Archive for May, 2011

Interactive film posters revealed

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Mobile phone owners in London can interact with a film poster for a Hollywood blockbuster just by touching it, EDP24 reports.

The visual merchandising campaign for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men First Class is powered by mobile phones equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) readers.

NFC allows wireless communication over short distances, and in the case of the X-Men poster, NFC-users will be directed to an exclusive trailer and Facebook page for the film via their 3G internet connection.

The interactive posters in Tottenham Court Road and Holburn are acting as a promotional demonstration for both the film and media agencies who may be interested in investing in NFC.

This is one of the first times the technology has been used in the point of sale displays market. The advertising community widely believes that NFC could drive the future of interactive sales and marketing.

Neil Garner, founder and chief executive of the Norwich firm supplying the technology said it was “rewarding” to see NFC’s first public “coming of age”.

He said: “NFC offers advertisers greater opportunities to build ‘hyper-local’ promotional campaigns using media-rich, high-quality content that can only enhance their relationships with their customers.”

Just a handful of models are currently NFC-enabled, such as the Nokia C7 and Google Nexus S, but it is the scale of NFC that is getting marketers talking.

James Davies, director of communications agency Posterscope told Media Week: “There are 130,000 commercially available poster sites in the UK that can be instantly enabled. For the client the cost of each NFC chip is extremely low and the consumer receives instant fulfilment.”

Debenhams spices up its display

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Debenhams spiced up its shop display recently by conducting live bra fittings on models.

According to The Guardian, the high street chain undertook the event to highlight the importance of women wearing the right size bra.

Its inspiration was a recent survey that found 85 per cent of British women wear the wrong size, and that many women “simply don’t know” what they’re doing when it comes to getting the right size.

It’s an unusual take on the typical visual merchandising techniques, and isn’t the “most striking or sophisticated way to dress a window” according to Marketing Week.

However the publication did admit that the display was “disruptive” and would “stop shoppers in their tracks and bring them into the lingerie department.”

Debenhams released a statement to confirm the intention behind the recent eye-catching stunt, claiming: “Despite our stores carrying out over one million bra fits a year, the majority of women would rather spare their own blushes than go and get measured for a bra that does the job.”

“To dispel the myths around bra fitting, we’re moving some of our bra fittings into an area where everyone can see what is going on - our store windows. The aim of the exercise is to show that there really isn’t anything to be embarrassed about.”

Dramatic changes for famous bakery

Friday, May 20th, 2011

A famous bakery in Cambridge is set to make dramatic changes to its shop displays when it reopens later this year.

Local residents were distraught when Fitzbillies was forced to close a few months ago, but regeneration plans by new owners Tim Hayward and Alison Wright stated that the store will reopen by late summer.

The husband and wife team have announced they will be transforming the location into an eat-in destination, with plans citing the installation of casual seating, a state-of-the-art coffee machine and Wi-Fi access.

The couple will also install new period shop fittings as part of the £100,000 refurbishment.

Speaking to, Hayward promised to try and make the improvements without losing the charm that had drawn residents to the shop for over 90 years.

He said: “The opportunity to rebuild a Great British brand like this only comes up once in a lifetime. I try, as a rule, to avoid the word ‘iconic,’ but it’s impossible in the case of Fitzbillies.”

Fitzbillies opened in the 1920s and is famed amongst local residents for its Chelsea Buns recipe, which has been passed down from owner to owner. reported that the couple is yet to receive the recipe from the previous owners but were determined to continue the legacy.

Try on a £100,000 tiara, courtesy of Vogue

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Vogue are offering wannabe princesses the chance to try on a £100,000 diamond tiara via a 3D augmented reality experience, AV Interactive reports.

The fashion giant teamed up with a visual merchandising company to deliver the once in a lifetime experience – “try on a tiara” – at London’s oldest jewellers, Garrand’s in Albermarle Street.

When customers face the magic mirror in the shop window, they will see themselves adorned with sparkling diamonds and spinels as the tiara is brought to life with advanced computer modelling and real-time light reflecting technology.

Garrard’s creative director, Stephen Webster said that they “chose a tiara as not many jewellers have one and the tiara is something synonymous with Garrard due to the company creating tiaras and crowns for royalty and society over its 275 year history.”

The interactive display is just one part of Vogue’s Street Lights project. Throughout Bond Street, the shop displays of high-end fashion retailers and jewellery makers have been taken over by local design students from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins.

London Mayor Boris Johnson spoke to Professional Jeweller about the 3D technology and the Street Lights project in general. He said: “This will literally be a dazzling showcase of fantastic young talent and offer a new perspective on a world famous shopping street.”

Range of Shopfitting Products

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Shopfitting products from discountdisplays-express have just been enhanced to offer a true one stop service to visual merchandisers involved in shop fitting and store promotion. The range of shopfitting products is continually being expanded with new products being sourced from shopfitting product suppliers in the UK, Europe and further afield in the far east. The team at DiscountDisplays Express test dozens of new products each month and only select those that have been tried and tested an offer their customers the very best value for money.

The latest shopfitting and promotions innovation has been a huge range of exclusively designed sale posters and retail posters, banners, show cards and other promotional signage items. Currently ont he market you have two options -  pay a designer which costs in terms of time and money or select a drab two colour mass produced sale graphic. DiscountDisplays Express professionally pre designed posters and banners solve this problem by delivering eye catching full colour designs at low prices, which are delivered fast. Another neat idea that makes life easy are the retail sales poster kits. These kits include posters, banners, price cards, shelf markers and are available in a number of designs for immediate dispatch.

Flurry of orders for Kate Middleton mannequins

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Many retailers are looking to capitalise on Britain’s continued Royal Wedding fever by ordering mannequins which look Kate Middleton.

Following recent reports from Metro which suggested that one in five Brits have purchased royal wedding merchandise, it appears that retailers are now hoping to cash in on the continued hype surrounding the occasion.

It may have been a couple of weeks since Kate and Prince William were married in front of millions of viewers, but it has emerged that shop fittings companies are still receiving plenty of requests for Middleton merchandise.

Steve Whittle, who is the marketing director of an independent shop-fitting firm, claimed that the requests were amongst the most unusual he has ever received.

Speaking to, he suggested that although the hype around Kate is still huge, retailers might be better off opting for more traditional mannequins, as they offer more versatility than specially designed ones.

He said: “Kate’s fashion choices have been on the front page of every style magazine and high street stores seem to be keen to step up their interest and keep her very much at the front of everyone’s minds.”

“Although the demand for Kate Middleton lookalike mannequins poses an interesting opportunity, feedback from our retail customers shows that opting for mannequins of a standard shape generates a better return on investment in the long run.”

Llandudno shop wins first prize for display

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

A shop in Llandudno, Wales, has been awarded the Hazel Mann Award for its innovative display.

Manor Fine Foods and Wares won the award – which is first prize in the local Llandudno Extravaganza Victorian Window competition – after only a few months of trading.

North Wales Weekly News confirmed the win, citing the owner of the store, Amanda Richards; who spoke of how grateful she was to be named ‘Best dressed shop’.

Richards confirmed: “We are very please to have won. We try to stock as much local produce as we can but we also have products from a range of other places.”

Furthermore, her husband, Mark, who runs the shop with her, said: “We are happy to have won, especially considering we are such a new shop.”

“We only opened at the end of October, this will be our first summer. This award is a good sign for us, I hope.”

The competition saw traders throughout the area dress their shop displays with a distinctly Victorian theme; with the hopes of winning the “prestigious” first prize awarded to the shop on Upper Mostyn Street.

It may be no surprise that Manor Fine Foods and Wares won first place, as it has been well-received by locals since opening. One even said on “What a pleasure it was to see a new independent shop opening.”

“It’s also great to see someone aiming for the higher end of the market.”

McDonalds add NFC to point of sale equipment

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Fast food giant, McDonalds, is set to introduce contact-less payment technology into all its restaurants by the end of the month, the company has announced.

Mark Fabes, McDonalds’ UK director for IT, said that the company will offer better customer service by allowing consumers to pay wirelessly via point of sale equipment

Fabes claimed that the technology, dubbed Near Field Communications (NFC), will be ”quicker” than a standard chip and pin transaction as it does not require the swiping of debit and credit cards. The move will also give the company scope to introduce various loyalty schemes that could include vouchering, according to Nearfield Communications World.

McDonalds did concede that the initial take-up of wireless payment technology (or Near Field Communications) will be slow, with Fabes claiming: ”The number of cards with contact-less capability among the customer base at the moment is low,” according to

“But we recognise that contact-less near-field communications capability will soon be in many customers’ hands. We believe that having this technology now will help drive people into our restaurants.”

Fabes added that McDonalds was the first fast food retailer to introduce free Wi-Fi into its restaurants in 2007; a move that the company considered a success.

Contact-less payments are becoming more popular, and it is widely expected that they will be able to be made via POS equipment on London’s transport network in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Growth of smartphones could lead to changes in shop display tactics

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The growth of smartphones could lead to radical changes in the future of shop fittings, according to industry experts.

Many leading figures in the retail sector have advised stores to embrace the growing use of smartphones in their visual merchandising and marketing campaigns.

This could involve advertising for special online deals or links to the company website becoming more prominent within shops. The suggestions after a recent poll by OgivilyOne surveyed those who bought smartphones almost immediately after their creation.  

It revealed that 64 per cent of this demographic have looked at a product in-store then ordered it via their phone whilst still in the retail environment.  

These stats could see more shop displays encouraging shoppers to buy goods from a company website as well as from inside the store. An article on Management Today suggested that this would be a much better tactic than fighting against the growth of online competitors.

The feature suggested that retailers should learn from the record industry, which initially tried to fight against the growth of online purchases before eventually being forced to succumb to its popularity.

According to U Talk Marketing, the OgivilyOne poll also revealed that 85 per cent of early smartphone users have used Google to find more information on a product whilst in store.

Additionally, two-thirds of respondents said they have asked retailers to match a price which they found from a competitor whilst surfing the mobile web.

Shop displays to help combat anti-social behaviour

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Traders across Coundown, Coventry, will put posters in their shop displays to advertise a scheme designed to combat anti-social behaviour in the community.

According to the Coventry Telegraph, the scheme has been created to help police deal with youths who cause trouble in and around the town centre with their anti-social activities.

As such, the traders will also display posters with the ‘Business Watch’ branding; hopefully provoking other traders to join the scheme, and making obvious that they themselves are part of it.

One local PCSO, Hilary Mason, spoke to the press regarding the situation. She argued: “Business Watch is a valuable tool in the fight against commercial crime and anti-social behaviour. We will call in regularly to ensure these shops…feel supported by us.”

“Each will display a poster in their window to advertise membership, and will also play their part in a ‘ring-around’ system, where each shop phones the next to pass on important information about suspected shoplifters.”

One local shop owner, Rajvinder Dhillion, has said the scheme has already had an impact. He told BBC News: “I feel this scheme gives a direct line to local officers and confidence that the situation will continue to improve.”

Dhillon added that: “The area seems to have quietened down a lot.”