By Penny M
(layouts for the naïve)
I have come to the conclusion that Merchandising is the unsung hero of retail marketing. Not only does it require creative flare, but intuitive thinking. Behind every tidy, well signposted display lies the logic of customer flow, seasonal grace and the innate ability to get inside a shopper’s head.
The other day, I met someone for a coffee in the restaurant on the top floor of a local department store. As per usual, I had to ‘spend a penny’. Intent on my purpose, I hurtled through the baby and children’s wear departments, but on my way back I slowed to browse through the cute array of spring range clothing for tots, some with jaw-dropping prices. Visions of my grandchildren appeared in various outfits and I was momentarily mesmerized.
I resumed my seat at the restaurant like a long distance refugee – the relief was palpable – I hadn’t purchased a thing. When my companion decided to visit the toilets on our way out, I accepted an advertised invitation and made a bee-line for a sale-priced sofa to wait. It was strategically placed on the edge of exorbitance. I took the time to ponder the wonderful ingenuity of merchandising. Of course, where else would you put the cutest department than on the beat from the restaurant to the restroom, a necessity for mothers and grandparents? The comfy couch with panoramic views and an invitation to try it out was just another clever ploy to sell tots clothes to NanniPen. There were no men screeching brakes here.
The menswear section was just inside the doors on the ground floor, another good plant. I have a vague recollection that perfume and jewellery were close by. In my opinion, ground floors are for quick buys.
Unlike women, men generally don’t shop around. They aren’t likely to be found wandering on the second floor looking for a pullover or a tie. Neither would they go too far for a gift for a friend, wife or girlfriend, though most would like to think they’d gone to ‘hell and back’. One look at busy browsers is enough to drive the dashing outside and online. I guess you could say that most men shop with purpose and it’s a rare woman who returns home with only what was on the list.
The toy, furniture and lingerie departments are all on the top floor – need I say more?
I have started my birthday list ahead of September which seems to be our family’s favourite birth month. I suspect there will be some parcels winging their way to Australia in somebody else’s suitcase by then. I can still outrun advertising, but when it comes to my precious grandchildren, merchandising matters.
Penny Mitchell – Communications that Matter – matternatter.com