Retail Signage Inspiration from CES 2015
Do you need a floating Bluetooth speaker? Could you use a television that displays more than 1 billion colors? Or maybe your heart’s desire is a belt that adjusts itself as your waist size changes. No worries. All of these, and about a million other great tech products, are at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show.
The Medallion Retail team is at CES as well, working with clients, tapping into the buzz, and oohing and aahing over all that new, shiny, didn’t-know-it-existed-and-now-I-gotta-have-it technology.
But it’s not just the products that feature brilliant design. The environments that showcase the products are also smart and visually stunning. Part stage, part demo space, part brand forum, these exhibits work hard. And laid out across the two million-plus square-foot event space, they create a vista that is at once beautiful, surreal, stimulating and perspective shifting.
Through the right eyes, it’s a master class in customer engagement and retail display. So hot off the show floor, here are five CES-inspired tenets that can drive the creation of more powerful in-store signage and displays:
Play with scale. Space is elastic; proper placement of larger or smaller elements can make a big area seem intimate, or a tiny corner seem vast. At CES, many exhibitors use vertical lines and ceiling hangers to draw the eye up and claim “air space.” Others create nooks that invite the guest inside to explore or demo products. The strategic use of lighting can also be used to alter perspectives, creating areas for interaction and drawing the customer’s eyes where you want them to go.
Deliver the unexpected. Part of the fun of walking the show floor is discovering new and amazing ways to display products and deliver brand messages. Instead of just one computer screen, hundreds make up an infinity wall. Projections create a dynamic spotlight for unveilings. Virtual reality helmets literally take guests inside a product. Logos are showcased in ice sculptures. Drones deliver product literature. People want to be delighted; good retail design takes that into consideration.
Create opportunities for engagement. A hands-on vibe reverberates through CES; it’s about showing, not telling. Bring this same energy into the retail space. Put the product in the shopper’s hands, literally if you can. Use color, lighting, even sound to draw her in. Make it easy for her to see herself using (and enjoying) the product.
Remember comfort. At first, this might seem an odd inclusion when talking about design. But if our focus is on experience – and in retail marketing it should be – then creating a space that is physically shopper friendly and comfortable is a part of the mission. At CES several exhibitors offer seating areas where weary show-goers can rest. Others provide extra layers of foot soothing padding under their carpet; a welcome change from the hard aisles of the exhibit hall. Translating this idea into a retail setting can be as simple as a well curated, quiet store-in-store or an intimate seating area that invites the shopper to stay a while.
Simple is better. Like the exhibits at CES, job one of retail signage and display is to communicate a message. Clever should never take the place of clarity. The shopper must be able to depend on signage to guide her choices and her movement in the store. CES understands wayfinding, and effectively uses a cleanly designed, integrated system of well-placed aisle signs, maps, show floor tours and an app to guide the more than 160,000 visitors through the show spaces.