owner of visual communications agency VM Guru, market expert in visual merchandising and store design.
There is a significant difference between the commercially effective retail space of a store and an effective individual brand trading concept. You can not mix these two concepts only on the basis of effectiveness.
At the moment when you decide to develop a design project for a future store or a design project for restyling a typical shoe store network, it is important to clearly state the goals that you set for yourself. What do you want to achieve? Loudly declare your brand, detach from competitors, be remembered by customers, take your place in the market (that is, invest in the future), or at the moment it is more important for you to test the product first and create an effective trading space with minimal costs.
To invest in the future and achieve success in this, the brand must seriously prepare. But first things first.
Is it possible to create a competent "selling" retail space without investing in the development of a design project for a unique trading concept?
Yes it is possible. The basis of successful store sales, in addition to, of course, the product itself and pricing policy, is a well-planned retail space in terms of architectural planning and the laws of visual merchandising.
Rules for creating an effective retail space
1. The rule of the "golden triangle".
The “Golden Triangle” is the area between the cash register, checkout area and shop windows, and it should be maximum. This allows you to expand the focus area of the buyer - the retail space in which the product is sold best.
2. The clockwise rule.
Most of the customers are right-handed, and when they enter the store, 70% of them start moving counterclockwise. This rule is important to consider when zoning a rectangular-shaped store, namely: we place the highest priority line / style group of goods to the right of the entrance.
3. Mobile zoning rule.
The space of the store should be visually divided into areas that are clear to the buyer. This makes it easier for the buyer to sort out the assortment offer and find their own product. The most effective is “mobile zoning”, that is, “without walls” zoning, when you do not build stationary zones in the store, separating one from another by partitions, but make them mobile, working with floor equipment and style filling the space.
In this case, the store can adjust the size and capacity of the goods in the zone, visually reducing or expanding it due to the location of floor equipment. There is an opportunity to change the appearance of the trading space as a whole, which creates the impression of the “everything new” for the buyer and makes him want to go to the store again.
When building mobile zones in a store, it is important to consider commercial priorities in the right sequence. First: gender and age groups (male, female, children's goods are placed separately). Second: seasonality of the goods (we do not mix goods of different seasons!). Third: we highlight style groups within these product areas and present the key product as a priority.
4. The rule of "golden trading levels."
The development of wall and floor equipment should be carried out taking into account the “golden trading levels” at which the product is best sold - the level of “outstretched arms” and the level of “customer’s gaze” (for calculating the height, the average woman's height is taken - 170 cm).
5. The rule of "warming" of shopping areas.
This tool helps to make the “cold” space (which is not visible from the entrance, or is too far from it) more working, as well as effectively use the most commercial “hot” space and the potential of the entrance zone.
Often in the stores the entrance space is empty, and the equipment is located in the back of the room, so that, according to the store management, it was easier for the buyer to go inside, but this is a gross mistake. Entrance space sells, and is very powerful. Therefore, it must contain trading equipment with a key seasonal product. Moreover, the presentation of the goods in the entrance area should be framed emotionally, with elements from the current storefront concept, because in fact this is the storefront.
At the same time, the equipment of the entrance zone should be arranged in such a way that it directs buyers into the store, to the wall equipment and further.
Examples: the effective entrance area of shoe stores of different price segments.
6. Effective trade equipment.
Your sales also directly depend on the effectiveness of the trading equipment and on its placement in the trading floor.
What should be considered when ordering retail equipment for a shoe retail store?
It is important that the wall equipment in the hall is transformable. This is necessary in order to be able to change the configuration of the shelves and the distance between them under the current collection. For example, in winter there are more high boots, and we increase the distance between the shelves for the presentation of the goods by “families”, in combination with a complementary product (bags, gloves, headgear) at several levels of the “wall”.
If the wall-mounted commercial equipment is non-removable, then in winter we often see the following picture in the store: a long row of the same type of dark goods (the same high boots) at the lower, poorly selling, level of wall-mounted equipment. With such a presentation, the buyer simply does not see the shoes, but this is an expensive seasonal product that needs to be sold and for which there is a demand in the season.
Or vice versa: in the summer, when there is more goods and no high shoes, it is necessary to rearrange the wall shelves, reducing the distance between them to 25-27 cm. This way you will create one or even two additional working levels and you can visually unload the presentation in the hall, then there is, to make it more "readable" for the buyer.
Outdoor equipment should not block the goods on the walls. The correct height and equipment design is important. It should also be transformable and mobile, so that sellers have the opportunity to move it if necessary, without fear of breaking and not physically tearing.
7. The rule of grouping equipment.
The correct location of the equipment, taking into account the distance between it, in accordance with the norms of your price segment, as well as the use of the “rooting” technique (routing, from the English Routing - the process of determining the route, the term came from the IT sphere) guides customers through the built-in communication ways through all the collections in the trading floor.
Creating a shopping concept for a shoe brand
If you decide to create a brand’s shopping concept designed for replication - a unique “frame” for your product, then it is extremely important to reflect the individuality and unique trade advantages of your brand in it.
There are such non-standard and, at first glance, completely non-commercial tasks, such as “uncovering the soul of the brand”, creating an emotional “link” between the buyer and the product through the store’s space and making this space as personalized as possible for the target consumer. In this case, you are not creating a store for everyone, but for your target audience, it’s impossible for everyone to like it, and it’s not necessary.
Today the best brand advertising is its stores! They directly interact with the buyer, it is they who help “see” the product, fall in love with the buyer in your brand and return it to you for shopping again and again.
Do I need to invest in restyling stores, if the stores are already successfully selling?
Of course, you need to create the opportunity to sell even better and “win” the hearts of new buyers, who are becoming more demanding and demanding. But restyling will be effective only if you have something to offer and what to say to the market. Let’s say you refined your collections, taking into account the tastes and preferences of the target audience, figured out your market position, created and implemented visual merchandising standards for the updated product on the network. In these cases - yes, restyling is necessary. It makes sense to first invest in the development of a unique trading network concept in order to further “attack” the market.
You can “attack” only with a strong new weapon, and this is not an advertisement, but your stores! I vote for powerful market attacks, but only if the brand is ready for this. In fashion retail today, as in war, it is important to accumulate strength, develop a strategy, create a base, and only then attack aggressively so as not to waste your budget and potential.
What is happening today in the Russian and global shoe retail?
Today, global network retailers are restyling their stores every 5-7 years, this is a powerful trend in fashion retail. Moreover, first of all, the world's leading brands are updated, in which the stores in the previous concept are not at all old and, moreover, they cannot be called ineffective.
The founder of the trend is the Spanish concern Inditex, which over the past 7 years has updated the trading concepts of almost all of its brands. What for? I believe that in order to be closer to your customer, to be able to establish, as marketers say, communication with customers through "I-messages."
It became obvious to the heavyweights of the fashion retail market that outdoor advertising today works much weaker than the stores themselves and the visual presentation of the product in them (although no one plans to refuse outdoor advertising and other types of advertising). Therefore, we repeat: the best advertisement of your product today is your store!
In the shoe segment, the trend is exactly the same, though it came a little later, over the past 5 years, trade concepts have been updated by brands such as Fornarina, Tommy Hilfiger, Ecco, GEOX, Tamaris, KEDDO, many sports brands. Of the Russian shoe chains, restyling and rebranding survived Baden, Econika, in the 2017 year the rebranding was planned by the Ralf Ringer brand.
Fornarin’s Italian brand, for example, was not afraid to create a new design for its flagship stores very futuristic and vibrant, and was noticed not only by consumers, but also by professionals: the company received a prestigious architectural award, which provided powerful PR support and helped to thunder throughout the world. The author of the futuristic concept is the designer Giorgio Borruzo.
Fornatin's flagship store in Los Angeles, USA. The author of the concept is J. Borruzo, 2012
Which of the Russian shoe network retailers have successfully “attacked” the market recently?
As a professional and an ordinary consumer, I like the new Econika stores and their updated collections. The brand did everything in a consistent and competent manner: first it developed and rejuvenated the shoe collection, then worked out a promotion strategy, and only then restyled the network.
Today, the stores of this shoe brand look like stylish European living rooms in pastel colors. Econika now seems to be not for everyone, but only for modern, successful, young women. But which of us women doesn’t consider such a thing?
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