Good visual merchandising can boost profits
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

Stan Bossler
Stan Bossler

Residential Lighting: Can visual merchandising increase sales for lighting retailers?

Stan Bossler: People don’t have the time to shop that they had in years past, so you have to design the showroom [to move] them through quickly, but [you also have to edit] the visual merchandising statements so that you stop and entice them. The time they’re in the showroom is related to how much money they’re going to spend.

Residential Lighting: What is the best way for retailers to organize their lighting showrooms?
Bossler: There are many different ways to approach [displays in lighting showrooms]. The first would be lifestyle merchandising — [vignettes with] mixed vendors and mixed assortments that all reflect a particular [aesthetic].

[Another method is] by vendor. It’s an easy way to display product in a neutral background and keep the showroom organized. Also, if you have a really good assortment with quality vendors, it’s a way to capitalize on a well-known name.

A third way [to organize] is by category. In other words, all the bedroom lamps here in this area, all chandeliers in this area.

Residential Lighting: What’s the most effective use of space you’ve seen recently in lighting showrooms?
Bossler: In May, I went to the grand opening of a lighting showroom here in Dallas, and I thought what they did was brilliant. They had a second level that was not usable [as a selling area], and they opened up that space to create a design research library. There are large tables to lay out plans and review lighting designs, there’s a library full of every catalog of every lighting manufacturer in the world, and then to accent all of that, they have displays that reflect the latest technological advances in lighting.

Residential Lighting: Can adding decorative accessories to the mix help increase sales for lighting retailers?
Bossler: A good accessory program can increase a profit margin by as much as 25 to 30 percent. The analogy I like to use is the city of San Francisco. If you can imagine [the city] without its accessories — which would be the Golden Gate Bridge, China Town, Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Square and cable car rides — what a different city it might be.

Residential Lighting: How can lighting retailers boost their visual merchandising efforts?
Bossler: Edit your selections. In a lot of lighting showrooms, 90 percent of what I see isn’t successful design. The average consumer is becoming more sophisticated, and they’re going to select the winners.

Residential Lighting: How can lighting showrooms do a better job at editing?
Bossler: It is very important for [store owners] to continually educate themselves [with the help of] home decor, arts and architecture magazines and to identify trends. Then, they can edit those trends as they see fit with their consumer’s point of view in mind.

Residential Lighting: What are some ways to boost the visual appeal of lighting showrooms?
Bossler: Absolutely check, on a daily basis, every morning, that all of the light bulbs in all of the lamps are turned on. There’s nothing more ineffective than a chandelier that’s on display and half of the light bulbs are burned out. It’s all about neatness and a real love for your product and showroom. If everything just sparkles, that’s going to set the tone. If things are dusty, light bulbs are burned out and lamp shades are aligned topsy-turvy, that’s going to set a tone, as well.

Stan Bossler is Principal of Bossler Design Services Inc., a full-service visual-merchandising, product-design, and interior-planning service based in Dallas. His free seminar, “Creating the Path to Purchase,” will be held Oct. 22, during the High Point Market.

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