A Retailer Primer: What to Look for in a Good Display
December 13, 2010
Display units are the first feature of a showroom consumers are likely to see upon entering your store. This merchandising tool is designed to offer consumers a way to understand the flooring presented in a concise, simple format while relaying the manufacturer/store’s brand message. Following are factors a retailer should consider to properly utilize today’s displays.
Formats and Features
According to Bart Rich, Mohawk Soft Surface brand director, a good display should first and foremost be easy for the consumer to use. “[He or] she should be able to see the product well, and be able to see key product attributes without effort.”
Additionally, retailers should not simply pick the largest or smallest display; rather, they should choose a unit “that provides the maximum return on investment for the square footage allotted.”
Gary Floyd of Floyd & Associates commented that a successful display will “maximize the number of samples shown, in a format that takes up as little floor space as possible. Whenever you can accomplish this, it leads to a popular display model.”
For area rugs, the larger the display the better, according to Kim Barta, Shaw Living’s brand manager. “If one has the space for a 9’ by 12’ display, that is the best to show, because the larger the rugs displayed, the larger the rugs sold.”
However, she noted that in order to draw the most customers, stores must display a variety of price points, constructions, styles and colors. “Rugs are a fashion business, and product offerings should be kept up-to-date for current trends.”
Chris Dutton, Faus Group’s marketing manager, said a display’s primary function is to “immediately explain to the consumer why the product featured is better than the 20 other products within a consumer’s reach.”
He added that any good display should offer a retailer four distinct benefits: revenue generation, durability, adaptability and brand support.
Sean Cilona, Florida Tile’s director of marketing, said that product samples are an essential component of any display. “A good display should always include an actual sample that is clearly identifiable, with information that can be easily referenced,” he noted.
According to Gary Finseth, Tarkett Residential N.A.’s director, displays should be engaging and visually attractive to the consumer. “It needs to stand out from other displays, yet fit the store’s décor, and tell the product/brand story.”
He also agrees that product samples are essential to a successful display, and added that the display should make “interaction with the samples easy for the consumer and store salesperson.”
Paij Thorn-Brooks, Quick-Step’s sr. director of marketing, noted that samples sizes “should be large enough for the consumer to view details of the product, enabling them to picture it in their home, yet remain simple enough to handle and remove from the display.”
Product Information and Signage
Bill Friend, vp of Strategis and the Trillium brand, said sample boards should always list basic product information, features and benefits. Additionally, signage should reflect the brand and offer basic category information.
The display should always offer “a simple, bold product message, and communicate product features and benefits to sales staff and consumers,” he noted.
Thorn-Brooks said product information should be concise and easy to understand. “Displays are like silent salespeople. Enough information should be included in the display that if a salesperson were not available, a consumer could quickly and easily be able to understand product attributes, features and price points.”
Paul Engle, Royalty Carpet Mills’ vp marketing, said that featuring room scenes on a display is important. Additionally, the labeling system should include information about warranties and maintenance. “If it’s a branded nylon such as Stainmaster, it should show that brand significantly,” he added.
According to Dennis Jarosz, Congoleum’s svp sales and marketing, the display should include enough product information “to help the consumer make an informed choice either compared to other products in the showroom or between the various [products] in the display.”
Signage is also extremely important; Jarosz said it should be inviting, while clearly identifying the manufacturer and type of product in the display.
Cilona noted that a display should always be user-friendly. “In most cases, the display is the sole reference in the showroom, so all relevant naming, color options, technical and ordering information should be present somewhere in the fixture.”
Heather Yamada, Shaw’s residential marketing manager, added that the display should present information that helps consumers make an educated decision. “The message on the display should be simple and easy to understand, and at eye level.”
Faus’ Dutton explained that “a display should speak to the consumer,” while avoiding jargon. He also believes signage should be used to direct consumers to specific areas of the display. “Think of signage as a road sign. Does it help your consumer locate and navigate a destination that is relevant to them?”
Finseth said that signage should speak to the brand’s target audience. “The visual message should provide inspiration and aspiration, while the benefit statements should convey trust and confidence.”
Fred Giuggio, vp of Kronotex USA’s Formica Flooring brand, said a good display should convey the brand’s marketing plan in an easy to understand way. “The merchandise displayed must be clearly labeled and make the consumer comfortable with the message the display sends.”
Rich added that the display’s brand message should carry over to the sample labels, product literature and other media. “Research has shown that people retain messages better when they see them repeated in different places,” he explained.
Organizing Your Products
Not surprisingly, manufacturers have different views on how best to organize products in a display unit. Additionally, when considering a custom program, retailers should let the type of products being featured help influence the look of the display.
Floyd thinks product sample size should generally be the first consideration when organizing a display. “Product lines that require large samples will factor into display configuration, as will products that can be showcased through smaller samples.”
Engle said a display should be broken down by style rather than color, at least when it comes to carpet. “It’s better to group patterns and textures together, and sometimes maybe break it up [with a different pattern] so there is an interest look as the consumer goes through it.”
Cilona said his company generally categorizes products by type and then by name. “For tile, using color is difficult because many series have a different mix of colors. Also, using price is not always the best, as customers quickly realize what end of the spectrum they want to stay in.”
Audrey Lagrange, Mirage’s marketing coordinator, noted that her company organizes its hardwood by stain/color. “Merchandising by color makes choices easier, even faster, for consumers and sales staff.”
Jarosz noted that for resilient, the differences between design types makes organizing by color impractical. “That leaves organization by price point or by type of style such as stone or wood.”
Thorn-Brooks added that organizing by price point make sense for laminate flooring. Color should also be a primary consideration.