It may start with receiving a catalog, finding a site online, strolling down a street viewing store fronts or walking through a mall. However it finds you, it has the ability to draw you in time and again. What I am referring to is the power of visual sales.
According to Wikipedia (my go-to for definitions these days ) Visual merchandising /visual sales is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximize sales. Both goods or services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. I believe it also is meant to draw emotions from us – a response, a comment.
What I love about visual sales goes beyond the products the retailer is selling, it is the artistic displays within the space (or the photography & styling in a catalog). It is creating the environment that features and highlights the products. It can be quite minimalist (think of an apple store) or as detailed and at times overwhelming because there is so much to see and experience (abc carpet & home store in Manhattan). The main objective of these presentations is to attract, engage and communicate with the potential customers. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as color, can catch a shopper’s attention and also greatly affect their mood, it could also be an aroma wafting out of an open door (LUSH) that draws you in as well, or the music playing within the space.
Working as an interior designer, I find that my own experiences in retail environments can influence the purchases or selections I make for myself as well as for my clients. Sometimes having a wonderful visual display makes it easier for the client to envision the final outcome of the objects within their own home as we shop together.
Window displays are important because they provides us with a first encounter. If it is not interesting, creative or eye catching – we may not go in. (Of course, there are many stores we shop at out of utilitarian purposes and as far as window or merchandising displays, they are critically lacking i.e. Market Basket. But I am not talking about that kind of store right now). Some of the reasons the following are my favorite stores (and catalogs) – Anthropologie, Sundance, Free People, Urban Outfitters, West Elm, Aurhaus – are because they have taken the time to create attractive visual displays that evoke emotion from their customers and create an experience upon entering.
I also love to look at the lighting within a store. How a store works with their lighting is important as well. I used to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch with my daughters, I hated that experience. I loved the scented fragrance wafting through the store, but that was about it. The music was always too loud, the space was so dimly lit I really could not see what they had selected and all of the table displays seemed identical. I know it was branding, but it did not work for me.
Walking into Anthropologie as well as abc carpet & home is a totally different experience for me. From the moment you walk onto the pebble flooring, look up to see an interesting hanging fixture, look to one side and see home goods and glance to the other side of the store with clothing and then in the middle all things mixed – it is like walking around a museum and experiencing everything. No road map needed, just start on one side and enjoy strolling through the space. Not only are the products wonderful, but how they are displayed, gathered together, set off by something unexpected at times. It just works for me. I don’t want to forget to share that being in that store touches most of my senses as well. To me that is a full experience.
Another aspect of creating a total shopping experience for me is the bag – I am not sure if this falls under marketing materials and/or visual sales as well, but I always love a great bag with my purchase. Many years ago, I would collect bags from my favorite stores and display my collection over an entire wall in my kitchen. I considered them artwork.
I am sometimes called upon to create a space for a client based upon an object they found in a store or an image they may have seen online. I like to tap into the emotions the client experienced upon the initial sighting – as that is what will draw them into the space long after I have finished my work with them. This seems to be why I am drawn into my favorite stores time and again. It is the emotional connection I make to the products and the visual displays. Let me know what stores/catalogs evoke these feelings for you. I would love to grow my favorites!
It has been slightly over a year since I last posted a blog. A lot of changes both professionally and personally have occurred since June 2012. I thought I would make this initial blog posting for 2013 one of reflection and catching up. I suppose the best way is to jump right in sharing images and updates.
lmk interiors, ltd.
• Launched refreshed website on 1 June 2013 www.lmkinteriorsltd.com – so happy to have had family and friends contribute their talents and time to make this refreshing change to my site. More images to be uploaded in the coming weeks of completed projects.
• I will be participating in Art Grows Here with a pouring paint installation July 12- 21, 2013 at 77 Main Street Wenham
• volunteered with Habitat for Humanity – NorthShore’s Women Build event building a duplex home in Danvers, MA.
• took on a seasonal part time position at the newly opened The Container Store in Peabody late November (decided to stay on since it is such a fun place to work).
•lmk interiors, ltd. took over entire space at 77 Main Street in October when Matt Ulrich and Rebecca Bachand moved their offices to Beverly. I have installed a beautiful kitchen vignette to showcase the cabinetry line I am representing. Please stop in to see the changes to the space – I love pop in visits!
• completed several kitchen and master bathroom renovations, living room furniture installations along with many window treatment installations. (check out the website for more images)
• attending many networking groups – meeting great contacts for passing and receiving referrals.
• participated in the Wenham Museum’s Annual Heart of the Home Kitchen tour event with one of my client’s beautiful kitchens that I had the privilege of designing.
• my son graduated from RIT May 2012 and is currently working at Spine Frontier in Beverly, MA as an industrial designer.
• traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with my family (highlights included zip lining and snorkeling with sea turtles)
• to celebrate turning 50, I traveled to: NYC to celebrate with grade school girlfriends, to the Berkshires with my sisters and recently to Amherst with husband and college friends. (the year is not up yet, still some traveling to do)
• attended several car shows – featuring beautiful antique classics.
• discovered the joy in the music of Sugarman (Jesus Rodriguez) and the movie Searching for Sugarman.
• been doing standing Pilates, Nia dance and several yoga classes and continuing to eat the Paleo way as best as possible – no gluten, lean proteins, lots of veggies & fruit (have not cut out the dark chocolate)
• got my motorcycle license (no, I do not have a bike – yet!)
(a girl can dream)
Here’s to a great summer filled with wonderful projects and new adventures! Please check out the website and stop in for a visit if you see my car out front!