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Find your autumn niche to stand out from the competition

Find your autumn niche to stand out from the competition

Our blog has already touched on seasonal and holiday displays, but we don’t want to stop there. Many stores focus on niche topics and it’s a good brand strategy to target a specific audience. If your business sells to a niche audience why should you bother with the same general themes that every other store is going to use? Traditional displays have their places and, if executed properly, can be unique and memorable, but for today’s post we’re going to focus on more specific themes.

Fall is a key sales period for catering to outdoors enthusiasts and hunters. In most states, turkey hunting season starts around September or October, which means that, before they go on the lookout for game, shoppers will be hunting for good deals on new clothing. Hunters take their apparel seriously because it has to keep them warm and safe from injury.

Field and Stream magazine recommended that hunters wear light-weight thermal jackets that trap body heat without being too bulky. But it isn’t all about clothing – the magazine also showed off several camouflage backpacks that are rugged, stylish and immensely useful. When planning a hunting-themed display, try to create the image of a well-supplied huntsman. You can use a mannequin to display all kinds of gear, from bright orange caps down to water resistant boots. If your business sells larger hunting equipment like hunting stands, make use of these in your displays to create a better sense of how all your products will work together out in the field.

Raw steel rolling racks can display shirts with matching shoes on the top shelf.Raw steel rolling racks can display shirts with matching shoes on the top shelf.

It seems like nowadays, men wear plaid shirts year round, especially in northern states – but what about women? Elle magazine said plaid patterns are still firmly part of fall fashion, so think about creating a plaid-themed display. This season, plaid shirts, skirts and dresses are in, but how can you turn a pattern into a theme? In this case, you could use the general autumnal motif as a backdrop. Place your plaid pieces in a landscape of fallen leaves, giant pumpkins and bales of hay. Dresses and shirts look good draped over patterned jersey form covers and you can hang the rest of the related merchandise on one of Firefly’s new raw steel rolling racks. The rack’s burnished streaks fit nicely with the fall color scheme.

Another great thing about plaid is that it can go well with so many other products. Experiment a little and place your plaid displays near other products that would match them. You just might get two sales instead of one. For example, long sleeve plaid shirts look preppy under navy blue or gray cardigans and would fit nicely into a back-to-school theme. A tartan scarf might look irresistible wrapped over a tweed jacket. If you play around a bit, you’ll find that this is a surprisingly versatile pattern.

It’s still a little early to be selling snow boots, but according to GQ magazine, leather boots make a great addition to any man’s formal or casual attire. Planning a display around footwear can be a little more difficult than with other types of clothing. Mannequins don’t work as well, because their feet are too far below shoppers’ eye lines. You’ll probably use a display table, shoe rack or shelf to keep your products at a proper height. This is another area in which the raw steel rack can help you out. The rack has a wood grain shelf on which you can display a few pairs of sturdy boots. Below them, display some matching belts.

Women also tend to wear more boots in the fall season, so don’t ignore them either. Cowboy boots, tall moccasins and laced up long boots go great with other fall staples like leggings, jeans and knitted leg warmers. Try using a sitting mannequin to display these items together with matching tops.

Leather jackets
Leather jackets are perfect for brisk fall weather, so why not make a display around looking cool and staying warm? On the popular men’s blog The Art of Manliness, Antonio Centeno described the many ways men can wear leather jackets to display a sense of attitude while protecting themselves from the elements . Use this preexisting cultural touchstone to add a little of your own attitude to your fall display. Leather jackets are meant to be touched and inspected before buying, as most men are looking to make a purchase that will last several years or longer, so display the items in a part of your store where shoppers can examine them in good lighting. Put up a mirror nearby so that when a shopper tries it on, they can immediately see the effect it gives them.

A black leather jacket matched with a scarf, boots, and sunglasses can make a woman look super cool and confident. Create a pair of mannequins to show off how both men and women can exhibit their style this fall.

“When planning your fall displays, reach out to your community and set up some cross promotion.”

Sports teams sell a lot of merchandise to their enthusiastic fan-bases. You might not be able to sell professional sporting teams’ products in your store, but you could use some of their tactics on a smaller scale. In their “Encyclopedia of Sports Management and Marketing” Linda Swayne and Mark Dodds talked about how major sports teams join with other large brands to do cross promotion. For example, a football team might join with a sports drink manufacturer to create a special, limited time bottle featuring the team’s logo. You can take this concept and apply it to your own store.

Are there any local sports teams in your community? They could be a part of a community league or from the local high school. Fans can be just as rabid for smaller-scale teams as they are for the big franchises. When planning your fall displays, reach out to your community and set up some cross promotion. You could sell some of their merchandise in your store, and they can display an advertisement for your establishment at their games. People will take notice of your involvement in the community and look at your business more positively.

These are just a few ways you can make you seasonal displays unique. The key to coming up with a good strategy is to think about what your shoppers love and how your products fit into those categories. Have fun, play around and always listen to what your customers have to say.