As a class we recently went on a field trip to the Westfield Mall located right next door to our campus. Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are the anchor stores and various retail brands are throughout the mall. The students were given a set of questions to answer, based on their findings at the mall. It was kind of a scavenger hunt! I thought this would be a fun way to get out of the classroom for a day and see actual visual techniques “in action”. Below are some of their findings:
1. Choose one window you believe to be the most effective. Explain why.
The Louis Vuitton display outside of the mall entrance of Bloomingdale’s. Its simply eye-catching, and aptly illustrates that an LV bag is the cherry on top of life’s sweetest dessert. -Cindy L.
2. Choose one window you believe to be the least effective. Explain why.
This window is not effective because the colors in the background are too distracting, and they overshadow the product. The space in the window is not well used; they could have filled it with merchandise in a more pleasing way. The layout chosen to display the books is boring and expected. -Cynthia T.
The window that I found to be least effective was the MANGO window. Coming up from the escalator, the first thing that I noticed was the corner window cut straight through the mannequins body and face. The colors were very drab and come to think of it, there wasn’t any color at all. However, walking across the front of the store, you can clearly see the colors in the store are a lot brighter than from front, plain view. Colors like peach, tangerine, and hot pinks pop through the horrible displays blocking the windows. – Brandi M.
3. Name a store that featured Color Blocking – Horizontal Merchandising – Product Merchandising
J.Crew featured all three – Brandi M.
4. Name a store that features a “trend area”.
Bloomingdale’s makes use of trend areas to advertise what is new in the store. Like an editorial in a magazine, trend areas showcase the season’s must haves. -Cynthia T.
5. Name a store that uses printed graphics.
I found this one myself. It’s Bath and Body. Printed graphics are a cheap and easy way to decorate your windows.
Students also were asked to name a store that creates ambience with music or scent. Hands down the clear winners were Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. If you live in the US, all you have to do is just walk by one of these stores, you don’t even have to go in, and you can smell that strong perfume wafting out! I hear from my students who have worked there that customers complain all the time, but for some odd reason they won’t change their rule on spraying the store every 30 minutes!
These are some of the techniques I have been lecturing about in class:
- Color Blocking
- Horizontal/Vertical/Product Merchandising
- Trend Areas
- POP (point-of-purchase)
- Store Ambience
Feel free to ask questions if you need more assistance…..see you in class!