For first-time boutique owners and long-time retail veterans alike, there are many debates around the basic principles of design, display and layout. It’s easy enough to say that you want your merchandise displayed so that it’s easy to see and touch, but what does that look like in practice? That’s where the debates begin.
1. Hanging v. folded
What’s the best way to display clothing, folded or hanging? You could ask 10 different retailers and get 10 different answers.
Folded clothing looks professional, and it takes up less space, meaning you can fit more inventory onto your show floor. You could display folded sweaters or pants on our cherry display table set and it would allow shoppers to browse the items at a comfortable viewing level. At the end of the day, you might have to refold some of the pieces that were picked up and put back by shoppers – but many retailers consider that a small price to pay for convenience and aesthetics.
Clothing on a hanging rack, such as our raw steel rolling rack, is very easy for the customer to see, feel and peruse without putting your display into too much disorganization. For jackets, blazers and dresses, a rack is really the ideal option as it prevents wrinkles and creases. However, as JackThreads reported, some materials, like wool, should never be displayed on a rack.
So what’s the best option for your boutique? It depends on your merchandise, store size and layout as well as your unique design sensibility. A small boutique selling women’s clothing might wish to display t-shirts, pants and sweaters on a black table set and hang the dresses and blouses on a fleur-de-lis rolling rack. If you’re having trouble deciding what’s best for you, just give us a call and our knowledgeable staff will help you with the decision.
2. Straight v. looped
The hanging v. folded debate leads directly to a discussion about the store layout as whole. We’ve all been in second-hand shops where the racks seem laid out in a random pattern with little room to move between them. At best, a cluttered store might make some customers uncomfortable – at worst, they may miss some items they would otherwise end up purchasing. But even when considering other designs, there is some debate about which is best. Looped and straight design are two of the most common.
In a looped layout, the shelves and racks form a circle or square around which the shopper can easily move, often passing endcaps filled with impulse-purchase items. According to FitSmallBusiness, you should consider this layout if your store features a lot of different items or several distinct sections.
At the end of the day, the answer to this debate comes down to the items you want to feature, and the customer experience. If you’re a new boutique owner, take these two debates into serious consideration as you cross off the items on your pre-opening check list. If you’ve been in the business for a while, it’s still a good idea to evaluate the basics every now and again to ensure you’re getting the most out of your space.The straight layout resembles a grid with lots of room to move. The Apple store, for instance, features a straight design. The great thing about this layout, when used in clothing boutiques, is that it allows customers to browse items without brushing up against the rack behind them.