Wilmette, IL Chamber of Commerce Presentation: Staging you Retail Space

Home Stager with The Home Stage

I gave this presentation to the Wilmette, IL, Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of the Summer and have had several retailers ask for in-store consultations.  Just proves that "staging" is not only beneficial to your home, but any place where you hope to attract "buyers!"  Enjoy!


Create a Warm, Inviting and Profitable Retail Space: A Presentation for the Wilmette, IL, Chamber of Commerce

Think slow sales at your retail store are due to the recession?  THINK AGAIN! It's true that most retailers are seeing slower sales in this tough economy, however, knowing how to increase your appeal, could be just the secret to coming out ahead.  Understanding the psychology behind a buyer's thoughts is the key to drawing customers in, keeping them engaged, and making sure they return.

Step One:  The Evaluation

In order to meet your customers' needs, it is important to conduct regular retail store evaluations. An objective assessment of your store can help you measure whether or not you are fulfilling your customers' expectations.  Viewing your own store objectively might be difficult, so it's a great idea to bring in a fresh set of eyes by asking a friend or neighboring retailer to help you assess your space. Evaluate your store's exterior appearance, interior appearance, customer service, product offering, and traffic flow.  Include questions about adequate lighting, overall store appearance, accessibility to products, ease of movement throughout the store, cleanliness, range of products, etc.

Step Two: Visual Merchandising

Creating an attractive product display can draw the customer in, promote a slow-moving item, announce a sale, or welcome a season. If your store front is fortunate enough to feature one or more windows, then you have one of the most proven (and least expensive) forms of advertising at your disposal.  Knowing a few basics about visual merchandising (and a little trial and error) can help you to create effective visual displays.  A few points to keep in mind: Use asymmetrical balance, rather than symmetrical, place largest objects in the display first, add color to help set the mood and feeling, create a focal point by using products, props/signage and background, use lighting to accent focal points.  Most important, less is always more.  By highlighting one or two products, instead of your whole store, you'll guide a buyer towards your products, instead of overwhelming them with your whole store.  Be sure to photograph each display and keep them logged in a binder.  If you are able, track sales of the feature product, so you'll know what will be successful in the future.

Step Three: Customer Friendly Displays

Win customers by using retail display systems that are customer friendly: In other words, harness the powerful psychology of shopping.  Retail display systems should attract buyers and keep their attention as they wander through your store.  By using interchangeable store fixtures, you can keep your store fresh, interesting and appealing.  Be sure to choose fixtures that target your market and gear your layout and design around your clientele. For example, if your business sells children's goods, be sure that strollers can move throughout your store with ease.  If you cater to petite customers, keep your displays lower to allow customers to easily reach all products.  Lastly, don't overwhelm the customer with too much product.  Add space between items, and create demand by replenishing items throughout the day, rather than placing everything out at one time.

Step Four: Loss Prevention and Recovery

The easiest way for retailers to discourage theft in a store is by taking away opportunities to steal. A little thought into the store's layout and design can prevent theft before a loss occurs.  Not only is a tidy store more appealing to buyers, but it's a deterrent to thieves.  By keeping your store neat and orderly, employees will notice missing items immediately, and shoplifters will be unable to discreetly hide packing and cluttered spaces.  Mirrors can help to eliminate blind spots and by maintaining adequate lighting in all areas of the store, theft is sure to go unnoticed.  Design your layout so that customers must pass the register and staff before exiting, and be sure not to display merchandise near store exits.

Step Five:  Don't Turn Off Customers

As a retailer, you can't afford to turn off a single customer and image is everything. Keeping your store neat and clean is not only easy to do; it is generally an inexpensive way to attract customers and create a pleasant store atmosphere.  Dirty bathrooms, messy dressing rooms, loud and offensive music, handwritten signs, stained floor or ceiling tiles, offensive odors, poor lighting, crowded isles, disorganized check-out counters and lack of shopping baskets or carts are all items that are sure to turn customers away from your store.

 Just a few simple changes can bring in new customers, impress seasoned buyers, and give your store the fresh update necessary to stay ahead in this competitive market.  For additional information, or to schedule a consultation in your store, please contact us!


For more information, or to schedule a retail consultation, contact Steffanie Dakis Danby at steffanie@thehomestagechicago.com or 847-251-9634

Comments (5)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Steffanie- very informative and interesting post.  I've never done any retail staging, although I know that i've often thought to myself that certain stores I've been in could improve their appearance and attract more consumers if only . . . .  .  Do you offer the same as you would a residential Staging ie. consultations and/or full Staging?

Sep 05, 2009 04:59 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Steffanie -- thanks for sharing your ideas for staging commercial spaces with us.  I can see this as a great opportunity for stagers who want to expand their services!  (P.S.  Your post would be even better with photos added, especially of some spaces that you may be worked on -- just an idea for you!)

Sep 05, 2009 01:09 PM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Great idea Steffanie, to promote staging of retail spaces. Its another way stagers can diversify and increase their base of potential customers. You've written an very well thought out and concise list of recommendations for retail staging. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sep 05, 2009 02:54 PM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Great advice for staging retail spaces.  Thanks for sharing Steffanie!

Sep 06, 2009 12:20 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Hi Stephanie, I love doing retail display, it's so much fun! Your advice is spot on!

If you have a window you gotta tempt those walk by customers into coming in to see what else you have to offer. ( that last line is on my website )

Sep 07, 2009 12:01 AM