Store Fixtures Blog

Store Fixtures, Visual Merchandising & Display Tips

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Plus-Sized Woman Protests Skinny Mannequins

· Displays

The unrealistic size of mannequins has been attracting quite a lot of protest and negative attention on social media as of late. From Topshop to Zara, major retailers have faced criticism that their mannequins present an unhealthy image to customers and fuel unrealistic expectations around what women’s bodies should look like, particularly following the publication of a study that found the majority of mannequins in British stores are unhealthy.

In an incident earlier this month, however, a customer took this protest to new extremes. A protester wearing nothing but a blonde wig reportedly posed in the window of a Dorothy Perkins store in the UK in protest of mannequin size. The protester was forcibly removed by the police after about 15 minutes.

The trend of women posing naked alongside mannequins to protest their unrealistic size appears to be gaining traction. For example, Canadian photographer Julia Busato received widespread acclaim on social media following the publication of her series of photographs depicting real women alongside mannequins in protest of unfair and unrealistic beauty standards.

Retailers have vowed to make changes as a result of ongoing protests. However, in spite of retailers’ pledges to put more realistic mannequins in store windows, critics allege that most retailers have yet to make meaningful and substantive changes to their mannequins’ sizes.

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Apple Designs Largest Retail Store Ever

· Displays

apple-logo

Apple is planning to open its largest retail store globally in India. The company is reportedly planning to open two new stores in the country between 10,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet, one in Mumbai and one in New Delhi. That is nearly double the size of its other global flagship stores. The stores are set to be the biggest single brand electronic stores in India and will be modeled after Apple’s flagship NYC store on Fifth Avenue.

While Apple does do iPhone assembly work in the country, it does not currently have any retail stores in India and sells its products through resellers. Apple is now reportedly interested in opening retail stores in India in light of slipping sales in China, hoping that India could be a lucrative new revenue source given the sheer size of the market. Sales in China fell 14 percent over the course of the past year and dipped down to $10.7 billion in the most recent quarter. Meanwhile, Apple reported that sales in India grew by double digits during the same period, though it didn’t give any specific numbers.

The company has been working to get favorable terms from the government and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Indian market in the run-up to opening new retail stores in the country. Apple’s team of top retail experts reportedly paid a visit to India earlier this year in order to evaluate the retail market in the country. Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington DC last month. Cook is reportedly lobbying the Indian government for tax and regulatory concessions from the government to open the stores.

“We have a ton of energy going into the country on a number of fronts,” Cook was quoted as saying in Fortune. “We believe, particularly now that the 4G infrastructure is going in the country and it’s continuing to be expanded, there is a huge opportunity for Apple there.”

Nevertheless, the stores are reportedly several years away from being a reality. An Apple store opening in India is unlikely to happen before 2020. Part of this is a function of the stores’ proposed size. It will be challenging to find 10,000 square feet of space in major Indian cities. Moreover, the company is reportedly still working to obtain the necessary permissions from the government.

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The Rise of Hands-Free Shopping

· Displays

Increasingly, retailers are leveraging technology to make the shopping experience easier and less of a hassle for customers. As part of this tactic, “hands-free” shopping is becoming increasingly common in the world of retail. Essentially, this lets users shop until they drop without having to lug around their purchases from store to store. Instead, they can have their purchases sent straight to their home, office, or hotel.

In London, major West End retailers like Marks & Spencer, Gap, Coach, Hunter, Liberty, and Lululemon have partnered with the shopping platform Dropit to facilitate this hands-free shopping experience. The shopping platform delivers a customer’s purchases to a location of his or her choosing after they’ve paid, so no matter how much they buy, they don’t have to worry about dragging their bags around for the rest of the shopping trip. It’s fairly affordable for customers – they just need to purchase a Dropit Day Pass for £10 ($13) and can then drop unlimited bags in any Dropit partner store for delivery. What could be easier?

And hands-free shopping solutions like Dropit aren’t just convenient for customers. Research shows that they are also good for business, which means that these solutions are in the interests of research as well. One study recently found that customers purchase up to 150% more when they’re using a hands-free shopping service. Moreover, research has also suggested that hands-free shopping can boost metrics like dwell time and ATV while simultaneously enhancing the customer experience.

All in all, hands-free shopping is just one of the ways in which the retail space is evolving to more seamlessly integrate online and physical forms of shopping, while also making things more easy and convenient for customers. It looks like hands-free shopping is just getting started, and it is likely to continue to take off in major cities across the world.

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Wind Mill Slatwall Products are Now Available from Subastral Inc!

· Displays

Slatwall

Subastral Inc is proud to announce that we now supply Wind Mill slatwall products! Wind Mill is a leading manufacturer of both stock and customized slatwall retail displays. With close to 40 years of experience, the company has been producing high-quality slatwall since 1980 from its manufacturing center in Wisconsin and Washington.

Wind Mill Slatwall Products is known for the superior durability of its slatwall fixtures and displays. The company is the exclusive manufacturer of Anchor™ Core slatwall, which boasts twice the strength of traditional slatwall made with medium-density fiberboard core. This highly durable slatwall is available in a range of different laminates and finishes. Its slatwall products can also by enhanced with vinyl inserts, PVC accent strips, staining, lacquering, and metal inserts.

In addition to producing stock slatwall, Wind Mill produces a range of customized slatwall products to meet the unique needs of its individual customers. With its high-tech manufacturing facilities, Wind Mill is able to cater to a range of customer needs and offers a number of different customization options, including custom machining, finishing, cutting to size, edge banding, and radiused edge banding.

In addition to versatility and strength, all Wind Mill slatwall products are made using sustainable manufacturing processes right here in the U.S. It isn’t just great slatwall; it’s also environmentally conscious.

Wind Mill produces the best slatwall products in the market. When you choose Wind Mill products, you not only get excellent slatwall; you also support a company committed to sustainable manufacturing practices and to U.S. manufacturing. To see which of the Wind Mill Slatwall products Subastral Inc. now has available, be sure to check out our website.

Windmill slatwall panels now at Subastral Inc!

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Amazon Ventures into Brick and Mortar Retail

· Displays

Amazon-brick

E-commerce giant Amazon is increasingly venturing into brick and mortar retail. The company has signaled its interest in brick and mortar previously, notably with its limited rollout of Amazon bookstores and grocery retailer Amazon Go. But in its latest move, the company has upped the ante in terms of its interest in brick and mortar, acquiring Whole Foods Market earlier this month, the 30th largest retailer in the United States.

What explains Amazon’s interest in physical retail stores? Well, it only makes sense that Amazon would eventually diversify beyond e-commerce. In spite of rumors that the rise of e-commerce will put traditional brick and mortar stores out of business, with the exception of Amazon, the top ten US retailers are all old-fashioned, brick and mortar stores. That would suggest that in order to be at the top of its game, a retailer can’t afford to be only online.

Part of this boils down to economics. Research consistently shows that brick and mortar stores are more profitable than online stores. In fact, analysis of sales trends at 20 publically traded retailers found that while online sales grew by 5 percentage points between 2012 and 2016, profit margins actually steadily declined. E-commerce is simply less lucrative than brick and mortar stores as a result of shipping and handling and the costs associated with much higher return rates. In many cases, it would seem that retailers’ brick and mortar stores are actually subsidizing their online businesses.

Moreover, research shows that consumers – particularly millennials – actually have a preference for brick and mortar stores over online shopping. A full 70 percent of millennials would rather shop at an actual physical store than shop online. Considering that millennials have now displaced baby boomers as the biggest purchasing group, it behooves retailers to make efforts to get into their good graces.

Of course, in this context, it only makes sense that Amazon would set its sights on becoming more of a major player in the world of brick and mortar retail. So, what can we expect next from the retail giant? It seems likely that we will continue to see the company investing in physical retail stores, cultivating its presence and visibility as a major physical retailer in addition to an online giant.

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Why Retail Store Closures Are Bad for Communities

· Displays

Unhappy face

It is no secret that America’s brick-and-mortar retail stores are suffering. An increase in online shopping, the over saturation of shopping malls, and decreased consumer spending on material goods are among the confluence of factors driving decreased revenue in physical stores. But these changes in shopping habits and the related closure of brick-and-mortar stores actually have fairly significant implications for local communities.

Many counties and towns across the country get a healthy boost in tax revenue from stores and malls within their jurisdictions. In fact, on average sales tax comprise around one-third of taxes that state governments collect and around 12 percent of what local and municipal governments do. In some counties, it is even more. Belmont County in Ohio receives about $17 million of its $22 million in revenue from sales tax. When retail stores close, this revenue takes a hit, and as a result, tax revenues have stalled. In Belmont Country, for example, a number of major retail stores have closed, and the budget is subsequently strained.

Moreover, retail stores disproportionately affect communities that are already experiencing economic malaise. Retail stores in American’s former industrial centers are shuttering, while stores in major metropolitan areas – from New York to DC to San Francisco – are doing comparatively well. For example, researchers have found that major retail stores like Sears, Kmart, and Macy’s are disproportionately closing stores in communities like these.

So, what’s the solution? Well, some say it is as simple as changing tax laws. If online retailers were forced to collect sales tax and distribute it to the states, it could be remitted back to the communities that need it most.

“The epic closures of the brick-and-mortar stores is troubling news for state and local government sales-tax collections. We are living in a completely different society, and I think there should be tax reform on a Congressional level, amended for the collection of online sales tax,” explained Lucy Dadayan, a senior researcher at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. “This should be taken care of—otherwise state and local governments are going to suffer significantly in the coming years.”

However, it looks like such legislation is a long way off. And ultimately, there are no clear policy solutions to the decline in retail stores. While changes to tax law could address the economic aspects of the trend, they wouldn’t address the social ones, such as disappearing jobs and reduced foot traffic in town centers. It would, however, potentially be a step in the right direction in terms of helping local governments cope with revenue loss.

Quote source:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/05/retail-sales-tax-revenue/527697/

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5 Design Tips for Retail Store Interiors

· Displays

 

Wondering how to design the perfect retail store? Be sure to take a look at these tips and tricks.

  1. Aerate the store layout and design. A retail store that is overcrowded and jam-packed with displays won’t just make customers claustrophobic. It will also create the impression that products aren’t high quality. To craft a vibe that is more sophisticated and high-end, make sure you are aerating the store design and layout. Bright lights, open spaces, and some greenery can go a long way in creating an open, airy effect.
  1. Give customers space. Have you heard of the “butt brush effect?” According to consumer behavior experts, the average customer will avoid going after merchandise in aisles where they worry that they could have their backside brushed or where they could inadvertently brush the backside of another customer. It doesn’t matter how interested the customer is in the product – if they are worried about the butt brush, they are remarkably less likely to go for the item. That means as a retailer, you need to be cognizant in giving customers the space they need. Otherwise, it could put a dent in your sales.
  1. Make sure that customers are comfortable. Research consistently shows that customers will spend more time in your store if they have a comfortable place to sit and relax. This is especially true if a customer is accompanied by someone who isn’t really interested in browsing, or if a customer has brought his or her children along. Therefore, make sure you have some kind of waiting area in your store, ideally one with comfortable seating. And try to strategically place this towards merchandise so customers can still have a quick look around while they browse.
  1. Invest in good visual merchandising. Want to actually get customers through the door? Make sure you have invested in high-quality, compelling visual merchandising. This will not only help to get customers into your store, it will also keep them there longer. Innovative and engaging displays go a long way in keeping a customer’s attention.

In conclusion, investing in your store’s interior is a worthwhile investment and will go a long way in boosting sales.

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Summer Retail Tips and Tricks

· Displays

Summer-2

In many sectors, retailers inevitably experience a slowdown in foot traffic, sales, and revenues throughout the summer season. When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, people are much more likely to spend their time unwinding at the beach or playing a game of soccer in the park than they are to go shopping. However, while summers often mean a drop in sales, there is no reason that warm weather should spell catastrophe for any business. With these summer retail tips and tricks, you can fight the summer retail slowdown.

Slash Prices at Summer Sales

Let’s face it: sales are one of the easiest ways to get people through the door when things are slow. Summer sales are no exception. Slashing prices can be a great way to keep sales going over the summer. However, the key is to make sure you advertise. Ideally, promote your sale on social media. After all, there is no point in holding a sale if no one knows about it.

Get Outside

When the weather is nice, you want to make sure that you are using any sidewalk space outside your store effectively. If possible, stick a display outside. When the weather is nice, people are more likely to stop and peruse – and they might even make a purchase or two! To maximize outdoor displays, make sure to get creative to come up with something that will catch people’s eyes.

Consider a Sponsorship

Chances are, there are lots of festivals and concerts going on in your local area this summer. A great way to enhance brand visibility is to sponsor one of these events. Extra brand visibility can go a long way in getting people through the door to your store and increasing sales.

The bottom line is that you can fight the summer sales slump with a bit of creativity and hard work.

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Colombian Shopping Mall Unveils Breastfeeding Mannequins

· Mannequins

Breastfeeding

The largest mall in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota has recently unveiled breastfeeding mannequins. The mannequins – which feature a mother cradling a baby to her chest to mimic the act of nursing – were placed in store windows throughout the mall last month. The goal is to help end the stigma that many women face when breastfeeding in public by normalizing the idea.

The mannequins are reportedly part of a campaign launched by Amigos de la Lactancia (Friends of Breastfeeding), an organization that aims to support mothers who faced shame or criticism for their decision to breastfeed in public. One of the goals of the organization is to making malls and shopping centers safe places for women to publically breastfeed their children without fear of judgment.

The organization has pointed out that while something like a mannequin might seem insignificant when it comes to changing social and cultural attitudes around breastfeeding, the reality is that increased representation of breastfeeding women in public spaces can help to normalize it. As a result, women face less shame and criticism. Moreover, the mannequins are also strategically placed to indicate “breastfeeding safe zones,” showing mothers where they can nurse their children in a safe and secure space without being judged. In Colombia, it is estimated that only about half of babies are breastfed after birth. The hope is that by making it easier for mothers to breastfeed – including by making them feel safer to do so in public – that number can be driven up.

All in all, it seems like the campaign is making progress. So far, it has received quite a bit of positive attention on social media. People have praised the organization’s intent to support mothers and make public spaces safer and more welcoming to breastfeeding, calling the breastfeeding mannequins both an excellent and impactful initiative and a beautiful gesture.

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Tips for Displaying Merchandise Outdoors

· Displays

Whether you’re using a carefully crafted outdoor display to entice people into your store or will be displaying some of your products at an outdoor fair or festival this summer, outdoor merchandising can be advantageous. However, in order to reap the benefits, you need to consider your outdoor merchandising strategy. Be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind when it comes to displaying merchandise outdoors.

Invest in outdoor displays. If you’re going to be displaying merchandise outside, you need displays that can handle the elements. If your displays can’t handle the summer sun or some rain, then consider investing in outdoor displays that can. They’ll last longer and hold up better, which leaves a better impression on your customers.

Be cognizant of what you display outdoors. If you want to put together a small outdoor display to attract customers to your store and draw more traffic in, then you don’t need to put a ton of merchandise outside to accomplish this goal. A few intriguing items will do. Additionally, it is a wise idea not to put anything too valuable outside the store, as items are obviously less secure outside than they would be inside.

Be aware of any local regulations or restrictions. It is important to note that in some cases, there are local regulations or restrictions on outdoor merchandise displays. Always be aware of any such restrictions in your area and plan accordingly.

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