Last-minute merchandising and marketing tips for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

Outdoor Retailer is days away and it’s time to dot your i’s and cross your t’s to make the most of your investment. Your visual merchandising plan is tight, the booth is staffed, appointments are organized and product is ready to rock — now what? SNEWS Merchandising Editor Robin Enright provides some last-minute tips.

Outdoor Retailer is days away and it’s time to dot your i’s and cross your t’s to make the most of your investment. Your visual merchandising plan is tight, the booth is staffed, appointments are organized and product is ready to rock — now what?

Take a deep breath and get ready to plunge in by taking advantage of some simple tips to help you leap into the show with confidence!

Stand out: Do your homework on which booths are next to you and use their merchandising to complement your own. For example, maybe you use bright colors or maybe you take advantage of neutral tones to stand out amidst all the visual noise, or maybe you have funky and unusual elements in your visual merchandising. Just be sure you do more than rely on the super-coolness of your product. Remember, the first step to a sale is issuing an invitation to explore your booth, so get attention!

Fresh Produce in Boulder uses color in its exterior that helps the store stand out next to Go-Lite and Patagonia

Tea bags in the window of Long’s Peak Coffee and Paper House in Estes Park, Colo. are unique and eye catching.

Louis Vuitton in Natick, Mass. uses a simple design theme and color to grab attention.

Engage through your OR expertise: A great way to begin a conversation or engage with attendees is to be an expert. Have extra maps and O.R. Dailies, understand hall layout, know where to get a cup of coffee or healthy snack, offer guidance to the newbie or the lost attendee.

Entertain us: A great way to develop a following can be through social media sharing with an emphasis on your personality versus the direct sell or appeal for a visit. Ask questions, share what you see, where you eat and who you meet. Promote your friends, local Salt Lake City businesses and the cool things you find on the floor. Use the OR hashtag (#ORShow) when tweeting. Check out Boulder, Colo.’s Outdoor Diva’s Facebook page ( for ideas on engaging social media. Posts are relevant, interesting, inspiring and humorous. Goal Zero ( does a great job with customer engagement too!

Be yourself: Who are you? Why are you in business? Communicate it! Whether it’s a timeline of company growth on the exterior of your booth, your commitment to being kind to the environment in all that you do or your unique geeky side, be sure we feel your vibe in everything from your visual merchandising, what you wear, how you interact and what you share. Tell us your story!

Sea to Summit’s timeline on its booth wall


Woolrich’s history wall


Pedestrian Shop in Boulder, Colo.

Columbia’s science lab

Explore: Outdoor Retailer is rich in visual stimulation and brimming with creativity in booth design, visual merchandising and product innovation. Yes, you will be out-of-your-mind busy, but to travel all this way without poking your head outside your own booth is a missed opportunity for you and your staff. Do your best to allow some wandering time or sign up for a merchandising tour ([email protected]) to find inspiration to take home with you!

Get a copy of theOutdoor Industry Association’s Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, bring it with you and use it to promote your product sales and at the same time advocate for the protection of our natural resources. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Join in the excitement and see where the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 merchandising tours will end up! Tours will be held on Friday, 8/3 and Saturday, 8/4 at 11 a.m. with Friday’s tour geared towards exhibitors and Saturday’s focused on the retail environment. Each tour will last approximately one hour. Space is limited so reserve your spot by emailing [email protected]

And while we are talking merchandising excellence, please let us know if you think your booth design might have what it takes to make it to the Best of Booth (BOB) podium by sending an email alert before OR to merchandising editor, Robin Enright, at [email protected]

SNEWS Merchandising Editor Robin Enright

is the founder of Merchandising Matters,

which provides
visual merchandising and

marketing support to the outdoor retail industry.

Reach her via email at
[email protected]

with questions, ideas and suggestions.



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