Monthly Archives: November 2012

Black Friday is Back

Black Friday… the day consumers live for and employees just want over with.

A non-consumerist society would balk at the idea of Black Friday. Oh, I can only wish. There is a visiting Scotsman staying at my house currently who has never heard of the day before, oh how I envy him.

Mindless consumerism. Buy it because it is on sale at a price it may never be at again. It’s hardly worth it.

And yet (I’m done complaining now) Black Friday is our SECOND busiest day of the year. Any guesses as to our first? December 26th. The Return Day.

I know, for someone in the industry, I don’t seem to be supporting our economy. To be true, the economy is too big for its own good, and we have to constantly spend just to sustain it. Doesn’t sound like a brilliant plan for the landfills, the oceans, or our natural resources.

So what am I getting my family this year for Christmas? Sure, I bought a few things from my place of work, but everyone is getting a recycled gift this year: Handmade (by yours truly) mug cozies from thrift store sweaters. Cost me $17 to make 13 gifts. Try doing that on Black Friday.

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‘Tis the Christmas Season! Everybody does big does displays for the winter-time to increase the holiday shopping spirit.

Here in my town we have a place called Alberta St. They are responsible for the content of this post.

My VM professor gathered six of us students to assemble window displays for Alberta St. shops for the coming Christmas season.

The children’s book store on 16th and Alberta is not only totally adorable, but rewards children for looking closely. Around the shop there are miniature displays of goings on that you would neither find nor notice unless you were observant. Jennifer, the owner, used to be an elementary school teacher and has a passion for children learning.

She showed me a Christmas tree made out of books, and I went to creating it. For $39 and some vintage ribbon my mother gave me from her own collections, this is what I arrived at:

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Christmas Book Tree

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The Landing Strip

I witnessed the need for this one today. I was in a Whole Foods grocery store to pick up some cheese for Thanksgiving. As I stood in the express line I had a perfect view of the front doors to the store. Against the front wall, directly to the left and right of the entering and exiting shoppers were two tall stacks of handheld shopping baskets. This is exactly what the book said would happen. Every customer entering the store completely ignored the baskets.

There was no decompression zone. The first 8-10 feet of any store should be left practically bare so that once the customer gets inside, they can begin to adjust to the retail environment. Most displays or products put right next to the door are ignored entirely by shoppers who haven’t had a chance to get in “shopping mode” just yet.

In a smaller store perhaps the decompression zone must be smaller, but do not place anything directly in front of the door for the first 8 feet. This is a deterrent to enter. Some shoppers will stop in front of it, look around, then turn around and walk back out.

The book refers to the space required for a shopper to adjust as the “Landing Strip”. They’ve been walking hurriedly through the parking lot or down the sidewalk, perhaps they’ve been dealing with awful weather, their thoughts were not on shopping. Then they step inside. The lighting changes, the temperature changes, the noise changes, and just in that short 8 to 10 feet they have adjusted their speed to be appropriate for viewing items on shelves and making purchases. Give your people time to recuperate, and whatever is at the front of the store will not be wasted.

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Fixture Design

Installations are without doubt one of the most integral components of store design. They define the quality and price range of the merchandise, and hold the interior design properties of sales floors in the balance. Whether they are sleek and modern or rustic and vintage, in good condition or not, the colors, the heights, the carry capacity, the placement, the sharp corners, the materials and the overall functionality of the piece all play a part in fixture design.

But the parameters are the most important part: will the design actually perform the necessary function of the retailer. For example: all the wall space is occupied with shelving and previous merchandise, but a new line in coming in and must be housed on the floor. A fixture must serve this purpose, or else it is worthless.

In considering my future career, I am highly intrigued by fixture design and intend to create several fixtures to suit certain parameters as are voiced by retailers. To me, that sounds like a dream job.