America is the home of the single floor, large footprint retail store. In a country with so much space, unlike in Europe and Asia, brands here do not have to think about developing several floors in one building to showcase their entire product range.
But if America is the home of this type of store, it is also the undisputed home of the outlet store, where brands offload previous seasons’ collections for a fraction of a cost. Such is their popularity that the outlet store sector in America is now a massive and booming business, with entire malls and shopping towns dedicated to selling discounted ranges.
Many of the biggest retail brands such as Timberland, Gap, Calvin Klein and Banana Republic actually manufacture products directly for their outlet store divisions. Here’s a tip – look for the three diamonds underneath Banana Republic woven garment labels to check if items are a reduced price mainline product or have been specially made for the outlet.
However, there is a tricky challenge for brands to manage in these low price, high traffic and typically low staff resource environments. Namely, how do you deliver an authoritative ‘on brand’ VM message and maintain high retail standards? Especially when the product range consists of mainly fragmented end of lines, has limited availability and needs to work in a vast space on a single floor level. The answer for many brands, it seems, is to develop an advanced level use of the high level display space.
Here, specialist use of this ‘above the shopping line’ area has been done with a combination of compelling brand graphics, photographic imagery and product displays. These work to aid navigation and support clearer layout planning. Above all, they provide VM presentation and display credibility that is out of reach to the consumer, helping the store to look better for longer and allow retail staff to focus on replenishment and tidying activities.
It’s a great example of how these retailers maximise their visual presence, without using ineffective and expensive presentation and display activity where shoppers could simply pull it apart.
Overall, it shows that great VM isn’t just about creating great product displays, but about the operational and commercial thinking that goes into it. In this case, demonstrating highly effective visual thinking too.