Having trouble setting up your retail store?

On the second day of the Shopper Marketing conference, a two-day event held at Grand Park City Hall, Whee Min Wang, general manager of group retail for SUTL Group, shared with the audience tips on how to optimise merchandise layouts to ensure profitability.

According to Wang, retail space is often the silent interaction between the brand and shoppers’ minds. It is a vital step in converting shoppers into buyers, especially when the retailer is faced with online competition. Today, increasing rentals often mean retailers need to generate even higher yield per square foot to maintain profit margins, explained Wang. This puts pressure on retailers to make the most out of their retail space.

Despite the cold war between online marketers and retailers, their strategy in luring consumers remains somewhat similar. In both cases, the marketer needs to remember he or she is telling a story to the customer.

Wang shares the three vital stages to setting up a retail store.

Stage 1: Captivate your shopper

This is where window displays matter. The display should be positioned in such a way it is able to cut through the clutter and make the customer stop and look.

“Window displays are the first touch-point for most shoppers. Use this to point out the difference in your products. Remind shoppers about what your brand is doing,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, in an earlier panel, Han Zantingh, managing director of Asia at BrainJuicer, also stated a similar point.

Window shopping allows marketers to create a visual idea for their consumers.

“Showing a product in use makes consumers imagine what it might be like for them to try it on or use it. This is part of behavioural economics,” Zantingh said.

(<strong>Read: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Using behavioral economics in promotions</a></strong>)

Stage 2: Engage and lure in your consumers

After you give your target consumer a glimpse of the story in the window, they will naturally enter to find out more about the brand’s story.

“The presentation of your store needs to be related to the story you promised the shopper at the window. Have some props or peripheral items to evoke emotions or even nostalgia,” Wang said.

Also, key styles and products for the season should be presented to amplify the brand’s overarching message. All these should finally result in piquing the customer’s interest strongly enough to proceed to the next stage.

Meanwhile, placement of products in the store is also vital. At times, placing products, which are related to each other, make for an increase in sales. While there are no hard and fast rules where to place the product, Wang suggests asking these questions:

What are shoppers looking for? Just a product or an identity?

What do shoppers associate the brand with?

What does the retailer want shoppers to remember the brand for? Specific products or a certain experience?

Stage 3: Create the connect

When you have engaged with your consumer, you can finally connect with them. This is where having trained and valued staff comes in. Your staff need to be able to give ready information to the consumers. Human interaction is still a key value in the retail experience and is the fundamental difference between shopping online and off.

“The in-store staff should be able to magnify the brand story and they are crucial in filling in the gaps,” Wang said.

Shopper Marketing 2014 is a two-day event held on 25 and 26 June in Singapore at the Grand Park City Hall.

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