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Stocks can revamp their displays and interior without the blow-out budget
Stocks can revamp their displays and interior without the blow-out budget

Store revamps without the blow-out budget

With a shaky year for retail on the cards as customers tighten their purse strings, jewellery stores need to work harder than ever to maintain their competitive edge. A store refresh can work wonders – but it needn’t break the bank. Sonia Nair reports.
It is four weeks before Christmas. Red and green sequins pepper many a jewellery store window, wreaths adorn store doors and feathered-tail golden pheasants possibly dangle from ceilings. A month or so passes and the sequins, wreaths and gold birds are removed. Nothing decorates the stores until the next big calendar event: Easter.

Should festive occasions be the only time jewellery stores go all out for their store display windows and visual merchandising props? In an increasingly competitive marketplace, store differentiation is key and creative visual merchandising can go a long way to helping entice customers into a store.

Yet despite the importance of this vital element of your store experience, don’t be fooled into assuming that it has to cost an arm and a leg. It needn’t. Here, Jeweller gets some advice on how to revamp your store without busting the budget.

Window displays
Having an eye-catching window that is frequently changed is the single, most important thing a retailer can do for their business, according to Chas Clarkson product and business development manager Lisa Lubar.

“If you can catch the customer’s attention, make them stop and take a longer look – you are far more likely to convert these lookers into buyers,” Lubar says. “People today are time poor and live in a world of visual messaging so the trick is to cut through that visual clutter.”

How to do this on a budget is an issue that many retailers grapple with. House of Jewellery head of display and packaging Angela Bell recommends inexpensive props like natural wood, shells, egg ornaments and balloons to more seasonal adjuncts like tinsel. “If retailers are on a budget, I’d simply suggest a bushwalk. You can add timber, bark and bush nuts to the edge of your windows for an earthy look,” Bell says. “The main thing is to make the window displays look fresh, clean, colourful and enticing.”

Make sure you don’t forget the basics either – cleaning windows, as menial and minor a task as it is, should never be forgotten.

Nicholas Arnold, founder of consultancy Visual Merchandising Solutions, says retailers should take lighting, window size and the eye-level positioning of products into account when revamping windows. Most importantly, understand your store’s demographic.

The first battle is won if your window displays attract customers into your store. But what comes next? Arnold says it is vital that retailers look at the skeleton of their store before even considering a revamp. “There is no point throwing good money at a revamp when the skeleton will never be able to perform how you require,” he says.

Inexpensive quick fixes, he explains, could include painting cabinetry or changing the colour of cabinetry fabric, display pads and blocks. “The first areas in any store that are going to look worn or tired will be those that use fabrics,” Arnold warns.

Bell agrees – instead of the costly exercise of changing fixtures and fittings, she says retailers should look at re-covering them. “You don’t have to spend a lot if you don’t need to. The key is to re-cover your cabinets in different fabrics and textures to keep it looking fresh, different and unique.”

To improve the shell of cabinetry, Arnold recommends retailers sand or re-stain woodwork, attach quilted panels or laminate them. “This sort of thing can all be done on site, which will reduce cost,” Arnold says.

Lubar adds, “The additions of some simple cubes, plinths, or risers that can also be covered or painted to match will further enhance the fresh look.”

Image stylist Natalie Coulter from Desource says something as simple and inexpensive as a coat of paint can do wonders for a store.

Coulter’s secret tip for retailers is to find a feature wall within their stores and paint it a colour that reflects the current seasonal trend. “Retailers should change the colour of the feature wall at least four times a year because this can really give a revamped look.”

Coulter adds that bright, neon colours are all the rage this season and recommends experimenting with bright pinks or yellows.

To create a sense of continuity throughout the store, Coulter says touches of the paint colour should be maintained throughout. “If you go with a hot pink feature wall, bring the colour into details and signage throughout the store as well as props in display cases.”

Product location
Product location within a store is imperative and the best part is; it costs nothing. Arnold says it is crucial jewellers understand their store because product location plays a pivotal role in sales results. “The position of your best-sellers should never be an accident, nor should where you keep your bread-and-butter lines,” he says.

Rather than emphasising the importance of specific product location, Coulter says retailers should strive to create a retail space people want to spend time in, regardless of where exactly they may be in the store. If there is a dark, unutilised corner in the store, she says it can easily be turned into a focal point for sales with a little tinkering.

“It is common knowledge that the back of a store does not get sales. Since we know that, we should keep customers down there by creating something interesting like a feature wall or a seating area,” Coulter explains.

Bell says products can be arranged in such a way that a store unfolds like a narrative as customers walk through it. “Retailers can segregate their products into different sections and windows so the store tells a story. For instance, collections and stones can be grouped together,” she suggests.

Tasks as simple as rotating and cleaning stock, she says, also make a difference to a store’s image – and they do not cost a dime.

Merchandising props
Without spending a gargantuan amount of money, retailers can adorn their stores with props that cost little and look amazing.

Coulter says jewellers can keep a store dynamic with ever-changing props if they are not afraid to source from their surroundings and $2 dollar shops. “Use recycled things that are bespoke and handcrafted. Customers aren’t looking for glossy or brand new, they’re looking for the feeling that someone cares,” she explains.

From grandmother’s old Royal Doulton saucers and bright pink artificial flowers to natural props like shells, driftwood, leaves and feathers – Coulter urges retailers to open their eyes to what’s around them.

However, she warns that jewellery retailers to be selective. “You don’t want an expensive piece of jewellery surrounded by a cheap-looking prop,” Coulter says.

Yet Arnold warns it is vital retailers maintain the right balance between merchandise and props - after all, the focus should be on the merchandise. Before even choosing props, jewellers have to understand their target customer. “An old baked bean can could look very cool as a way of presenting urban fashion jewellery because the target demographic can relate to it,” he says.

Point-of-sale material
When it comes to point-of-sale material, Arnold advises jewellers to keep it clean. “In a jewellery business where we have products that are detailed and tiny in size, we need the sharp contrast to reduce the feeling of mayhem in displays,” Arnold says.

According to Arnold, lighting is probably the most underrated merchandising tool that a jewellery store has. “If you have to prioritise where you should spend your money on a revamp, lighting needs to be at the top of your list,” he recommends.

However, one possible downfall of good lighting is that it will highlight any wear or scratched glass: it is essential to maintain the wellbeing of your store before illuminating it.

Bell suggests jewellers use white light as opposed to yellow: “It makes the jewellery look crisp and clean and the store new and bright.” She advises jewellers change their light bulbs every two months before they become too dim – especially near the display cases and counters.

As important as lighting is in a jewellery store, Coulter says it is a double-edged sword. “Jewellery is intimate so it’s difficult. As much as it needs to sparkle and be seen, you need to create an ambience that is not too bright.”

Most importantly... keep it fresh
Ultimately, Coulter says a big problem is that many retailers do not know how or where to start. She suggests drawing up a schedule of tasks. “Come up with a theme for your store and allow the theme to stay for a month up to six weeks. Draw up a display calendar, mark out some ideas and match your themes to holidays and seasons,” she advises.

By adhering to a schedule and keeping an eye on your surroundings, a full revamp may not be necessary – all it can take is a little tinkering every month or so to ensure a dynamic, edgy and well-presented look. And if jewellers can manage that, potential customers are sure to be impressed.

More reading:
Top 10 display tips for silver jewellery
How jewellers can scent their stores
Diarise your windows: mum's the word

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