At the June LIGHTOVATION, the Lighting Showroom Association (LSA) held an educational session led by Quinn Sack, Visual Merchandising Manager at Hinkley Lighting, that focused on merchandising tips for showrooms.
Here are some of the ideas discussed.
Actions Showrooms Can Take Now
Pare It Down — Take a cue from the popular KonMari method by Marie Kondo and simplify and organize your showroom by getting rid of items that do not generate sales in your showroom. “You don’t need to show every style, in every size, and in every finish,” Sack told the audience.
Look Around —Sounds simple, but when showrooms become super-busy it’s easy to overlook those burnt-out light bulbs, damaged shades, empty boxes, torn or outdated signs, tilted fixtures, and dust. Write a list of what needs to be taken care of and then appoint an employee or two to get it done asap.
Ask for Tools — More manufacturers are making the lifestyle photography from their catalogs available to retailers. You can use these images in your advertising, on your website, or even as backdrops for vignettes.
Free Advertising — When night falls and the store is closed, don’t let your showroom fade into the darkness. Not only is keeping a few lights on a good security measure, but turning on the lamps and fixtures in your front windows after hours makes passersby subtly aware of your business.
Ideas to Implement Soon
Brighten Up — Dark-colored walls and carpeting are a look of the past; “Use light, neutral tones throughout your showroom. Color should only be an accent,” Sack said.
Be a Good Host — Have coffee (both regular and decaf), tea, hot chocolate, and bottled water readily available and offered to customers.
Assess Your Space — “Create structure in your showroom so that fixtures don’t get lost,” advised Sack, who recommended using mesh sheers as dividers and backdrops. Leaving obvious “holes” in displays is a no-no. “Replace missing/sold items as soon as possible,” she commented. Review sales regularly and be proactive in keeping items fresh & relevant.
Become a Style Spotter — Pay attention to trend-forward TV shows and design publications. The TV programs Sack tunes into are Property Brothers, Home Town, Love It or List It, House Hunters (Renovation), Flip or Flop, and Windy City Rehab. Among the consumer magazines Sack regularly peruses are Elle Décor, Veranda, HGTV magazine, Interior Design; the trade publications she mentioned are VMSD (Visual Merchandising & Store Design) for display ideas and enLIGHTenment magazine for lighting trends. “Be knowledgeable about trends in your area and recreate them with vignettes,” she advised.
Teach by Example — “Utilize your space to show a variety of lighting techniques,” Sack stated. Examples could be wall-washing a feature wall, illuminating the interior of glass-fronted cabinets, spotlighting artwork, accenting under and above cabinets in toekicks and above soffits in kitchen & bath vignettes, step & shelf lighting, plus inside closets.
Instill Loyalty — Know more than your customers; participate in training whenever possible. “Build relationships with your local builders, electricians, and designers,” Sack said. Provide clean, comfortable areas for assessing product selections and design layouts. For a better customer experience, train counter and office staff to assist in the showroom when it is busy. “Be transparent with branding, item numbers, and prices,” she advised. “Keep key items in stock and mark them in a subtle way. Price at, or even slightly below, MAP; don’t always be ‘on sale.’”
Get Social — Use social media to encourage walk-in traffic, expand your customer base, and even close sales. Sack suggested, “Why not offer something like, ‘Follow us on Facebook or Instagram & save 5%! Follow us on both & save 10%!’”