The following is part of Proforma’s guest blog series and is written by Emily Potter, Content Marketing Manager for Outdoor Cap Company.
No matter how you display headwear and other promotional products, allow me to first emphasize the importance of a meaningful, memorable, and positive experience for not only your direct customers, but anyone that may pay a visit to your facility, or pass by your booth.
Part of being in the marketing and advertising business is always being on our A-game, especially when it comes to showcasing our products and services.
Whether you’re exhibiting at a trade show or accepting walk-in embroidery customers off the street, you can use the tips in this article to ensure you give off a high-end merchandising vibe to your customers.
Create a logical flow of traffic.
The first thing you need to do is to choose the best way to organize the flow of traffic. You can break up the booth into segments that represent where a customer will interact with those particular products. Some of the most common categories include the kitchen, office, and car.
You can simplify that idea by separating products into classifications like apparel, entertainment, or technology.
It’s important that you display the products in these categories in a way that flows, so your customers can experience your products the way you want them to. Humans respond to experiences and feelings in a much more positive way than they do to sales tactics.
You can use seating arrangements, meeting rooms, or tabletops as a way to break the room up into sections.
Next, look at the layout of your store and decide how your ideal customer interaction would go.
Imagine a new lead walks in cold. How would you show them around? Follow the trail you hope to take from greeting all the way to sealing the deal. Do you prefer to start with big-ticket items and feel the client out or begin with simple products and work your way up?
Use this imaginary scenario to help you decide how to arrange furniture and displays to accommodate the flow of traffic. Getting into the habit of following certain patterns around the showroom will make you more comfortable in your ability to sell different products. It will also help you to quickly familiarize yourself with the location of each specific promotional item. When a customer has an idea of what they want, you can take them directly to all of their choices within that criteria.
The main goal of your showroom, store, or trade show booth is to make the buying process as simple and seamless as possible for your customers. But it never hurts to make it easier on yourself as well.
Lighting is everything.
Whether we’re talking about selfies or showrooms, lighting is everything.
If you’re lucky enough to design a brand-new showroom, lighting is one of the most important topics to discuss with your contractor. The right lighting can completely change the atmosphere of a room.
You can use light and color to draw your customers’ eyes directly to where you want them to look. Use spotlights on key products to highlight them, and up-lighting throughout the store for a comfortable, evening-like ambiance.
You’ll see up-lighting in a lot of swanky restaurants. It encourages people to relax, settle in, and order that second bottle of wine. You too can use this to your advantage.
I love this look of an all-white display case with individual lighting for each space. Each item pops against the stark white background. You can do the same thing with a slightly different feel if you use black units.
At Outdoor Cap, we use a similar look, but with a more natural wood to match our brand personality. Outdoor Cap is just over 40 years old [link] with a rich company history embedded in the great outdoors, so we try to incorporate that whenever possible.
No matter what type of display you use, I encourage you to use soft, muted hues in your wall color, flooring, ceiling, etc. so that the entire focus of the room is on the promotional products themselves. Look at the carpet they use in most casinos and do the exact opposite.
Think of it as a retail store.
The difference between yours and a traditional retail store is your customers don’t leave your store with a product in-hand. They leave after having seen and touched the products you have available and (hopefully) placing a hefty order.
But you are still selling the products on your shelves, so it’s important that you maintain them properly.
Apparel should be clean, free of wrinkles and lint, and neatly folded, hung, or displayed on mannequins. Different cap styles should be displayed on display heads or other molds to maintain their proper shape.
Shelving and products like drinkware should be free of dust and debris. Floors should be swept and vacuumed regularly.
One of the most important things to avoid is clutter, which can be quite a task in an industry that is sometimes unflatteringly referred to as Trinkets and Trash.
If you take a look at this example, you’ll see it’s a bit overwhelming. If I walked into that showroom, I think my claustrophobia would slowly start to set in.
Remember what I said about making this process as stress-free as possible?
You don’t have to display every single item that you offer. Display your bestsellers at all times, but everything else can be rotated in and out. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.
Consider utilizing a TV or a tablet station that displays additional options, colors, decoration techniques, etc. It’s much more visually pleasing to see a single product and then swipe through all the capabilities on a screen than to walk into a rainbow of coffee mugs in all shapes and sizes.
Of course, books and catalogs are another option, but do consider going paperless. It’s 2019. Do it for the environment.
Do retail stores stock the same products year-round?
The final tip I have for you is to update your space and update it often. You should be re-arranging things at a minimum every quarter or season, with additional updates made for all major holidays.
Highlight your stadium merchandise and pumpkin-themed items in the fall. Roll out your best baseball caps and memorabilia for Opening Day. Move high-end corporate gifts towards the entrance around Christmas time. You should also showcase any award-winning products to brag on yourself a little bit.
Changing things up allows you the ability to test out what works and what doesn’t.
Want to learn more about the value of headwear and other promotional products? Check out Outdoor Cap’s two-time PPAI Gold Pyramid award-winning blog: Hatswork! Hatswork is a free resource used to spread the good news of promotional products for businesses of all sizes.