Have Some Sense
Store design's not all about what you see
In the age of the Internet, where interactivity in retail
is reduced to JPEGs and kilohertz per second, thinking
about more than just visual elements in your store will help
you win the retail game. Ruth Mellergaard of GRID/3 International,
an interior design firm in New York City specializing in jewelry
stores, offered some suggestions on appealing to the five senses
at the Independent Jewelers Organization Buying Show & Conference
in July in Cincinnati, OH.
Minimalism creates simple, calming interior designs. Hand done
visuals such as murals and faux finishes add a personal touch.
Designers are using grays instead of blacks, pearls and off whites
instead of stark whites, blues and purples as neutral colors,
shades of flesh tone pink, and greens warmed with yellow.
"Inclusive colors" (golds, siennas, wood tones) appeal
less to demographics and more to lifestyles. Channeling natural
light by adding windows or skylights not only lights jewelry
and people more effectively, but also appeals to biorhythms,
making customers feel more refreshed and comfortable.
Try to eliminate as many unwanted sounds as possible (phones,
fax machines, bench steamers and polishers). Insulate walls,
install tile ceilings with high NRC ratings and use underpads
with carpeting. Buy high quality speakers for music. If
you use a TV and VCR for education, turn them off when not in
use; they'll drive your salespeople crazy!
Clean and polish every piece of jewelry and your display cases
so they don't feel greasy when customers touch them. Use soft
suede or leather counter pads and packaging with interesting
textures crinkly tissue paper, velvet pouches, silky ribbons.
"The experience of opening the gift is as important as what's
inside," says Mellergaard.
See if you can open up your air conditioning system to let in
fresh air from time to time so your store doesn't smell stale.
And make sure the bench jewelers' area is well ventilated.
Use trees and plants to improve the quality of the air. Many
people are allergic to flowers and perfume, so choose your aromatic
sources carefully: use roses, which are hypoallergenic, non perfumed
candles or an aromatherapy system such as Aromasys, Minneapolis,
MN, (612) 924 0336.
Giving customers something to drink or munch on allows them to
linger a bit longer in your store and causes them to associate
a pleasant taste with your environment. Offer coffee, espresso,
water, wine, Girl Scout cookies, suckers, mints or hot apple
cider during the December holidays.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.