At trade shows recently, I saw so many beautiful stands and eye-catching displays and the efforts that manufacturers go to, to showcase their brand and products to potential retailers. Colour schemes, repetitive displays for impact, backdrops and detailed information about the brands.
I also saw lots of deep conversations happening between retailers and those manufacturers, during which the brands were being explained, the history given, the colours being shown and reasons being told for how this season’s collection has come to life.
Imagine then, a few months from now, when some of those pieces are sitting on a shelf in a boutique somewhere, alone, a partial segment of the full family of products from which it was created. No background, no eye-catching repetition and no brand story being given.
Where’s The Story?
Think back to one of your better supplier meetings, what did they say, what did they show you to convince you to invest in their products? Usually it takes a while for that process to evolve. You find them online or at a show, you dig around to get an idea who the company is and what they are ‘known’ for. You get to know their brand story and perhaps their manufacturing processes. You look for a hook. You make contact, you ask them more about their products, you get shown around or sent a full catalogue and then eventually you decide to purchase a small cross-section of their products.
Compare that buying cycle with the one of your customer. Your customer walks into your store or lands on your e-store, looks around and for a few minutes those products catch their eye. They pick one up, decide if they like it, check the price and immediately have to make a decision whether to buy it. But their knowledge of the product is very limited unless one of the sales assistants can provide some background or information on the material for example or if the brand story is written there somewhere on the e-commerce product page.
Consider telling more of your brand stories – use imagery, signboards, swing tags, blackboards, branded display stands. There are lots of ways to portray the story in your merchandising. Pick out the key bits of information – perhaps it is made locally or in an eco-factory with minimal environmental impact. Perhaps it is a ‘mumpreneur’ brand or a family business that has passed through a few generations. Pick out details that made those products appeal to you and help your customers to know more during their buying cycle. It will help them to make a decision, particularly on products that are ‘nice to have’s or luxuries’ as opposed to every day essentials. Let’s encourage sales by improving the customer buying process.