DDi - August 2011 - (Page 30)
Visual Super Section
Traditional big-box retailers are not only shrinking their stores, they’re upping their visual impact
By Alison Embrey Medina, Executive Editor
ake a walk through your local big-box mass merchant these days, and the warehouse-style, churn-and-turn model of retailing has gone out the window. Instead, you might ﬁnd color-coded towels stacked on lowerheight gondolas, creating a colorful aesthetic that opens sightlines. You might see vignettes showcasing furniture lines merchandised fully as if straight out of your living room. You might ﬁnd endcaps presenting artfully curated product selections that entice you to touch and feel the merchandise. You may ﬁnd a bevy of color-coordinated and themed merchandising messages on signage and graphics throughout the aisles. You might even ﬁnd—gasp!—a mannequin or two. From the big guns at Walmart and Target to specialty big-boxers like Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PETCO and OfﬁceMax, visual merchandising is certainly making a marked statement at the store level. One might say the poor economic malaise is to blame (or should be cheered!) for the uptick in companies rebirthing visual merchandising as a focus in-store. When the capital is not there to build stores from scratch, renovations and quick refreshes become the norm, and visual merchandising is given opportunity to step up to the plate to refresh and reinvent the customer experience, often relying more on creativity than dollar signs. “I think the tough economy deﬁnitely opened doors (and windows!) to the extraordinary talent of visual leaders,” says Judy Bell, group manager, creative merchandising solutions for Minneapolisbased Target Corp., which recently revamped its visual merchandising department. “Shoppers are more selective than ever before about where they spend their money, so it’s important to carefully consider every element of the in-store experience and how it impacts shopping habits. I have never before seen more mannequins and creative visual displays than in my recent trips to Manhattan.” Typically in today’s retail world, the impact of visual at the store level relates directly to the company’s viewpoint on the value of visual
Target employed bold graphics to debut its Calypso line.
merchandising as an organizational entity. “Target understands the power of visual merchandising, because we take a thoughtful look at how it helps drive shopping behaviors and sales,” Bell says.
Visual merchandising reinforces our brand, tells a story and helps products stand out and sell.
—Mark Brodeur, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
“Given its impact in those areas, there is a strategy in place to ensure visual merchandising is a key part of the overall Target experience.” For Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores
Inc., the role of visual merchandising appears to have never looked better. “Visual merchandising is very important for Walmart, as it is for any retailer,” says Mark Brodeur, senior director, visual merchandising, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “For Walmart, it’s important because of what it does for our customers. It helps our customers navigate through our stores, educates them to the newest technology at shelf level, and highlights great items at our everyday low prices. Visual merchandising also reinforces our brand, tells a story, and helps products stand out and sell.” And with store footprints continually shrinking to smaller formats, “less big”-box stores have to make the product’s impact that much more enticing for the consumer. And not only that, but someone has to ﬁgure out where to put all
Photo: Stephen Allen
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - August 2011
DDi - August 2011
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Channel Focus: Green
Big-impact visualShopping with Paco
Store Windows Showcase
Shopping with Paco
DDi - August 2011