Unleash the Geek
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

Drowning in a sea of fixtures—I know, I can hear the collective groan from you, dear readers, at the mere mention. Not only are you tired of the cliché you’re also sick to death of lectures about visual merchandising. But before you send the angry mob my way, let me admit: I share your ennui. In fact, I’d like to banish the word “vignette” from this magazine.

            But I can’t. As OneCoast’s Paul Thompson tells us in this month’s issue’s Illuminations (page 54) and the ARTS Awards nominees reveal in Point of Sale (page 58), those indispensable lifestyle settings establish a contextual link to customers’ decorating aspirations. And I know a good percentage of you will try to tame the mighty High Point beast (page 67) this month to find the accessories that help anchor your displays (page 98).

            Despite the benefits of diversification, however, the truth remains that you are not a furniture store. You’re a lighting showroom, darn it, and you need your real estate to sell your lighting products. Although you certainly don’t want to scare shoppers off with that infamous, neck-breaking “sea,” what sets you apart from more inclusive home furnishings stores and expansive home centers is focus and expertise.

            This one is for you, Norm Brown: Ours is not a fashion business—well, at least not in the same way a furniture store’s is. Decorative lighting does follow the whims of fashion more than ever these days, and it’s imperative to stay ahead of the trend curve, especially while pop culture’s recent embrace keeps lighting top-of-mind for consumers. But, as Brown so succinctly put it during a seminar at last month’s ALA Conference, “We sell the ability to see.” We cannot forget the technical side of our industry. It’s at the core of what we do, it helps us rise above “the hot look of the season“ and it gives us a leg up on the competition.

            If you want to create a more enjoyable shopping experience in your showroom, a few well-appointed vignettes will help, sure. But leverage the technology, too. Use some of those vignettes to demonstrate dimmers and controls. Pull bulbs upfront with a light box to show color rendering. If you’re looking for an add-on sale, offer LED novelties as an entry point to that emerging light source (page 112). These things will break up the space and solidify your specialty. And, perhaps equally as important, people like to play. They like to see and touch technology. And they’ll be happier to make a purchase if they understand it more.




How do you conquer the sea?

Write: Residential Lighting

400 Knightsbridge Pkwy., Lincolnshire, IL 60069

Phone: (847) 634-2600 Fax: (847) 634-7885

E-mail: [email protected]

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