Ways to stay afloat in the world of retailBY Australian Retailers Association
With bricks-and-mortar frequently under threat in an unforgiving economic climate and made to compete with online shopping trends, small and medium retailers can look to the big brands in the flagship stores of New York City for answers.
Creating a shopping experience.
To quote from NY’s leading educator in visual merchandising, Eric Faigenbaum, “the retail environment must be regarded as a tool of communication. Visual merchandising is therefore more important than ever before. It is the language used by a retail environment to communicate quality messages to the targeted customer.”
Visual merchandising can be defined generally as window displays -including in-store displays and retail design, merchandising, shelving and signage. It is basically the overall “retail experience” within a retail environment.
The luxe brands and flagship department stores of NYC have huge visual merchandising teams along with big budgets to ensure the customer experience and their expectations are being met and exceeded. This is especially apparent during the Christmas/holiday period.
During the holidays, the iconic department stores of NYC pull out all the stops to grab the attention of passers-by and heighten the customer experience. Their bold window displays grab people’s attention and are expressed as a “gift” to NYC.
The competition between the department store window displays is fierce. Huge crowds of visitors flood to the city to be wowed during “the shopping weekends” - first two weeks of December.
For the Saks Fifth Avenue 2018 Holiday window display, 124 Broadway dancers flooded the street which was coupled with Saks’ famous light show. The spectacle, which was a collaboration between Saks and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, referenced an ode to the grandeur of Broadway.
But what can the small to medium local retailer in Australia gain from this spectacular experience?
There is no doubt that better window and in-store displays create better product flow and brand sales, which positively impact your bottom line. While big brand national stores have big budgets and specially trained visual merchandising staff dedicated to displays, small and medium sized retailers here in Australia can gain a lot from the NYC retail tour experience, without blowing out their budgets. So too, visual merchandisers here in Australia can benefit by taking advantage of the opportunity to network and lift their profiles onto the global stage.
NYC retail tour runs for 7 days and leaves from Sydney to NYC on 2 December 2019. It includes a 3 day intensive visual merchandising workshop by leading industry educators, NY’s top ranking guided tour of the flagship store windows, an exclusive cocktail party, a Broadway show as well as 2 days of sightseeing and cultural field trips with local guides. Get in contact with Vittoria to make your booking as spaces are limited: 0404 154 079 or go to nycretailtour.com.au
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.