Picking the Right Clothing Display for Your Fashion Boutique.
People shop at fashion boutiques for a reason. Boutiques fill a niche for their customers, who may appreciate the style and brand of clothing the boutique carries, the personal attention they receive or the pleasing ambiance of the store. Also boutiques take the time to select items their customers may not discover anywhere else and allow their customers to express their individuality, as fashion should!
That’s why it’s important for all you boutique owners out there, to choose the right clothing display system for your store; displaying clothing in an artful and convenient way can help you create a relationship with the shopper, paving the way for customer loyalty & good word-of-mouth. But where to start? What do you need to consider before starting the whole process of choosing a clothing display system for your boutique? Well, that’s what we’re here for!
There are two Key questions you need to ask yourself
as you pick out your store displays:
1. Who Is My Target Customer?
Knowing your target customer will really help you when it comes to choosing effective retail displays. And by knowing, I don’t mean just demographic data like their age or income level, but their actual personality, behaviors and lifestyle.
We all remember that scene from the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ starring Julia Roberts, where Julia’s character walks into a Rodeo Drive boutique wearing her not so modest streetwalker outfit; and a pair of snobbish Beverly Hills saleswomen shame & dismiss her because of her appearance. As a result of this unfortunate interaction, she ends up spending a large amount of money at a competitor’s boutique assisted by her beloved Richard Gere.
Well even though it’s just a movie, it goes to show you that knowing your target customer inside and out is important! Julia has a lot of money she is more than willing to spend, but since the saleswomen allow prejudgments to affect their service, she ends up spending it somewhere else. Understanding what makes your customer tick, can help you and your boutique deliver high quality service and shopping experience! A good way to begin is by researching who buys your products & discover a bit about how they live their lives.
2. Which store display system best suits my brand & product?
Before you choose your store displays, you need to ask yourself – will this display highlight my product and will it be consistent with my store brand? Store display systems and fixtures play a very important role in how people shop and how much they spend. The reason for that is that people shop with their eyes first, that’s why products with an attractive packaging will sell much faster than products with unappealing packaging, regardless of which product is actually better. The same principal applies to your store display systems: they are equivalent to the packaging of a product - attractive displays will cause people to pull out their wallets and spend money in your store. However, you need to make sure the store display you choose is sending the right message, the message your customers want to “hear”. In other words – your displays need to communicate what your store is all about. For example: the material your displays are made of can say a lot about your brand and products: Glass – is associated with sophistication & luxury, steel/ metal – are associated with modern & minimal design while wood is associated with a more traditional design.
So Let’s Get Down to Business
Okay so after answering these two key questions – it’s time to get down to business. As a boutique, you need to set yourself apart. The more distinctive your store, the more your customers will remember it:
1. A theme or a look – compatible with the target customers
So the first thing you need to do is decide on a theme or look that will unite your displays. You can mix various types of clothing displays but they do need to blend in with each other.
Here are three examples, just to get your creative juices flowing, of fashion boutique themes that are compatible with the target customers & products being sold:
Here’s our first target customer – let’s call him - Businessman John:
Type of store: Men’s clothing boutique
Target customers: Career men who look for good quality, formal work attire.
Shopping behavior: Usually shops for high value items, conservative in his choice of styles, quality is more important than price
Favourite purchases: Ready-made suits, dress shirts, formal shoes
This type of boutique would probably have modern & elegant displays, such as the ones shown below, clean appearance, everything neat & organized and certainly no clutter to maintain a classy, high-end look:
Here’s our second target customer, let’s call her - Trendy Jenn:
Type of store: Women’s clothing boutique
Target customers: Wealthy fashionistas with a strong sense of style and the money to spend on it.
Shopping behavior: Very high spend on purchase, shops for designer labels, focuses on quality & style.
Favourite purchases: blouses & fitted tops, trousers, dresses, classic pumps, costume jewelry & Handbags.
This type of boutique would probably be very chic, lot’s of bright colors and a sleek & minimal display system such as the one shown below with spectacular visual displays – specially designed to attract customers’ attention:
And here’s our third target customer, let’s call her - Fashion for Less Sara:
Type of store: Women’s clothing boutique
Target customers: Student who buys the latest trends & finds shopping for clothes a pleasure, she is restricted in choice by her level of income.
Age: 18 – 25
Shopping behavior: Spends on carefully selected higher price items, finding the right key items is more important to her than the number of clothes in her wardrobe, her favorite stores are those which provide the newest fashions at an affordable price.
Favourite purchases: Jeans, camisole tops, casual boots, accessories.
This type of boutique would probably have a fashionable young vibe, and also be very warm and inviting. The customers are more than welcome to browse through the clothes and experience the latest trends first hand. The display system in this type of boutique should be a reconfigurable display system that will keep the store from becoming boring by looking the same all of the time. This is important for stores that wish to make easy display changes, without having to redecorate the entire space as the seasons, holidays and fashion change:
Okay so now that we have the main theme issue covered, there are still a few technical factors you need to consider before choosing the display fixtures / systems that are right for your boutique.
2. Where is the display going to go inside the store?
A word of advice - as you enter your store, the first 5-15 feet are known as the decompression zone. Most customers are not going to pay attention to displays or fixtures in this area, since they are not in a “shopping mode” yet. So leave this area open & free from merchandise and displays. As for the rest of your space, it is important to properly plan your store layout. Only after you have a complete floor plan, you’ll be able to decide on your store display system size, type and placement. For example: suspended displays, like the Cable system shown in the women’s boutique example, are great for window displays, as they allow a passer-by to clearly see the store interior.
3. How will the display be installed?
Ease-of-installation is another factor to consider when selecting display systems. When choosing a display system / fixture you need to make sure you understand if a professional installation is required or if it can be self-installed. This will affect your entire budget and needs to be decided before purchasing the displays.
Okay so before you go ahead with planning & research, let’s go back to the movies for a second… Remember that scene from ‘Pretty Woman’, mentioned earlier? Well, you know what happens next… Julia Roberts has just spent a day with her rich lover’s credit card. For the first time in her life, she has been treated like a queen. She walks down Rodeo Drive wearing a white dress paired with a wide-brimmed black hat. Then, she spots the store where just the day before, the pair of snobbish saleswomen shamed her for trying to shop while wearing her streetwalker outfit. So, she goes in, finds the woman who was rude to her and says: “You work on commission, right?” The saleswoman affirms this and then Julia shows her all the shopping bags and hat boxes dangling off her arms and says: “Big mistake! Big! HUGE!” Well, picking your boutique displays can be a difficult process, but if you make all the right choices (without making huge or big mistakes), your customers will surely thank you and leave your boutique happy, smiling and hopefully carrying a shopping bag!
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