Window Displays – Are they still needed in today`s retail sector?
Why retailers need to retain window display expertise
The question raises the issue of cost, benefit and need and in today`s retail industry those are three very relevant points that you can guarantee most marketing managers will consider.
What makes us go into a shop when we are walking down the high street? It could be for familiarity or for convenience, either way, as customers we want to be inspired by something eye-catching. Something that focusses our attention and grabs us, whether it`s by brand message, colours or dramatic effect. Aside from walking into a store for warmth during those Winter months, we tend to be drawn to shops that appeal to us from the outside and this can be subconscious, without you even knowing that it`s pulled you in. This can`t be done on the internet.
Email marketing campaigns, targeted ad campaigns can draw you in but it`s totally dependent on what you are doing online. It`s limited in comparison.
With high street shopping, if you are out and about and you are not necessarily looking to buy anything, you can end up making unexpected purchases and wonder how it happened. That`s the power of brand marketing and merchandising. It turns a 50% chance of a purchase, into something greater.
It can sound like a lot of psycho-analysis and second-guessing but it`s really not that in-depth. The fact is we are tailor made to be stimulated visually and this is the one major tool retailers can use in their battle against the online market, which is causing a big dent in high street sales.
What about the struggling industry and prosperous web marketers.
April saw a 2.3% drop in sales volume for retailers and this was partly due to the wet weather we suffered in the UK but it`s not just these factors that can effect business and the internet is making it increasingly difficult to justify buying something for another £10 here, or an extra £5 there when it`s easily bought online with minimal fuss. Amazon, supermarket websites and price comparison sites are slowly bringing actual physical retail units to their knees and although there has been an improvement recently, the advantage will now always be to the web stores.
It`s tough on the high street and it will only get tougher as the web is utilised more and more but I don`t think this means the end for high street shopping.
Tough times, so why bother with expensive store marketing?
There has never been a better time to throw caution to the wind and really let the imagination fly with your store window displays and branding ideas. The fact is that there are millions of people who still actually “shop” in the traditional sense of the word and because the online retailers are linking offers and promotional material between stores and their web counter-parts, they are starting to integrate the two, rather than ignore one over the other.
Retailers are not going to cut off one arm of their business, simply because with online presence and a high street contribution, their brand is getting maximum exposure. Unit rates are high and staff costs can be too, but eateries, café`s, restaurants, fast food joints, Museums and entertainment establishments all help to bring in tourism and generate finance for our cities. Can you really imagine all that without the existence of shops? Impulse buys, Sales and in-store expertise and service still count for something in today`s society and I can`t see that changing, no matter how invested companies become in their online endeavours.