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Fall 2006 Seductive Displays

A large portion of purchases during the holiday season are emotion-based—and the best way to tap into shoppers’ emotions is by appealing to their senses, starting with the sense of sight. A merchandise presentation that looks appealing will immediately grab attention. After you’ve caught their eye, then you can layer in the other senses—appealing to scent if you are selling potpourri or candles, taste if you are selling chocolates and no matter what you’re selling, the sense of touch. If you attract shoppers to your location with enticing visuals and tempt them to touch—you’ll be all the closer to converting them into buyers.

The easiest and most basic way to attract people to your location is with color. Color on your shelf-pads or -backs will make your product stand out. When choosing your color palette, look to your product’s packaging. If your packaging is made up of one main color and a secondary complementary color, choose the secondary color for your shelf pads to make your product “pop.” If you sell many different products and have no unifying packaging color scheme from which to draw, pick a color that best captures the “feeling” of your merchandise. A great way to inject some holiday spirit into a display is with good old-fashioned Christmas red. In department stores, the visual merchandising team will pad feature walls with red foamboard. In an RMU or kiosk, you can cover your shelf pads and posts as well as your risers and other vertical surfaces in red to get the same holiday-excitement effect.

Make sure your color choice is appropriate to your product—red might not necessarily be a great color if you are selling Victorian-style brooches and hair accessories. Instead, a rich burgundy fabric in the cases and on shelf pads, accented by thick pine garlands with old fashioned trim around the poles and fixtures would accentuate that merchandise while evoking feelings of the holiday season.

When considering holiday trim for your store or cart, try to stretch your imagination but remember that holiday trim can be simple. A few silver Christmas balls suspended at different heights from thick ribbon makes an elegant display for silver jewelry. Thick garland trimmed with lights, ribbon and dog bones makes a fun trim around the fixtures and poles of a pet-products display and doesn’t take up precious merchandising space. And don’t forget pre-wrapped gift boxes, which act as risers for your product and suggest “gift idea” to your customers. In order to keep the focus on the merchandise, keep the gift wrap and display presentation simple and bold. Don’t try to mix too many small busy patterns or colors.

The best way to get ideas for your holiday displays is to take note of what other retailers are doing. Department stores and national chains put a lot of time and money into their displays. Notice how they use holiday décor to enhance their products, soften the hard edges of signs and use gift boxes as suggestive selling. If you see something that fits in with your product line and target shopper demographic, incorporate those elements into your own displays.

When it comes to the holiday selling season, don’t be a Grinch—celebrate and decorate! You’ll see the return on your investment in your register.


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