Retail Trends to Watch in 2016

happy-new-year-622149_960_720w2With the beginning of a new year right around the corner, there’s no better time than now for retailers to plan their strategy for 2016. Retail is a dynamic, ever-changing industry in which new trends emerge on a regular basis. So, what kind of retail trends can you expect to see in 2016?

iBeacon

Many retailers already use Apple’s iBeacon technology, but it will likely become even more commonplace in 2016 and going forward. In case this is your first time hearing about it, let me explain: iBeacon consists of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) devices that are capable of sending digital messages to nearby shoppers. If a shopper approaches the footwear section of a department store, for instance, iBeacon can automatically send a 10-20% off shoes coupon to his or her smartphone.

More Mobile Sales

Of course, mobile online sales is also expected to increase next year. Last year, U.S. consumers spent roughly $56.67 billion in mobile purchases. Experts predict this number will rise to $74.93 billion by the end of the year. And in 2016, U.S. consumers are predicted to spend $96.22 billion in mobile purchases. Retailers should embrace this trend by ensuring their online stores are compatible on both desktops and mobile devices; otherwise, they’ll be losing a significant chunk of sales.

Multi-Sensory Shopping Experience

Retailers are now implementing techniques to stimulate shoppers’ senses. Aside from visual stimulation, they may also include soothing, relaxing music to make shoppers feel more comfortable, as well as certain scents. Auto dealers have long used scents to increase sales, spraying special chemicals inside cars that create the characteristic new car smell. It appears now that retailers are following in their footsteps, using a similar strategy in which scented fragrances are released into the air.

Personalized Service

Last but not least, you can expect to see more personalized service in retail stores and shops. In other words, retailers are differentiating themselves by providing an exceptional level of customer service that’s tailored towards the shopper. This may include recognizing and acknowledging regular shoppers by name, as well as offering recommendations on apparel or products based on the shopper’s style. Offering personalized service such as this promotes a positive shopping experience.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

How to Motivate Your Sales Team

4285523308_9b4f8fbfc2_zMotivation (or lack thereof) will directly impact a retail store’s sales. When a store’s sales team isn’t motivated, they aren’t going to sell many products. On the other hand, a highly motivated team of salespersons will place your business on autopilot, converting all of those “window shoppers” into paying customers. So, what steps can you take to motivate your sales team?

Use an Employee Appreciation Program

Among the easiest and most effective ways to motivate a sales team is to implement an employee appreciation program. A State of Employee Recognition report published by Deloitte found that nearly 3 in 4 businesses operating in the United States have some type of employee appreciation program in place. This can be something as simple as an employee-of-the-month program, in which you recognize a single employee for his or her hard work and dedication each month. The worker named employee-of-the-month will set an example for other sales persons to follow, making this is a simple yet highly effective form of motivation.

Offer Performance Incentives Based on Sales

Of course, another way to motivate your sales team is to offer incentives based on sales. For instance, you can reward sales persons who sell X amounts of units within a month or fiscal period with either a cash bonus. The allure of receiving a monetary bonus is often enough to motivate a sales person to push the product. If you want to go one step further, you can set up multiple “tiers” for performance incentives, such a $50 bonus for selling 100 units; a $100 bonus for selling 200 units; etc. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to limit yourself to strictly using monetary performance incentives. T-shirts, company-branded gear, and free dinner passes are all excellent alternatives.

Motivational Speakers

Why not hire a professional motivational speaker for your sales team? Motivational speakers are fully trained in the nuances of retail sales, speaking directly to salespersons in a way that encourages them to sell more product. A good motivational speaker will sit down with you to discuss your company’s goals and objectives. And using this information, he or she will prepare an engaging speech that motivates your sales team.

These are just a few simple ways to keep your sales team motivated.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

Are You Making these Mistakes with Your Window Display?

2969910832_4e4a2b4825_zA well-designed window display will have a positive impact on your store’s traffic, and subsequently, its sales. It will catch shoppers’ attention, encouraging them to walk into your store and check out the advertised product. However, the wrong window display will have the opposite effect by discouraging shoppers to enter your store.

It Doesn’t Connect with Your Target Audience

When designing a window display, consider your target audience and whether or not they can relate to the elements being displayed. If you operate a store that sells women’s apparel, for instance, you should stick with female mannequins in your window displays. On the other hand, if your store sells sporting goods products, you may want to use male mannequins that are dressed and positioned in sports poses. Following this simple rule will go a long ways in enhancing your window displays.

Too Much Blank Space

While there’s rule stating that you must use every available square inch of space in your store’s window display, leaving too much empty space creates a bland appearance that will ultimately hurt your efforts to attract new customers. If there’s open space in your window display, consider filling it with props or decorations. You don’t have to necessarily fill empty spaces with products, but rather include props to enhance the display and make it more attractive.

Inadequate Lighting

Don’t underestimate the importance of lighting in your window displays. Lighting will illuminate your display, enhancing the advertised products for a greater level of visibility. Rather than using just standard overhead lighting, however, you should consider using track lighting. With track lighting, you can adjust the fixtures to focus on specific products or elements of your display.

It’s Disorganized

A good window display should be clean and well-organized. If there’s random props and debris scattered throughout, it may have a negative impact on shoppers. Therefore, you should put forth the effort to clean and organize your window displays.

No Central Theme

Want to know the secret to designing an effective window display? It’s the theme. If you check out some of the window displays designed by the biggest national retailers, you’ll probably notice that they all have a central theme. Sometimes the theme is obvious, while other times its more subjective. Build your window display around a basic theme that reflects the advertised products for maximum effectiveness.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

5 Simple Visual Merchandising Tips to Boost Sales

6793826885_d3b6befb99_b(2)Group in Threes

As noted by the retailing experts at Shopify, grouping products and visual displays in threes can prove useful in attracting shoppers’ attention. How does this work? Well, the human brain is hard-wired to respond with a higher level of engagement with presented with asymmetrical designs. Shoppers may walk right by a window display featuring two mannequins. But if you set up this display with three mannequins, it may trigger a visceral response that forces shoppers to stop and look.

Increase Lighting

Lighting (or lack thereof) will play a direct role in your sales. Stores that are dim, dark and offer minimal lighting won’t achieve the same number of sales as stores that are well-illuminated. It’s just that simple. Survey your store’s landscape, installing additional lighting in dim areas. Lighting ideas may include track lighting, wall sconces, floor lamps, and even miniature chandeliers. Track lighting has become a popular choice among retailers, as it can be projected directly on products and visual merchandising designs.

Optimize Gridwall and Slatwall

When using gridwall or slatwall, it’s important that you adjust the pegs to maximize the available space. In order words, don’t just toss up pegs randomly and call it a day. This will have a negative impact on both the aesthetics of your store, as well as shoppers’ buying decision. A better approach is to adjust the pegs so each and every available inch of the gridwall or slatwall has a product. It may take some adjusting, but with a little bit of work you should be able to properly optimize your gridwall or slatwall.

Use Props

Don’t underestimate the power of props in your store’s displays. Effective displays are all about telling a story, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than by using props. If you’re selling swimsuits, for instance, try setting up beach towels and beach balls next to a group of mannequins.

Rotate Products

So, you’ve found the magic formula for your store’s visual merchandising displays? Even if it’s attracting new customers and boosting sales, though, you should still get into the habit of rotating new products into the display. Shoppers grow tired of seeing the same product over and over, meaning the benefits of well-designed display will begin to diminish. By rotating new products into it, you’ll keep shoppers interested and engaged, which should have a positive impact on sales.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

Preparing Your Retail Store for the Holidays

8085629858_be68d12232_zWith the holidays right around the corner, there’s no better time than now to prepare for the “retail rush.” According to Wikipedia, U.S. shoppers spend more than $600 billion during this time of year, which translates into roughly $767 per consumer. So if you’re looking to capitalize on this trend, you should follow the tips outlined below.

Hire Additional Staff

Don’t underestimate the increase of foot traffic that your retail store will receive during the holidays. The months of November and December yield the greatest amount of shoppers for retail businesses, which is why it’s recommended that you hire additional staff. More employees means faster checkout times and greater customer satisfaction. Furthermore, it will help to reduce the risk of injury, as staff members will have an easier time controlling large crowds.

Stock Up on Inventory

Retailers should also stock up on inventory to prepare for the holiday rush. If there’s a strong demand for a particular product, go ahead and order a surplus of it. Waiting until you run out the product to place another order will end up costing you sales — lots of sales during the holidays. To prevent headaches such as this from occurring in your store, stock up on popular products for the holidays.

Consider Changing Your Store Hours

Another tactic that can help maximize holiday sales is to change your store hours. Perhaps you can open a few hours earlier and close a few hours later. Those extra hours can yield additional sales, so long as you have the staff and resources necessary for the change.

Create Attractive Product Displays

Of course, the right product displays will go a long ways in boosting your store’s holiday sales. If your store sells footwear, for instance, consider using shoe risers to present them in a more attractive manner. Whether it’s acrylic or metal, shoe risers offer a simple yet effective way to display shoes. The shoes are elevated on a platform-like riser, increasing their visibility for shoppers.

Offer Special Deals and Promotions

With tens of thousands of retailers vying for consumers’ business during the holidays, it’s paramount that retailers offer special deals and promotions. It’s not uncommon for retailers to offer 50% off more or more during this time of year. Other incentives to attract customers may include buy-one-get-one-free offers, store credit vouchers towards future purchases, free giveaways, and more.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

5 Reasons to Use Mannequins in a Retail Store

18465308451_a7de33b319_zDo you own or manage a retail apparel store? According to some statistics, the global retail apparel and footwear industry will reach $2 trillion by the end of 2018, attesting to its widespread growth. But with such steep competition, many new retailers struggle to succeed. The good news is that mannequins can give your store the upper-hand, cementing its place as a leading brand in its respective niche.

Mannequins Boost Sales

This alone should be reason enough to use mannequins in your store. Numerous studies have shown that retail apparel store owners who use mannequins naturally generate more sales than retailers who do not use them. How can mannequins boost sales? Well, it all goes back to the visual appeal they offer. Mannequins are more attractive and relatable than a standing rolling rack, encouraging shoppers to buy the presented garment or accessory.

Better Shopping Experience

Of course, another reason why retail apparel stores should embrace mannequins is because it promotes a better all-around shopping experience Again, this is largely attributed to the visual aesthetics offered by mannequins. Setting up mannequins in your store will enhance the decor, which subsequently improves the shopping experience for consumers. It’s a win-win scenario in which there are no losers.

Guides Shoppers to Products

A lesser-known benefit of using mannequins is their ability to guide shoppers to the appropriate clothes and products. If a shopper notices a dress draped on a mannequin, for instance, the shopper will visit the area surrounding the mannequin to find, and hopefully purchase, the dress. This principle isn’t limited strictly to dresses, however. Regardless of what your mannequins are presenting, it will help guide shoppers to the respective items, which in turn boosts sales (as we mentioned earlier).

Mannequins are Inexpensive

Think mannequins aren’t worth the cost? Think again. You can purchase some truly remarkable, lifelike mannequins without breaking the bank.

Fills Voided Areas

Does your apparel store have an empty window or corner? Allowing voided space such as this to fill your store creates negative energy in the atmosphere. Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy solution to this problem: fill those blank areas in your store with mannequins. Setting up just a couple of mannequins in empty areas will go a long ways in enhancing the decor while promoting positive energy.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more

What Is a Mystery Shopper?

moving-questions-01No, a mystery shopper isn’t a stranger who enters a retail store in hopes of purchasing a product. The term “mystery shopper” is used to describe someone who’s paid to evaluate the quality of customer service, quality of product, and store layout. As the name suggests, he or she doesn’t give away their true identify, but instead pretends to be a regular shopper in search of a product.

Thousands of major retail stores throughout the country use mystery shoppers for quality control purposes. Unfortunately, though, there’s a lot of bad information on the subject, leading both store owners and shoppers  down the wrong path.

The Role of a Mystery Shopper

Mystery shoppers are typically hired by larger quality control companies to act as a regular shopper/customer while simultaneously evaluating several aspects of the retail store. Neither the store manager nor the employees are initially aware of the mystery shopper. They assume the individual is just another shopper who’s browsing the store, but in reality the mystery shopper is taking mental notes to create a detailed report.

Benefits of Mystery Shoppers For Retail Stores

  • Ensure employees greet each and every shopper who enters the store.
  • Ensure the store follows the company’s standards.
  • Check the store’s cleanliness (or lack thereof).
  • Analyze the quality of the merchandise.
  • Analyze the employees’ attitude and disposition.
  • Analyze productivity levels.

Think of a mystery shopper as a fly on the wall. If the store knew a person was coming to evaluate the quality of their work (and the other criteria mentioned above), the manager and employees would probably put their best foot forward so they don’t receive a failing score. But this eliminates the entire purpose of quality control, which is to ensure each and every customer receives the proper treatment.

History of Mystery Shoppers

Contrary to what some people may believe, mystery shoppers aren’t new. Some of the first known reports of people getting paid to pretend to shop date back to the 1940s. Today, mystery shoppers are used by retail businesses of all shapes and sizes. They allow retail executives to identify problems within their stores in an authentic nature.

If you have any questions at all about setting up retail merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at https://www.melvinroos.com/contact-us/.

Read more