The recent Outdoor Retailer trade show was busy, energetic, fun and, best of all, full of interesting displays. With all you had to do at the show, you probably didn't have time to look for merchandising ideas, so as your eye on the floor, I picked a few of the best displays at this year's show which you can easily adapt to your store.
>> If you carry the Ex Officio apparel line, you've got to bring in one of the company's inflatable kayaks. The Hawaiian patterning is certain to attract attention and you'll probably end up selling it. But, until then, place it by your Ex O merchandise and watch the response.
>> Hidden inside the writing rooms of the Swiss Army booth were eye-catching clothing boards that would make great store displays. The boards hold photos, color and fabric swatches artfully arranged, and garments hung from pins -- all adding up to tell a collection story. Similar boards could be assembled and placed high on the wall above clothing wall racks or hung in display windows.
>> Asolo's slanted disks made great looking shoe platforms. Get a hold of a sono tube or acrylic tube, cut it to the desired height, affix a disk on the end and use it to display shoes at the entrance of your footwear area.
>> Smartwool dealers -- find out if you can purchase some of the mannequins the company used to show apparel in its booth. They were whimsical, unusual and worth having in your store.
>> If you've bought into high-tech, breathable base-layer garments and want to relay how ventilated the fabric is, take a hint from Lowe Alpine and use internally lighted mannequin torsos. Besides showing the airy construction of the fabrics, the forms attract attention.
>> Franklin Climbing had the best idea of the show with its walls of transparent acrylic with affixed handholds. The company used 3/8-inch Plexiglas and drilled holes to place the climbing holds. Such a display could help define a climbing area in your store without creating a visual barrier.
>> If you've ever wondered what to do with feather dusters, wonder no more. Deuter simply bought a dozen or so brightly colored dusters and hung them at random lengths on the front of its booth creating a fanciful wall. The same idea would make a terrific window display background and it's so easy to accomplish.
>> For all you Life is Good dealers, ask the company if you can borrow one of the painted wood panels hung on the outside walls of its OR booth. They're oversized but could be used in a large front window or on a back wall. If you've got the room, they've got the zoom.
Sharon Leicham's merchandising column appears twice a month in SNEWS. Leicham is the author of Merchandising Your Way to Success and How to Sell to Women and is a frequent contributor to trade magazines writing on merchandising and marketing topics. She recently launched a website, www.merchandisingHUB.com, with information targeted at the independent specialty retailer.