I Do Windows


Posted in Store Design by Arcadia on December 4, 2011

Planograms – learn this term!  I’ve been wanting to do a post on planograms for a long time now, but for some reason it kept slipping my mind.  I’ve been feeling incredibly guilty and foolish for not covering this topic in-depth in class.  EVERY visual merchandiser should know what planograms are and how important they are in our line of work.

Planograms are a visual tool retailers use to show in detail where everything will go.  It’s the diagram or layout of the selling floor. They can be simple or very complex.  They can be done by a hand-sketch or with a software program (the most common, nowadays).  Sometimes they are even provided to the retailer by the vendor.  They show you exactly how they want a wall, for instance, to be merchandised.  If you are a retailer who does not use planograms then make this your New Year’s resolution!

Planograms are effective because:

  • You have better control of inventory
  • Your staff knows where and how to replenish merchandise
  • You can visually layout merchandise in a way that’s easier for the customer
  • You can plan your product adjacencies
  • Selling space isn’t wasted

Some retailers may already be using something of the sort and just didn’t know the technical name for it, but nonetheless all merchandisers know the importance of planograms.  Chain stores use them for consistency throughout their stores and independent stores use them to maximize their selling space.

Besides giving you the picture of how the selling space will look they also give you the details on the number of facings and the depth.  The facings are the number of units for that particular item (or SKU) and the depth is the number of units stocked one behind the other.

Planograms are the lifeblood of grocery stores and big box chain stores, and looking at all of the merchandise they stock, you can see why.  Grocery stores use planograms to optimize shelf space and control inventory:

Clothing retailers tend to focus more on presentation and visual appeal when using planograms:

There are many software programs and services out there to help you learn more and get started if your store is big enough and you choose to subcontract this service:

Happy Planning!

The Display Calendar

Posted in Display Calendar, Fashion 49 by Arcadia on April 18, 2011

The last paragraph from the post: What is good display?  Got me thinking about the display calendar and how important it is to the visual merchandisers.

Displays aren’t installed haphazardly, well professional ones aren’t!  Just about everyone follows a display calendar so you know when displays need to be changed according to the season, trend, or sales event.  This is especially true for the window team!

The calendar is an essential tool for the visual merchandiser, it helps you anticipate the upcoming promotions, plan out your process, and make sure things go according to plan.  It’s also a way to communicate the fashion merchandising team, as they will want to make sure merchandise that is to be promoted is in the store at the designated time.

Just as the world of business has a “fiscal year” – and they don’t always start with January – so can a display calendar.  Choose when you want your “year” to start.  Most big retailers with in-house crews use Christmas as the start of their year.  Your calendar doesn’t even have to run the traditional 12-months.  Some retailers even use 18-months to really plan ahead!  I would even advocate for a six to eight month calendar.  Why?

Fashion is a quickly evolving industry.  Sometimes planning too far ahead and feeling as if you are stuck with that plan doesn’t give you much room to adapt to the trends.

When planning your calendar be as creative as you want with it – hey that is what we do – but make sure your team and everyone else who uses it can read and understand it!

  1. Always put your big promotions on there first: major sales, Christmas, Back to School, things you know are traditional and don’t change.
  2. Next schedule your smaller promotions: Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day.
  3. Once you have these on your calendar this allows you to see the weeks you need to fill in with trends, promotions, or new collections set to arrive.
  4. Don’t forget to have a discussion with your fashion merchandising department as they may have special events they want displayed in the windows and store.

Now that you know what promotions and holidays are coming up you can look at your budget, allocate accordingly, and order materials/props well in advance.  Don’t forget to schedule time to remove your old displays as well, this usually doesn’t take all day, but it’s still important to give yourself time in the schedule for it.

I don’t care how big or small your store is, you still need to give yourself a display calendar.  I hear customers say all the time how disappointed they are that certain stores don’t change out their windows often enough!  Keep yourself on a regular schedule and your displays will always be fresh and new!

(image via: lushlee)

The Limited makes a comeback!

Posted in Retail News by Arcadia on October 31, 2010

I had no idea The Limited was still around.  Most of the stores here in the Bay Area have been gone (if one is still around can someone tell me where….), but I do have fond memories of shopping there.  One of my favorite cable knit sweaters came from there, but I digress.  Between Contempo, Club Monaco, Macy’s and various other retailers; The Limited is one store I never worked at during college, they were ugly in my opinion.  I’m glad to read their owners thought so too.

I encourage you to read this article posted on VMSD about The Limited’s comeback.  They used to be the go-between Contempo and Ann Taylor.  I’m curious to see how well the new Limited does.  Have they been out of the game too long?  Have other retailers like BEBE, Forever 21, Loft, Zara, and Mango stolen their mojo?

From the slide show pictures at VMSD it looks like the new store is going after the Ann Taylor demographic, maybe J. Crew but without Jenna Lyon’s chic-ness.  Time will tell….

(image via: VMSD)

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The History of Visual Merchandising – cont’d

Posted in Fashion 49, History of Visual Merchandising by Arcadia on February 14, 2010

The role of the visual merchandiser is an ever-changing one.  Just as brands exist within a store, the stores themselves have become brands.  You don’t expect to see the same merchandise at JC Penney as you would at Barneys?  This is important for the visual merchandiser because you are given the task of communicating the store’s image through your displays.

And this is becoming harder for us to do.  Why?  Because we are being faced with unprecedented competition, retailers didn’t have years ago.  Brick and mortar retailers are facing one of the biggest challenges to traditional shopping.  Any idea on what that is?

Click here for the answer

Here’s a clue of what it looks like:

Retailers are under a lot of pressure to attract and keep customers coming into their stores when shopping from home has become so convenient and price competitive.  Visual merchandisers are key in attracting and keeping a customer’s attention.

Luckily shopping is a social activity and many people do like to go out just to see what’s new!  I for one am one of those persons, and I know many others are too.

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