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Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box

Have you ever had deja vu at the mall? You wander from one big-box store to another and it’s like they’re all the same store. The displays all seem the same, the products all come from the same manufacturers, and it’s all just completely bland. As corporations get bigger and spread across the country, it can seem like all the personality is getting drained from the shopping experience. The truth is that’s actually good news for you, because it’s now that much easier to stand out from the crowd.

Stand out and win
To return to the example of the mall for a moment, imagine that you’ve just walked down a long hallway with big-box department stores on either side. Each one has nice window displays and a brightly lit floor with lots of merchandise. By the time you get to the end of that hall, will you remember the name of every store you walked past? Would any of them stick out at all? Probably not. When thinking about your store’s design, you need to have something that makes you stick out from the crowd.

This unique touch can extend throughout your displays, or it can be focused on one specific piece. Each store is different, but you’ll know what you need to do to stick in the minds of those passersby. Entrepreneur magazine said that your establishment’s first impression needs to be arresting – at its best it should really stop people in their tracks. Something like one of Firefly’s C3 custom color mannequins could really make your displays pop. Reimagine that long hallway, only this time, in the midst of all those bland big-box storefronts is one with bright, colorful clothing forms and racks. It stands out. It looks like a fun place to shop. That’s the store you need to be if you want to succeed in that crowded mall.

“You need to have something that makes you stick out from the crowd.”

Personality goes a long way
Some of the best retail experiences are those where the shopper can feel the amount of thought and heart that went into the layout and design of the establishment. Every corner of the store that exhibits your personality and brand is a little push toward a more enjoyable shopping experience. And you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Entrepreneur magazine went on to report that an accent wall can be a cheap way to pep up the look of your store. Choose a color from your overall motif, one that contrasts with the other walls, and you’ll see that it has an immediate effect. It can even make the space seem larger.

Against this wall, you can display contrasting or complementary colored items. You needn’t make the effect overly bold or gaudy either. It’s not about grabbing attention for attention’s sake. When properly fit into the overall motif, the accent wall can actually become a little more subtle and refined.

Cohesion and contrast as design tools
Just as your overall design should be cohesive and bring every element together to form a consistent motif, contrast can also work in your favor. Not only can you use contrast with the walls, as mentioned above, but you can use a mannequin of one color to display a piece of clothing that highly contrasts with it to make the piece more visually striking. According to North Dakota State University, contrast is often the most important part of a design simply because that’s what draws in the eyes of the onlooker. Take a page from magazine design and use contrast to organize information within your floor plan. Shoppers need to know where different departments are located, which merchandise is discounted, how much each piece costs and where the cashier is located. Contrast is a tool you can use to convey this information to customers.

For a bold example, try imagining that you want to display a top made of blue denim. Draping it over a form that’s grey, blue or black might cause the piece of clothing to fade into the mannequin. Shoppers’ eyes would pass right over it. However, if you put that same piece on one of Firefly’s unique graphic transfer displays, say one patterned with wood grain or zebra stripes, it would stand out completely. The patterns are eye-catching, but the clothing itself is made bolder by the contrast as well.

Sleek custom colors and bold graphic transfers will make shoppers remember your store.

Versatility is cost-saving and design-enhancing
When you’re preparing a retail space, you should think about the benefits of versatile materials. Racks, displays and other promotional items can last a long time, so it’s important that you are able to use them in various ways throughout the year. This means that you could use the same items in your spring displays as you do in your autumn displays. For example, you could use a C3 custom color round rack in your brand’s signature color during every season of the year. Or, you could find unique ways to use a graphic transfer pant form – use it in the summer to show off a pair of twill shorts and matching leather sandals and use it in the winter to display print leggings and boots.

Versatility may also play a role in the materials you choose for the more permanent fixtures in your store. In her book on interior design, Lynne Mesher, a professor at the Portsmouth School of Architecture in the U.K., wrote that timber, steel, vinyl and rubber are all extremely versatile materials. Steel works particularly well because it’s structurally sound and visually appealing. Vinyl can be a great choice for a customizable flooring material that can complement your other displays. Timber can make a space feel warm and inviting while remaining a subtle touch.

In every design choice you make, think about how it will set you apart from the big-box stores that clutter the retail landscape. Make your store shine with your own personality by thinking outside the box.