Strike a Pose
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

Today’s consumers can be a darned demanding lot. You’d think a good product selection, knowledgeable sales staff and quality customer service would be enough to earn their patronage. But “experience” is the retail buzzword these days. People seek to be entertained while shopping,as if the fact that they left their computers to actually browse a brick-and-mortar store earns them a theatrical thanks. Otherwise, why would they bother venturing beyond the mouse for their purchasing needs?

    The answer to that question is almost always a desire to view products in person: to see, touch and size up the item that might come home to live with them. So, after you’ve built your online storefront and partnered with vendors to be listed as local resources on their sites, hopefully those Web browsers will find their way to you. And that’s when selection, expertise and service can ensure the sale ensues there and not back at that computer screen.

    But to keep them coming back and inspire them to recommend you to others, you should consider fulfilling that expectation for an experience. Of course, promotional events, in-store demonstrations and the like are not the problem. Thanks to this industry’s ceiling-focused square footage, the sticking point here is most often the display.

    And the most likely solution is to complement your lighting mix with coordinating accessories (“Rules of Arrangement”). Whether this leads to full room settings or miniature vignettes, not only will decorative accents help provide a context for your customers, it might also send them home with unexpected finds they would not have come across in their virtual hunt.

    As attractive as these add-on sales are, though, accessories should not be the only jazz to your visual merchandising. There’s only so much you can do with items that have to mount or hang, but let your imagination run wild and play around a bit with convention. For example, as Associate Editor Jennifer Pinto suggests in “At Your Service”, take your lamp shades off the shelves and hang them at varying lengths over one of those vignettes. Spice up that salesfloor, and you’ll leave them wanting more.

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