By Lolita Healy, celebrations expert and founder of Designs by Lolita
Every retailer knows the competitive environment that store-fronts face every day. If you are in retail for any length of time, you obviously love it, or at least most of the time. The ones that hate it don’t usually last very long. Retailers are special people….sometimes, happy customers come over happy spouses, kids and pets.
Retail at any level is not without moments of complete and utter exhaustion, anger, glee, and “what the heck am I doing this for” self talk. You know that staying fresh with your displays and the way you market to people is the name of the game in today’s economy.
One avenue to take is what every marketing/online retail expert today understands…it is indeed a “Thank You” economy (read the book, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk) and you must, as Zappos knows very well, Deliver Happiness, every moment, every day. Store front retailers must join the bandwagon.
To deliver happiness to your customers, which can only resort in great sales, is to think about what makes you happy.
One of the greatest joys in our human existence is out of our back door! If you have a deck at home or a patio, you know what I mean. Bring what has meaning to retail…deliver joy from the outside, in.
How do you bring this “feeling” of enjoying your celebratory moments outdoors into a retail store? How to you influence your customers to entertain outdoors, but purchase your products to entertain well outside and with style? If it’s cold, does this even make sense??
If you know what Pinterest is, you know that visual stimulation is primary, and more often than not, on Pinterest, the photos are of gorgeous outdoor party themes and displays.
Bring what the “pinners” know how to do into your mantra of existence…start looking at brands you love and their Pinterest pages, including mine (www.designsbylolita.com). Start getting some ideas of how to pull interesting products together. Start your own Pinterest page, or print your favorite ideas, clip and keep idea books by themes.
Hopefully you are already working within a “campaign” calendar and have learned to tie things to that through your e blasts and Social Media efforts. So, all of my display ideas are actually methods of hearing cha-ching at the register! Always have a “golden ticket” to get people in your door as well, whether a coupon, register to win, gift with purchase (when have you last cleaned out your stockroom?? Use small item overstocks to sell items full price.)
In my opinion, doing outdoor themes is a great way to maximize the last hot months of Summer and ease into Fall and Holiday, especially if you greet them at the front door with food and drink! Changing up your theme once a month is important.
Some favorite ideas of mine….create a table at your store center with a beach theme. Fill nice sand buckets with sand…lightly put in some flip-flops that you have on display, and some of my beach themed wine and acrylic glasses. Sell some stylish beach towels. If you stay within a color palette and shop to that palette at market, for instance, turquoise, tangerine and chartreuse, everything will tie together. You will be focused with your dollars, and your display will pop, whatever the theme! MERCHANDISING CANNOT BE UNDERESTIMATED! Have margaritas and have a grill guy outside doing a beach barbecue…Create excitement outside to bring people.
Go armed to market week with several themes for displays in mind. For instance, thinking Fall and Holiday, you may do celebrate “Back to School” for adults…have sassy message plaques, my Mom’s Time Out glass, cocktail mixes, Mom’s Survival Kits, Spa Items etc. Have a chalkboard and Chalk as a centerpiece and change your message each day. “Mom’s Have More Fun….When School Starts”…the next day, “Back to School for the Kids, Time to Play” etc. Orange Crush Martinis and Pizza sliders could be a winning addition!
Another theme would be Harvest Happy Hour…do a color palette of muted oranges, browns, and greens; bring in natural baskets filled with goodies for purchase. Do a beautiful “harvest” outdoor cocktail setting, candles, wine glasses, etc. Invite a local wine distributor to come and host a tasting!
Also, what about a Holiday Sleigh Ride theme? Or, Frosty the Snowman…everything Frosty, including Frosted Beer Mugs, Hot chocolate with Kahlua, you get the snow drift!
The theme ideas for outdoor parties is endless. Go to my blog, www.drinkmyblog.com for more inspiration.
Snap photos of every display and make sure you keep a record! If it gains attention, you’ll have a reference for next year’s ideas! And most certainly, post to your store website and Social Media pages.
It is getting harder and harder for retailers to compete and events can get expensive, so can displays. But with a strong “display theme” calendar and a shopping list prior to market, you will maximize your dollars at your register. Deliver joy, from the outside, in.
Lolita Healy presents “A Look Inside Outdoor Entertaining” at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market on Saturday, July 13 at 10:00 a.m. Visit AmericasMart.com for a complete list of seminars and events.