Sunday, November 10, 2013

Guide Shoppers on Store Tours

A Mobile Marketer post this week recommended organizing store merchandise into theme areas. That advice is consistent with the current approach to retailing as entertainment. Moreover, themes are a classic tactic in store design. Researchers at Saint Joseph’s University found the following four themes to have been especially successful over the years:
  • Foreign country. Restaurants are the most ready examples. Those featuring Mexican food look different from those serving Italian food, and when executed at the best, even different from restaurants serving Tex-Mex. 
  • Nature. Scheels and Bass Pro Shops showcase animals and landscapes. 
  • Cyberspace. The Apple Stores show off information and communications technologies. 
  • Spirituality. Spas and alternative healing centers incorporate abstract themes. 
     Under the leadership of Marvin S. Traub as chairman and chief executive officer, Bloomingdale’s mounted a series of themed promotional events which attracted both footsteps and publicity.
     Here are what, from a consumer psychology perspective, I see as important factors:
  • Care about the showmanship. Mr. Traub’s “Come to China” event included an entire Cantonese farmhouse at the flagship Manhattan store and rare Chinese decorative items at fourteen other Bloomingdale’s. Mr. Traub was indeed a retailing showman. His New York Times obituary says that when he began his career at Bloomindale’s in the 1950s, he’d pump up business by pretending to be a customer thrilled about the store merchandise. 
  • Care about the people. Have your staff dress to fit. Invite appropriate guests. At an event commemorating America’s Bicentennial year, Mr. Traub escorted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip through a display of Wedgwood china and reproductions of English antique furniture. 
  • Care about the souvenirs. Have themed items shoppers can take with them to serve as reminders of the event and of your store. Bloomingdale’s became known for designer shopping bags. One by artist Jonah Kinigstein was based on French tarot cards in red, black, and white. 
     The Mobile Marketer piece goes on to suggest that, to make the most of the themed areas, salespeople should play the role of tour guides.
     I like that metaphor: A good tour guide never answers a “Where do I find…?” question by pointing. Instead the tour guide walks the client to the place. A good tour guide realizes that even though she’s heard the same question many times before from a guest, for the guest, this may be the first time asking this question, so it deserves an enthusiastic, not labored, answer.

Click below for more: 
Theme Like You Care 
Analyze Your Visual Merchandising Design

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