Merchandising Tour: Small touches, big results

It’s the small touches in a merchandising display that often go unnoticed and can make all the difference in how something looks and functions. It can be hard to put your finger on what made it click, but that attention-grabbing feature is there in the color, the arrangement or the unexpected way a product is displayed. SNEWS shows you three great display examples you can use.
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How often do you see a display that attracts your attention and makes you wonder how they did it? It’s the small touches that often go unnoticed that make all the difference in how something looks and functions. It can be hard to put your finger on what made it click, but that attention-grabbing feature is there in the color, the arrangement or the unexpected way a product is displayed.


The adidas alcoves from the company’s 2011 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market booth are a perfect example of how simple asymmetrical or unbalanced shapes and arrangements create interest. It’s because they are unexpected. We are accustomed to everything being squared off and even. Asymmetry in a display creates an interesting dissonance.

The dark background color in the alcoves creates a dramatic background for the products and the lighting is critical to the effectiveness of the presentation. Note the alcove on the far right that is open to the booth interior creating a peek-a-boo opportunity.

Retailers could cut asymmetrical picture frames out of fome-core, cardboard or poster board and hang them with monofilament line from the ceiling of a front window with product hanging inside. If the frames have some movement, that’s all the better.

This Sea to Summit display is a great example of a balanced display and is an excellent template to use when arranging accessory products on a wall.

Balance means placing merchandise in a unified manner. Start with a balance point – an imaginary vertical line bisecting the display space. This point should correspond to the viewer’s natural line of sight. Now imagine a horizontal line through this point. You’ve now created a grid that helps balance items placed right and left of the mid point.

The larger towels hanging on both sides of the midpoint arrangement of the smaller towels creates a symmetry that is very pleasing. Also note that the colors of the products in the middle of the display are hanging vertically. This, too, makes the presentation more visually effective and brings the big results.


Speaking of color, SmartWool has it nailed in this apparel display from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Why does it work so well? It has a continuity of color and shape.

Take note of the very important visual merchandising techniques at work in this presentation – color, shape and repetition. Repetition simply means a repeat of similar product, color, size or configuration. You’ll note that the apparel shown in this display is a repeat of long sleeve tops. And while they are not all the same style they are the same shape and profile

It is recommended that no more than three color families be used in one display. SmartWool played it smart and limited the color selection in this display to two - purples and greens - and repeated those colors down the length of the raised platform. Simple techniques resulted in an eye-catching display.

Take time to tour the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market booths in August 2011 with the goal of finding those small display ideas that catch your eye. It is rewarding to discover them and even better to apply them to your own store displays back home. All of us at SNEWS® are here to help and our Merchandising Tours at Outdoor Retailer are the best way to find those ideas easily. Watch www.snewsnet.com for more information about the Tours and we’ll see you at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in August!

Would you like to join Sharon Leicham, author of "Merchandising Your Way to Success" and merchandising editor for SNEWS®, during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 for the fifth Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour program, co-sponsored by Outdoor Retailer and SNEWS? Email merchandisingtour@snewsnet.com to put your name on a contact list for more information and to ensure your name is on the registration list for the next Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour Program, Summer Market 2011 -- spaces are limited.

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