This is the last in a four part series about branding your store. To recap just a bit, “branding” incorporates everything there is about your store’s image. It’s not just the logo, but the image that is carried through in the overall look of your store, and even the look of your employees.
In this final section we are actually going to talk about two things: merchandise display and employees and your brand.
Having Display Options is important. There are displays that you purchase, and those that are offered by vendors as an incentive to purchase more of their product.
You can’t blame vendors for wanting you to carry a full line of their products. The good thing about that is the look is cohesive and usually attractive. But the remaining displays can build up and become a nuisance when you have to move on and try something new. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when deciding whether it’s worth it or not:
If it can be reused in the store, then it might be worth having around. Is your stockroom clogged with displays that you might like to use, but not right now? Let’s clean up the joint! Get rid of displays that really won’t be that useful or attractive. For those that can be reused, find another place for them. We had an inexpensive storage space, but lots of store owners use their garage.
(P.S. If your garage currently holds a lot of displays – maybe it’s time for spring cleaning. Go through them and decide if some can be discarded, sold or otherwise taken out.)
Oh, my goodness, is there a lot to choose from! Hopefully, when you first opened your store you made good choices by installing slatwall and finding displays that give you lots of options.
We always liked Maine Bucket Company. They offer lots of ideas that gave our store a nature/outdoors-y look. We used barrels for lots of things – mostly seed, though.
Even with Maine Bucket Company, though, be sure you are purchasing display units that will fit properly in your store, and give you options when merchandising. Look for options that will offer flexibility and fit the feeling of your store.
Here are a couple of tips:
Funny how people don’t always like to buy the last one of something, yet they still want to think they have found a one-of-a-kind item that won’t be found in their neighbors yard.
We walk that fine line between these two ideas. For the sake of stocking, don’t forget if you have another of something that is displayed on the floor. Likewise, when it’s the last one – that’s a good thing! There won’t be one in every yard on the block!
Purchase a piece of lattice at Home Depot and have them cut it in half for you. Then, get extra strength fishing line and ceiling hooks (whichever kind you need for your ceiling).
Hang the lattice pieces from the ceiling using a double strand of fishing line from each corner. Now, use hooks of varying lengths from Erva to hang merchandise. For a really great look, hang merchandise from fishing line as well, using only a small hook on the bottom. It’s a great clean look.
We used to display a few things in birdbaths. They are so easy to do that with – perfect height, holding just a few things.
Careful not to display too many things in birdbaths, though. Remember that the bath is for sale too, so you don’t want to detract from it’s appearance by filling them up with too many things.
If possible, try to carry your branding through to you and your employees. Shirts carrying your logo or, at least, store name on them offer a look that is consistent.
On a different note, one of my best friends and a store owner in Utah is fond of wearing a birding vest and a particular hat. Everyone in town knows him as the “bird man” of that town because of his consistent, personally branded appearance.
Hope this series has been useful. As always, call me if I can help!
If you are open for business, it is likely that you already have a layout for your store and a design that you like – or do you?
Store layout can accomplish a few things:
An attractive look is easy to achieve. The entry area should be wide enough to feel welcoming. No one likes to come into a store with so much “stuff” near the door that it feels as if you’re walking into a canyon. One should be able to see out across the store to get an over all view.
Sometimes this is harder than it seems, especially at peak stocking times like spring and Christmas. However, we always found that you could put things near the door that had a good deal of space between them – like hanging chimes, or birdfeeder/birdhouse displays on poles, keeping things lighter and more airy.
We also liked to keep the birdbaths to the front right. They are more expensive items and lend themselves nicely to displays of smaller statuary on the floor below, sort of “peeking out”. Lattice on the wall behind the birdbaths was twined with fake ivy, then displayed with garden wall hangings and bird houses. (Display tip: order inexpensive small hooks from Erva for display and give them away with the house – the display will look great and customer will be thrilled when you give them the hook!)
Studies over the years have shown that customers naturally track to the right when browsing a store. What’s on the right at your store? We always had the gift items to the right, followed by books for browsing, with poles and houses to the back, and finally feeders on the right. Where’s the seed? For us, it was directly to the left of the door.
Some folks think it should be near the back so that people have to walk all the way through to get it. My theory – why irritate people? Also, it’s what you sell A LOT of and you want newcomers to know that it’s your best product. Therefore, seed is directly to the left of the door.
One other thing that dictated the location of the seed in our store – we had to take deliveries through the front door, so to move it all the way to the back was way too much work.
I would like to convey a personal story about our store. The original layout had the cash wrap area in the middle of the store. It was a square, with one of the corners pointing toward the door. I have to admit, the look was stunning, especially when we first opened. We had a sort of center aisle, with a secondary aisle to the right. One could walk directly to the left for seed.
Over time, we found that the center cash wrap really wasted space. We didn’t need as much “behind the counter” space as it allowed for.
We ultimately moved the cash wrap area to the right side of the store, about a third of the way back, giving us a lot more space for product displays and still looking attractive.
One more thing – it gave our store a “lift”. Customers liked the new look. It actually was refreshing and it gave us a chance to clean up a few neglected areas.
So, ask yourself, is it time for a store makeover? Or maybe just time to have a look at your “neglected areas?
P.S. I couldn’t find any pictures of our store, which is a pity. I would have liked to share the look with you.