Beauty Store Business

OCT 2018

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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Page 59 of 67

58 October 2018 | Bergdorf Goodman or Barneys New York, or about each brand instead? She explains that a big part of the professional's role is to establish a visual identity and a point of difference from competitors that's cohesive throughout the store. You should be ready to explain how your store competes in the marketplace, whether it's offering lower prices, being different or providing a particular store experience. Studach explains: "Knowing those things helps us understand how to create a hierarchy of shopping when we physically design a store. Where do we place a certain product in the store? How much emphasis do we give it? How do we give it emphasis?" These considerations also influence another important aspect of the undertaking: creating traffic patterns. "We're always thinking about traffic patterns and focal points," Studach says. "We want to create a traffic pattern that encourages people to look at other things. Customers may come in for one type of item, and we help them understand how to get there. But once they get there, how can we lead them to something new?" Displays do more than just establish the store experience, Lefeld adds. She explains that how products are displayed on a shelf communicates to the customer whether they are welcome to interact with the products, or are expected to browse and work with a sales associate. These are just some of the components retailers ought to consider as they explore upgrading their displays and store environments. THE INVESTMENT AND ROI It's impossible to provide a general pre- diction for the cost, the duration and the return on investment of retail design and merchandising projects. There are too many variables involved. However, a retailer should know that design and merchandising professionals are prepared to be as creative as necessary to deliver the concept within the budget. So it's worth exploring options with them if your store could use a boost in profit, increased traffic, more brand affiliations or even a new customer base. "There's a lot of ways to get bang for your buck at a lower cost, such as making use of existing assets and modifying them, which could mean refinishing or augmentation," Studach says. "There are a lot of things you can do with assets you already own." Friedman explains, "Everything doesn't have to be custom. It's like how people shop today, high-low. You can wear your Levi's with your Chanel purse. You are able to do the same, on some level, in retail. You pick and choose where your priorities are, where you want to spend your money." She says it's not unheard of to build out the front of the store using upscale materials and elements, while simultaneously outfitting the entire back of the house with IKEA cabinets. What is important is building in modularity, flexibility and updatability, with a growth plan in mind. This way, your store can accommodate future changes, such as product mix-ins and new brands, she explains. Lefeld adds that retailers looking for cost-effective options can also invest in merchandising tools such as risers and props, which provide flexibility. And displays that allow shelves to be removed, pegboard systems to be added, graphics to be swapped out and other versatile arrangements are also great for keeping budgets under control. A retailer should prepare for the time allotment involved in a store redesign, as it is unlikely to be a quick turnaround. But these projects do have their perks. It turns out that consumers get excited about remodels and sales tend to go up at least 20 percent, according to Studach. How well a store promotes and advertises its improvements makes all the difference. However, the boost in profits following the completed redesign can vary widely. Studach says that a client of King Retail Solutions saw a 70 percent lift in sales after its redesign. One department had carried a product that wouldn't sell and was regularly being thrown out before the redesign. After, the store couldn't keep the product in stock because it was flying off the shelves. Friedman says RPG clients have seen anywhere from 20 percent to 200 percent growth following their redesigns. But they had to make the investment to see the gain. Retailers must see their investments in store design and merchandising as investments in their own brands, she says. "The more highly executed, well-designed fixtures and environments retailers have, they're not only going to attract more customers; they're going to attract more brands. They have to look at it from multiple levels. In this day and age, that whole piece of it is competitive: What brand can you bring into your store? What companies want to be affiliated with you?" Furthermore, if you want to reach an entirely new demographic, a store redesign can help you achieve that, too. Ultimately, how a store looks and how products are displayed determine whether customers enter into a compelling brand experience when they walk through the door or an encounter that is merely transactional. That's the impact of strong design and visual merchandising. ■ Manyesha Batist is a freelance editor and journalist based in Denver, CO. "The more highly executed, well-designed fixtures and environments retailers have, they're not only going to attract more customers; they're going to attract more brands." —Ellen L . Friedman, EVP, RPG To stay within budget, flexible displays that can be easily updated are key. A store redesign can increase profits by upwards of 20 percent. From top: courtesy of King Retail Solutions, RPG

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