What do this year’s ARTS Awards lighting showroom winners have in common? They each feature decorative accessories in their merchandising and cross-selling efforts. Decorative accessories add dollars to the sales ticket and play a key role in helping shoppers to better visualize lighting in a residential setting. Here are a few tips and suggestions from this year’s ARTS Awards winners.
‘This Is Not a Museum’
“My showroom is set up in lifestyle vignettes,” says Brandy Levy-Dodt, owner of 2009 ARTS Awards winner Legacy Lighting & Home in Scottsdale, AZ. “I’m not the mom-and-pop lighting store of old. I’ve always marketed myself as a boutique.”
If Levy-Dodt had her way, she’d sell it all — complete lighting packages along with accent furniture and home accessories. Everything on display is available. A typical Legacy Lighting vignette — a formal dining room, for example — features a dining room table merchandised with candelabras, mirrors, a crystal chandelier, an étagère and various tchotchkes.
At times, customers ask for a discount on what they think are open-box models placed on the floor merely for display.
“I always say, ‘this is not a display piece.’ I buy these things to go out the door. This is not a museum,” Levy-Dodt says. “That is the difference between my kind of showroom and those that, during the building boom, chased the production dollar. I never did that.”
Levy-Dodt says successful accessories cross-merchandising lies in appealing to women shoppers. That is, her decorative accessories tend to have
a feminine touch.
“We do a lot with crystal, European designs and ongepatsht,” Levy-Dodt says. That’s Yiddish for overdone. The 5,705-square-foot showroom even has a refreshment table, featuring cookies, candies and fresh pink lemonade.
Mirrors Are Big
At Norwalk, CT’s Klaff’s Inc. — another 2009 ARTS Awards winner — Lighting General Manager Jeff Heath singles out mirrors as a key decorative accessory. According to Heath, mirrors contribute more to lighting sales than any other category of accessories.
“Mirrors sell because people are not sure where to get them,” he says. “Framed and unframed art is tough because it has to be the right size, content and color in order to sell.”
Display concepts at Klaff’s typically start with the selection of a furniture item.
“We’ll take a blank wall, buy a piece of furniture — usually something upscale and trendy — and build a display around it,” Heath says.
Even the center floor groupings, such as a row of lamps on pedestals, usually are capped with occasional furniture pieces at both ends of the display.
Tie-ins Are Key
In Omaha, NE, Echo Lighting Design Gallery’s 7,000-square-foot showroom features full-scale room vignettes — great room, master bedroom, formal dining room and kitchenette. Additional groupings are scattered about the 2009 ARTS Awards winner’s salesfloor and walls. These include lamps and hanging fixtures grouped along with end tables, mirrors and a few tabletop items.
One advantage Echo Lighting has is the company’s ancillary home theater business. A full-scale functional home theater exists on site. To promote home theater sales, the company sells some unique Hollywood memorabilia — framed groupings of publicity photos and movie stills, each signed by the stars. Echo Lighting even has an autographed guitar used by one of the band members of the legendary rock group, The Eagles, framed with a photo signed by each band member and priced at $5,495.
Yes, award-winning lighting showrooms use their strengths to their advantage. Accessories make for great tie-in sales. As Showroom Manager Rick Williams says, “One facet of the business helps another.”