys and PC World, both owned by Dixons.

The first Office Depot shop-in-shop will be staffed by its own employees and opened on Tuesday in the PC World superstore in Croydon. Two more stores are to open this month, with a further two opening in March.

Office Depot sell home office products including chairs and desk top accessories. The product range is considered a good fit with Dixon’s own ranges which are aimed at small business consumers through its PC World business centres and will fit in with the stores overall retail display.

Rupert Campbell, Dixons Retail’s programme director told Retail-Week: “Office Depot’s expertise and strong product ranges will complement our offer.”

Office Depot UK and Ireland commercial director John O’Keefe added that he was “very excited” about the tie-up. “This is the first time we will be offering the Office Dept brand to retail consumers and is unlike anything we have done before,” he said.

O’Keefe explained that at present, opening standalone stores was not an aim of the company, “in part because the cost of entry and building scale are significant, so Dixons’ desire to introduce leading partner brands is a great opportunity.”

Shop displays particularly important for fashion retailers

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

The way shop displays are set up is particularly important for fashion retailers, as when clothes are displayed in an attractive manner, consumers might feel more inclined to buy something.

According to, there are a few basis retailers must stick to in order to make the most of their shop display stands and products. “When you start planning your retail display, you will want to consider a number of things. These include the amount of space you have to display your goods, the number of garments that you want to show off and the type of atmosphere you want to create.”

“You will want to ensure the clothes are displayed in an aesthetically-pleasing way. You will also wish to consider how hangers will be used in your store.”

Additionally, retail expert and merchandise manager, Katie Clark, spoke of the importance of creating a whole experience for shoppers: “It’s not just about the buying the shirts. It’s about buying the belts and the shoes to go with it.”

“How you can make someone look and feel in clothing is every bit as important as how they look on a shelf or hanger.”

One shopper that agreed with Clark, Julie Yates, told “You don’t want the shirts just handing on a rack. You want displays to pull it all together.”


Stores becoming more technologically advanced

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Visual merchandising across British stores is set to become digital, as shop owners seek to break down the barriers between the offline and online words, according to ReportLinker.

More and more retailers are turning to touch-screen facilities, contact-less payment services and innovative digital displays in a bid to attract the online generation. However even though popularity has increased, only one in five retailers have so far introduced interactive screens into their stores – but half confirmed they were looking to do so in 2011.

“Touch-screen technology has the potential to bring huge benefits to an organisation’s customer service,” said Nick Gale, the head of digital at the Point of Purchase Advertising Association (POPAI). “It can aid the shopper by acting as an interactive guide to a product or as a service finder in a department store.”

Many big name brands have already adopted the ever-changing technology, with Disney creating ‘concept stores’, designed to attract children with its technology that looks like magic, according to Marketing Week.

According to Johnathan Storey, Disney’s European head of marketing: “There is no doubt that technology will play an ever-growing part in our in-store strategy. Our vision is for the store experience to be the best 30 minutes of a child’s day.”

Additionally, clothes retailer New Look has introduced scrolling content screens into some of its stores, with head of brand marketing, Amy Thom, claiming: “The beauty of digital displays is that you can change the messages in real time.”

“They are also good for calling out extra messages that we would struggle to get the space for in store, such as inviting people to join our Facebook page. Every store is different so the content has to reflect that.”

Bravissimo to launch full womenswear range

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Lingerie retailer Bravissimo has announced plans to launch a new fascia, under which it will offer a full womenswear range.

The retailer is set to open two standalone retail stores in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, under its new brand Pepperberry. It will also open dual branded stores with the first Bravissimo/Pepperberry brand opening in Reading on February 14, with a further 13 Bravissimo stores to become dual branded during March.

Currently, Bravissimo specialises in lingerie, swimwear, nightwear and clothing for women with a larger bust size. However, from March the current clothing on offer will be dropped and Pepperberry will be launched in its place. Retail-Week reports that Pepperberry will launch nationwide on March 21.

Details of the spring 2011 collection have already been revealed. The collection will include 60 pieces which will include dresses, jackets, tops, trousers and skirts from size eight to 18. They will be three cuts, Curvy, Really Curvy and Super Curvy, all of which will be included in shop displays.

Product director Beverley Latchford-Brown said: “Pepperberry brings with it fantastic opportunities for women and women’s retailing. Producing clothes under the Bravissimo brand placed a number of limitations on the director of collections and meant that in some instances we weren’t able to grow the range as we would have liked.”

“The launch of Pepperberry means that we are able to place more emphasis on fashion and trends, whilst still focusing on solutions and a fantastic fit for women with bigger boobs. Women on the high streets, are quite rightly far more demanding of retailers these days. They expect quality, great service and a fantastic fit from their purchases, with Pepperberry we feel we can do this and continue to push boundaries on how clothing should fit all women.”