Making an Impact
One of the most effective ways of drawing the attention of shoppers is through visual merchandising. This is used by all sorts of retailers from high street chains to small independent boutiques to create interest, buzz, and of course, sales.
Whether you are dressing your workshop for an open studios event, taking part in a pop-up shop or selling at a retail or trade fair, ensuring that you have a good display will attract people into your space, get people talking about you and your work, and hopefully encourage people to return and buy.
Catherine Zoll, Cockpit Arts Open Studio Manger tells us her visual merchandising top tips:
Colour is great way of creating interest. Focal points that are highlighted with colour make it easier to focus your customers’ attention and ultimately direct them to the areas you’d like them to see.
Strong professional imagery, which explains how something is worn or works, can be used to communicate your products. It can also help to hide a wall, shelves or block off something distracting. Use striking imagery or graphics to help you tell your story – think bold!
Keep things clean, well-ordered and easy to navigate. A calm space slows people down and encourages them to enter into the space and spend time.
Price labels should be big enough to read and easy to find. If a space is well laid out, a customer can quickly see and understand what they are looking at and make a decision instantly.
Let your customer interact with the products/work on show. Items left in packages do not sell as readily as those that are out of the packaging. The same applies for items placed behind glass.
Lighting is one of the most important factors in creating an atmosphere. Use lighting to focus the attention of the customer on areas of interest and to highlight items that are unique.
7. Floors and ceilings
Don’t forget these crucial spaces especially in terms of navigation. Floors painted in dark and light shades help people to move from one space to another. Ceilings can be used to grab people’s attention and draw them to the back of your space.
9. Tell your story
Help people understand why your work is unique. Use your skills and creativity to create a space which is all about you.
Elevate objects to their rightful place – if it’s a one-off item, make sure this is clear. And if you are selling production pieces think about how you could make an impact – e.g. creating an installation out of pieces.
11. Keep it simple
Remember you are trying to make things as easy as possible for the buyer and so by keeping the space simple you are offering them a relaxing experience where they can speak to you and engage with the work you are selling.
Find out more about our Making It programme of seminars and workshops.
Catherine Zoll is Event Manager for Open Studios at Cockpit Arts and has first hand experience of the issues studio-holders face when preparing for selling events. Previously Catherine worked for the Trading section of the Crafts Council, presenting high end craft alongside production-based work in their two shops as well as at selling events in the UK and America. More recently she was a Market Development Officer at the Crafts Council focusing on retail and supporting makers on their presentations at Origin and showcase projects. She has worked with retailers including Selfridges, Few and Far, mint and V&A Enterprises. Through this work Catherine has developed an understanding of the needs of retail buyers as well as consumers when it comes to viewing and purchasing craft.
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