Brick-and-Mortar Staging: The New How-To Guide

There’s never been a better time to highlight the importance of getting brick-and-mortar staging right. It’s a unique moment in fashion: most direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are excellent with e-commerce, marketing and communications and data and analytics, while very few know much at all about the brick-and-mortar sphere. Due to the runaway success of the top DTC brands in the space, much of the market (DTC or otherwise) moved so heavily into e-commerce that the industry lost its touch for the physical store. 

Thankfully, times have changed. With the proliferation of pop-up shops and digitally native brands opening brick-and-mortar stores, it’s become critical to understand how to strategically merchandise a store. 

1. Use Music and Lighting to Emphasize Your Intentions.

The music and lighting of your store should be the right fit for all of the product categories onboard, the atmosphere you aim to create, your price points and the spirit of your brand. It’s best to work with a lighting designer, if your budget permits you to do so. If not, be sure to check out our free download doc for tips. Download “How to Use Lighting to Boost In-Store Sales”.

2. Outfit Your Store with the Right Seating.

What products do you have on offer? What experiential extras are featured in your store? Think about everything you have to offer and come up with a plan for seating accordingly. Think about function, the overall square footage of your space, customers’ needs and on-brand aesthetics.

3. Consider Using Video to Share the World of Your Brand.

If it’s appropriate to your brand, consider leveraging the power of video in your store. We attended an amazing pop-up by The RealReal at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace last year. The pop-up featured an excellent branded video, explaining what The RealReal is, how their business model works and what they stand for. 

4. Reimagine Your Cash Wrap. 

With the advent and widespread adoption of mobile POS, it’s no longer necessary to devote so much space to your cash wrap. Can your associates start to ring up purchases with an iPad? Glossier is a leader in checkout efficiency. Shoppers make their purchases with mobile sales associates via iPad, then their actual purchases come directly from the stockroom to keep checkout lines fast. Associates emerge from the stockroom calling shoppers’ names to hand them their purchases and send them on their way. How can you save customers time while providing great service?

5. Give Shoppers Direct Access to Your Luxury Goods.

The days of placing higher-end luxury items on top shelves or behind the cash wrap are numbered. Today, the idea is to offer much more approachable retail settings for customers. It’s not uncommon at all to walk in and try on everything in a luxury store. In this era of the democratization of luxury, no one knows who will spend a small fortune or a little bit of money based on how they’re dressed. Make your luxury products accessible so shoppers can touch, try and explore. 

6. Employ the Most Appropriate Customer Service Strategy for Your Store. 

Some high-end shops sell grab-and-go products, but most require environments conducive to sitting down and perusing merchandise slowly. Higher price point items also tend to require more hands-on customer service in the selling process. 

I recently went to an amazing store in Brooklyn on Atlantic Avenue, Consignment Brooklyn. It’s a very high-end, super-curated luxury clothing store. I left completely impressed with the experience. The sales associates were basically all stylists. Every time any of us shoppers picked up an item, one would have some seriously great input about styling the item or informational background on the piece. They weren’t done in the traditional, tired (and often annoying) way of jumping to ask if you’re dressing for an event and they weren’t pushy attempts to close a sale. Their input really editorialized the shopping experience and made it fun, educational and valuable to be shopping in their store. That’s how a brick-and-mortar store shopping experience should be- a special way to spend your time.

7. Invest in a Great CRM System.

There are so many smart, integrated ways to build a successful customer loyalty program in your store. Invest the time and money in getting set up with a great customer relationship management system (CRM). Next, come up with a smart way to clientele in your store to understand the unique customers that frequent each of your locations. For example, when we think of the Rebecca Minkoff store here in LA, we can’t help but imagine what if the associates took up the chance to connect with shoppers online? Instead of the brand asking customers to connect on Instagram, the store associates can ask for shoppers’ Instagram handles to follow them online. It’s a smart way to strengthen relationships – at each of your regional outposts – with people who convert and already love your brand.

8. Use In-Store Analytics.

Think beyond beautiful interior design; explore the different ways you can incorporate analytics tech into your store. Heat mapping is a great tool to take advantage of as it let’s you track where shoppers go as they walk through your store. You can determine how they navigate your shop floor and which products receive the most or the least attention. You may then apply that data to reconfigure the merchandising or layout of your store, optimized for efficiency and success.

Your brick-and-mortar store is an extension of your brand. Make sure everything you do in the physical realm is a direct reflection of your brand – whether a permanent brick-and-mortar shop, a single or multi-brand pop-up, a trunk show or a presence at a craft fair. It’s a special advantage and honor to own a brick-and-mortar store. It’s also expensive. Leverage your store to its full potential by keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest in in-store best practices. I

Next Steps: Increase In-Store Traffic

Need support for your brick-and-mortar launch, revamp or latest activation? Contact Scaling Retail for customized, considered consulting expertise, decades of experience and hands-on execution and support. Call 310-957-5264 to schedule a consultation session or email hello@scalingretail.com.

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