Tips for Top-Notch Displays

August 1998


Tips for Top-Notch Displays

In Joseph Weishar's world, there's no crummy merchandise, just crummy ways of showing it

Bread-and-butter merchandise doesn't need to look boring, says store planning and display expert Joseph Weishar, owner and founder of New Visions Studio, New York City. At a speech during the recent GlobalShop, a trade show for the retail display and store fixturing industries, Weishar gave some pointers:

  • Glamorize your basics. Creative arrangements can give staples such as bangle bracelets a whole new appeal. Weishar showed a photo of an appealing display of pyramid-stacked bangles against a faux gold-brick backdrop from a Turkish jeweler. "There's no dumb merchandise; only dumb presentation," Weishar says.
  • High-maintenance displays can enhance your image. Nordstrom creates intricate patterns using stacks of shirts laid out on tables which require constant attention – one out-of-place shirt ruins the effect. Because the displays are nearly always perfect, customers get a subliminal message about Nordstrom's attention to minute details.
  • Observe the law of interrupted patterns. Customers' eyes will be drawn to the object in a series that is different from the others. Weishar's example: an apparel store hung a horizontal row of straight ties, with one bow tie, above several vertical shelves of shirts. The bow tie grabbed attention and to spur sales of the other shirts, the store simply moved the bow tie to another row of shelves.
  • People are anatomically programmed to move to the right as they come through the door. They first scan the store from left to right, then walk to the right (80% to 90% of the time), usually at an angle of about 45°.
  • Keep your advertised items in view. Customers won't buy anything else until they've found what they came for.
  • Space equals quality. Products crammed into a showcase are perceived to be of lesser quality than the same items arranged with space around them.
  • Be wary of display bloopers. Weishar showed photos of what can happen if you aren't: a gloved hand adorned with a ring was stuffed so badly that it looked gnarled and arthritic; a slip guaranteed not to cling didn't – even to the bosom of the mannequin wearing it; another mannequin held in its upraised hand a "sale" sign, with a finger extended toward the viewer in a gesture not conducive to good customer relations.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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