Retail Marketing FlashTrends – September 2015
This week, the Medallion Retail team once again set out on an epic adventure. We were seeking truth, bravery and beauty…
…in the form of retail signage and display. (Come on. We’re not knights.) We found all three.
The occasion was our bimonthly quest to discover what’s happening right now in-store. We visited 39 retailers seeking what we call FlashTrends, timely and meaningful developments in display marketing and shopper experience building.
We were inspired (we always come away with fresh ideas for clients). We were challenged (the new design rule is there are no rules). And we were able to formulate insights into not just what’s happening now, but what’s coming up.
The signage and display we experienced (yes, experienced) was accessible, smart, surprising and often delightful. Across all eight retail categories we explored, the underlying message was not so much “Buy!” as it was an invitation to “Buy into our story.”
And indeed, these retailers were telling some amazing stories, and doing so with unabashed personality. Maybe everyone is on point because we’re heading into the important fall season. Whatever the reason, these retailers were communicating in a way that is actively inclusive and emotionally resonant.
Here are our September 2015 Retail Marketing FlashTrends:
To rephrase an old adage, “It’s not what you say; it’s where you say it.” Marketers were not bound by convention when it came to retail display placement. Messaging was woven into carpets and projected onto floors. Seemingly disparate adages were stenciled at ceiling height, becoming meaningful only when the shopper scanned 360 degrees. We particularly liked the unexpected and beautiful presentation of a sock in a product benefit-inscribed jewel case. It was a feat (sorry) of product-elevating prowess, giving new dimension and depth to an otherwise mundane product.
Dimension (a FlashTrend from June 2015) was not limited to footwear display. Layering – of signage, product, backdrops, mannequins and props – was used frequently to create 3-D vignettes that showcased product, but also fed the narrative. On scales large and small (from store windows to shadow boxes), we saw simple elements artfully combined in dynamic and perspective-challenging ways. A granola bar tucked into a backpack carried by a life-sized, photo-realistic cutout of a child walking toward an expansive mountain range was indicative of how retail designers redefined dimension by manipulating scope and detail.
Photojournalism as Display
Another notable trend: the use of photographic images as retail display. Whether anchoring a display or setting a mood on a tabletop, photos of real people doing real things were everywhere. Emotional, relatable and sometimes aspirational, these lifestyle images made it easy for shoppers to see themselves in the displays and in the brand story.
They say it’s the little things that matter. If the thoughtful and thought-provoking detail we saw was any indication, they matter more than ever to retail marketers. Details within each retail display pulled the eye and drew us into the story. They made us smile, helped us remember or forced us to do a double take. It was the details that articulated brand personality, whether it was classic corkboard and thumbtacks, miniature embroidery hoops, old-school plastic pop-in letters, quaint chalkboards, pops of primary color or even school lockers decorated with miniature chandeliers.
It was fascinating to see how many different ways retail marketers could forge connections with and for the shopper. In-store visuals and events looped with online promotions. Retro design elements linked shoppers to their pasts. Meaningful, brand-appropriate partnerships brought together shopper and cause, and retailer and community. The shopper’s connection to herself – that all-important personalization – was evidenced in new variations of choose-your-own and just-right-for-you retail display strategies.