Denis Caldora: How to Buy & Display Accessories Properly

Denis Caldora: How to Buy & Display Accessories Properly

Merchandising & sales expert Denis Caldora says there’s a science to finding the right mix to increase your profitability.

Get Organized
Before you can even think about accessorizing, you have to put your showroom in order.  By that, I mean you must classify the products you have, breaking them into style groupings. For example, put your bathroom lighting together, gather the crystal lamps and chandeliers in a section, maybe group the Contemporary styles together, or the kitchen lighting, and the outdoor selection.  Once you see what you have, you can better assess which types of accessories are needed where.  Then, judiciously mix in those accessories with the groupings they enhance.

Have the Proper Mindset
When you bring in accessories, you have to think of it as increasing the profitability of your showroom. Believe me, you’ll be boosting your bottom line not by the square foot, but by the cubic foot! You’re going to be able to use every square inch to maximize profits.  For example, with mirrors and artwork, you are utilizing the walls. With decorative area rugs, you’re using the floor.

Decorative accessories should be selected on the basis of underscoring the styles of chandeliers and portable lamps that you already have. Showing accessories that complement each style validates the look to the consumer.  The primary business we are in is lighting, but we buy accessories that go with the “suits” we have on display. Or think of accessories as the jewelry that a woman is looking for to go with a certain dress that she has at home. Accessories are an effective way of reinforcing a style to consumers, so they can say, “I have this look, but I never thought of putting a mirror like that with it. I like how that looks! I’m going to buy that for my living room right now.”

Borrow From Restoration Hardware
Think for a moment about what Restoration Hardware has done. They actually turned lighting into an accessory category to their hardware. They’ve expanded the categories they offer way beyond their core product. Why should we limit ourselves? We can buy anything that will enhance what we’re already selling. I know of several lighting showrooms who are selling jewelry.  I have seen quite a few successful lighting stores selling wall-mounted fireplaces.  We can bring in anything – as long as it validates the lifestyles that you are presenting. Who says we can’t bring in scented soaps, towel rings, tissue holders, a gorgeous vanity, or beautiful carpets for our bathroom vignettes? Why can’t we turn that bath section into a little boutique?  Buy accessories that will diversify your business while  accentuating your primary business.  We can’t live on lighting alone! The time is long overdue for us to diversify. Remember this rule though:  if something does not go with anything in your store, do not – I repeat, do not – buy it.

Price Accessories Right
Just as you present a three-tiered good, better, best assortment in your lighting selection, the same should hold true for accessories. Take the time to find out what the average home sale is in your area, the average monthly rental amount, as well as what the higher end of the market can sustain.  This information will help you buy – and price – your merchandise correctly. I like to have the 20/60/20 rule, with 20% on the lower-end, 60% as whatever the average cost would be for my market, and 20% would be over and above the average, on the high end. So if we’re talking about 10 items, two those would be priced around $15, I’d have six styles at between $25-$35, and two somewhere between $50 and $100.

Create Gift Promotions
Why do we give roses and chocolate on Valentine’s Day? Is it because the floral and chocolate industries have found a way to convince us to buy their products when they typically had a sales lull after the holidays?  We’re told, “Give the love of your life a diamond,” but why not “Give the light of your life the light of a lifetime?”  After all, a crystal chandelier will last just as long as a diamond!  It’s time to use our imaginations to create innovation promotions.  For example, a ceiling fan could be a great gift for Father’s Day, a desk lamp could be a great gift for graduation or a promotion, and for Mother’s Day, why not give Mom that chandelier she’s always wanted?

You could group gifts into a section marked “Gift Ideas for Under $100” etc. You can advertise that you have this assortment by putting a tab into the Lifestyle section of the local newspaper.

Location, Location, Location
Where should you put these gift promotions? I think the sweet spot is between the front door and the sales counter – that’s the most heavily trafficked area of the showroom.  Think of Disney World and how they have a souvenir and food area right as you enter the park, which is also precisely where you leave. They get you coming and going! Do the same in your showroom by placing the gift promotions similarly.

Think of your sales counter as Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World; all roads seem to lead there.  This is another opportunity for you to sell accessories. Around the sales counter, why not show ceiling fan pulls, chandelier shades, fabric chain covers, dimmers, decorative switchplates, and even specialty bulbs? Show a lamp or pendant with one those nostalgic bulbs that are all the rage right now. While people are waiting their turn at the sales counter, they’ll be inspired to add a few more items to their order. Opportunities are all around us. If you bring in accessories, you will be utilizing every square inch of your showroom profitability!


For more merchandising ideas from Denis Caldora head over to our Seasonal Display Home Page.

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