Archive for April, 2011

Royal Ascot launches shop display competition

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Royal Ascot racecourse, Enjoy Maidenhead and the Windsor and Eton Town Partnership have all joined forces to launch a local shop display competition.

According to Get Bracknell, the competition will see local traders be pitted against each other, working to prove their displays are “creative, relevant, eye-catching and innovative.”

The competition was launched as part of Royal Ascot’s 300th anniversary celebrations. It is thought that the shop displays will therefore have to reflect the key characteristics of the racecourse; namely “world-class racing, the social element of a day at the races, history, pageantry and, of course, high fashion.”

The head of marketing and sales at Royal Ascot, John Blake, spoke to Get Hampshire about the event. He claimed: “We are really looking forward to seeing the business community get behind the spirit of our tercentenary.”

“We would like to encourage everyone to be as imaginative as possible and embrace the essence of a day at the races in their displays.”

The lucky store who wins the competition is set to receive a lunch for four people on the house at the prestigious Sandringham Restaurant.

Furthermore, five runners-up will be the lucky recipients of a pair of Grandstand Admission tickets for the racecourse.

Ann Summers threatened with lawsuit over shop display

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Ann Summers have pulled all shop displays promoting their ‘Squeal Deal’ campaign following complaints that it has ripped off Marks & Spencer advertising.

The lingerie chain has angered M&S by using slogans such as ‘Your S&M’ and ‘It’s not just sex, it’s Ann Summers sex’ on their shop fittings.

Their posters and display units even used the exact same font as the M&S logo to promote its latest deals on underwear.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, a spokesman for M&S said that the department store was currently considering launching a lawsuit.

They said: ”Over the last 127 years, Marks & Spencer has built up a great reputation for quality and trust in the hearts and minds of the British public.

“When we believe these values are being infringed we do whatever we can to protect our brand and our customers.”

The Ann Summers ‘Squeal Deal’ offers consumers the chance to purchase a main item, ‘side’ and a ‘dessert’ for £29 which mimics the M&S £10 meal deal offer.

All references to the Squeal Deal have been removed from the Ann Summers website and will be pulled from all shop display stands imminently.

Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold was extremely apologetic in an interview with Marketing Week.

She said that she had nothing but respect for the retailer and sincerely hoped that no damage had been done to their reputation. 

Sweet shop owner wins national awards for shop displays

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A Tyneside sweet shop has won two national awards in 12 months for its innovative shop displays.

Swainston’s Sweet Shop in South Shields is proving that a good quality, innovative retail display is still a valuable tool for drawing in customers after being presented with two awards in under one year.

The family-run shop, which has been in operation for 117 years, was commended on its window display by chocolate manufacturer Cadbury for last year’s Easter display, which used maps and eggs in an imaginative pirate theme.

On news of the award spreading, people flocked to the shop from miles around to witness the display and buy Mr Swainston’s confectionery.

Speaking of the dedication he puts into creating the displays, shop owner Barry Swainston told, “It’s been a culmination of work over a long time and it’s wonderful to see we’ve come this far.”

This year, Mr Swainston has been awarded on his Easter display for a second year running, this time going for an “egg-mining” theme.

“It’s a bigger display than last year,” he told the South Shields Gazette,” and people coming into the shop seem to like it. Someone told me that we have a good eye for displaying our products, so we must be doing something right.”

After the two wins, 63 year old Mr Swainston has said he has no plans to retire any time soon. “Over the past year we’ve had a bit of a purple patch with the two competition wins. I think it has given us a new lease of life.”

Superdrug to include customer recommendations in store

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Superdrug is to include customer reviews within its shop displays as part of a new marketing campaign.

The retailer is hoping that by introducing reviews from bloggers who have used its product in store, customers will have more confidence in the product that they are buying.

Superdrug’s marketing director, Dan Jarvis, was confident that the alterations to shop fittings would increase the popularity of the brand throughout the UK.

Speaking to Marketing Week, he confirmed: “We’re working with more bloggers to review products and we’re starting to use those reviews in-store to add endorsement and recommendation.”

“We’re in our infancy of using it, but customers want to understand products more and they want recommendations.”

The marketing tactic is already utilised by other famous UK stores such as Waterstones and HMV, but is yet to be trialled by a health and beauty retailer.

It is thought that Superdrug’s new retail display is only one of many changes that it plans to introduce in a bid to rival Boots as the UK’s number one health and beauty store.

For instance, price promotions in shop windows are being ditched in favour of an open doorway with brighter and wider aisles. has also reported that ‘Gavin & Stacey’ actress, Joanna Page, is set to appear in a television advertising campaign promoting Superdrug’s new customer loyalty card, which launches in May.

Increase floor space for success, says expert

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Increasing the amount of floor space in a shop can bring “significant improvements” to a business, according to a visual merchandising expert.

Steve Whittle, who is marketing director for a leading shop fitter, said that utilising shop floor space was one of the biggest challenges for retailers but doing so successfully could make a big difference to a store.

Whittle said that there a range of available techniques to increase floor space without compromising shop displays.

Speaking to Click Press, he cited mounted clothes rails and mannequins as two key display units which could transform stores to a retailers’ advantage.

He said: “A wall-mounted clothes rail has two key advantages. As well as freeing up space on the shop floor, which improves visibility of the products and the general look and feel of the store, the retailer is now able to display more clothes than was possible before.”

“The temptation is to fill all the available space with shelving, but this can have a negative impact on customers’ shopping experience by restricting the room they have to move in and browse comfortably.”

Furthermore, a recent article on About my Area stated that retailers can make their store look larger by making sure it is well lit.

The feature also suggested that intelligent use of bespoke fittings and fixtures can help utilise the amount of space shop owners have to play with.

Retailers shouldn’t feel threatened by the internet

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Retailers shouldn’t feel threatened by online shopping, according to one industry expert.

Speaking to, sales executive Penny Winn claimed that the internet posed much less of a threat than previously thought by retailers.

She added that instead of viewing it as a potential competitor, retailers should remember: “You can’t stop it…it’s an opportunity.”

“You can buy the basics online but you won’t find out what’s new and exciting. What suits you and what it does for you – that’s the theatre of a department store.”

There are plenty of ways in which to attract more customers, Winn went on to say. Her advice was: “You’ve got to find ways to excite your customer, through visual merchandising or interaction between the individual and the customer.”

Furthermore, retailers had to ensure that their services was continually improved, she said. This is the best way to achieve continuous improvement, rather than competing with other retailers based on price alone.

The expert concluded by suggesting on that finding those niche services, that couldn’t be found online, was the best way forward. The best way in which to do this was to monitor the store itself, not sit in an office.

Winn even provided an idea for fellow retailers, claiming: “For example in cosmetics, more brow trimming – you can’t do that online.”

Shop displays can influence children

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Shop displays have the ability to influence children in both positive and negative ways, according to a recent survey.

Undertaken by the head of the Mothers’ Union, Reg Bailey, the survey found that of 1,025 parents of five-16-year-old children, some 40 per cent claimed their children had seen things they shouldn’t have in shop displays.

This may prompt shop owners to re-assess the efficacy and appropriateness of their shop displays; adhering to best practice regulations and advertising standards in order to attract the right audience.

It is thought that the survey revealed many parents felt their kids were growing up too quickly as a result of images they had seen in the public domain – be it in a shop window, on television or in advertising campaigns.

However retailers might argue that their advertising had moved with the times, taking into account the ever-changing likes/dislikes of children and teenagers. They may also be reticent to adapting their displays in light of the research, Bailey said, for fear of being called “prudish or out of touch,” he told BBC News.

Furthermore, they may consider it the responsibility of the parents to ensure their children aren’t subjected to any inappropriate advertising or images.

Made for Mums reported that most all of the parents who take part in the survey agreed that whilst it was their responsibility, the government could do more to support their endeavours. As a result of these findings, it is thought regulations regarding “age-appropriate marketing might be considered by the relevant authorities.

Glass cabinets are great tool to increase sales

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Retailers investing in glass display cabinets can massively improve sales, according to new research.

The study carried out by a leading shop display supplier made the conclusion by monitoring the sales levels of high-value product sellers who had recently added glass cabinets to their shop displays.

Results showed that around 80 per cent of retailers experienced increased profit margins of up to 25 per cent when compared to their old display units.

Steve Whittle, who was part of the team that conducted the poll, suggested that displaying items in glass cabinets attaches more value to them in the eyes of a customer.

Speaking to, he said: “Glass display cabinets not only display and protect the goods inside, but they can enhance the product’s appearance and increase its perceived value for consumers – a belief which is backed up by the results of our survey.

“Although the retailers we questioned did not actually increase their prices, the higher perceived value of the goods makes customers believe they are getting better value for money, which in turn led to a rise in sales.” states that glass cabinets are a perfect choice for storing any fragile or valuable stock.

The website suggested that the use of spotlights within the cabinet can further increase the perceived value of the stored items.      


Jack Wills’ advertising comes under fire

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

A luxury clothes retailer has been warned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to withdraw its current promotional material.

Jack Wills’ Spring catalogue and shop displays were condemned by the ASA for being “overtly sexual”, claiming that the material was unsuitable for the market it was aimed at.

Despite the Devon-based company claiming that it is aimed at University students and those over 18, the ASA held up the nineteen complaints it received and ordered the brand to withdraw its advertising until the material within it is changed.

It is the second time the brand has found itself in hot water with the ASA, after complaints two years ago in a similar vein. Then, the images were cleared as being not provocative enough to present a risk.

This time, however, despite the brand’s logo describing them as “university outfitters” and a company that promotes “a positive, fun and sometimes flirtatious” reflection of student life, the ASA has claimed that the images went beyond the parameters of fun and flirtation.

An ASA spokesperson told Sky News why it chose to take action, saying, “Because we considered (one of the images) in particular to be overtly sexual in nature, we concluded that the catalogue was sufficiently provocative as to present a risk to younger teenagers.”

The spokesperson went on to tell The Drum which image had caused concern. “The side of the woman’s breast was visible and her left leg was wrapped around the man who was holding it. We considered that those images would be appealing to younger teenagers, because they portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire.”

Shoppers can learn how to knit the Royal couple

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Amid reports that shops across the nation have embraced the festivities associated with the Royal wedding, one shop has gone a step further – teaching consumers how to knit the Royal couple.

According to The Real Timer, despite customers having to budget more carefully in a tight economy, they will still be inclined to splash out on memorabilia for the big day – including the ‘Knit your own Royal Wedding’ kit offered by one Nottingham shop.

Furthermore, it is thought some £527 million will be spent by Brits in total on celebrations surrounding the upcoming nuptials, which will take place on April 29th. Prince William and Kate Middleton will have a lot to live up to though, as the famed wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana made around £2 billion.

This may prompt more retailers throughout the UK to up their game in terms of their shop displays; making them as enticing as possible for lovers of the Monarchy.

However the Royal couple could have made more for the British economy if they’d have waited until June, according to one researcher. Professor Joshua Bamfield claimed that the improved weather often seen nearer summer may have increased spending.

He told This is Nottingham: “A warmish dry day will encourage people to celebrate, to cook outside and to eat out.”

“Celebratory food and drink is the second-largest retail element of the Royal wedding, whether prompted by loyal feelings or simply the desire to party.”

Despite this less-than-sunny outlook, it is thought the actual weather forecast for April will be for bright spells and a temperature of 13-15 degrees.