Monday, April 09, 2007

The Mall at Millennia – Ideas & Innovation

The Retail Muse welcomes Guest Blogger Vicki Wade, Services Coordinator, Office of College Services, Grinnell College.

Vicki muses…

While attending CAMEX 2007, I had the pleasure of participating in the Mall at Millennia learning excursion on Saturday afternoon. I love innovative displays and this Orlando mall did not disappoint. The following is a list of notables I scribbled in my Moleskin journal while perusing the shops:

a. Anthropologie displays books, bowls, and stationery (yes, all together) on rustic, backless, stacked wooden cubes. The cubes have a homey feel to them and are ultra-versatile display units. They are inexpensive too!

b. More and more clothing lines are attaching sandblasted fabric hang-tags to their garments for higher perceived value.

c. “Clothing” stores are incorporating large kitchen bowls, aluminum tubs, and huge baskets into their décor. Not only are these storage solutions unexpected props, but they add touches of color, texture, and humor to the displays.

d. Innovative displays tell a story. For example a group of mannequins dressed in beachwear do not stand alone. You’ll find sand on the floor, a (real) sailboat in the background, maybe even a tattoo on one of the mannequins! One attendee saw a stack of mattresses dangling from a ceiling cable and another stack on the floor below. In between was a bowl of canned peas. This was part of a display centered around the story “The Princess and the Pea”!

e. Large department stores have introduced creative programs and displays to attract youth. Bloomingdales has its own candy store, complete with a child’s eye-level candy-by-the-bulk dispenser. I’ve heard they sponsor weekday storytelling sessions and parents can reserve the area for birthday parties. What a way to draw shoppers into the store! Neiman Marcus ropes off areas of their ladies’ department for designer trunk shows. Department stores have rewarded shoppers with exclusive gifts and samples for many years.

What can we learn from this?

Open your mind to displaying merchandise in creative ways.

First, consider a display based on a childhood story or game. Tell the story through props, but don’t make it too obvious or you risk boredom and redundancy. You want to provide enough of a teaser to draw your shopper in for a closer look. Make sure the story or game is easily recognized by your target audience.

Second, shop hobby or craft stores for inexpensive props or make your own!

Finally, consider a loyalty rewards program for your frequent shoppers and make the participants feel extra special. That way, everyone will want to belong to the “club”.

Vicki J. Wade
Services Coordinator
Office of College Services, Grinnell College
(Photo by Chance Agrella;

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