Each time that I enter TISE on opening day, I find myself standing in the display hall for a moment to let some of the beauty soak in. As I reflect, it becomes clear to me that this is a feeling that far too few retailers in our business seem to understand.
I ask myself why there is such a disparity between the beauty of these presentations and those of the typical retailer. It always seems that at nearly every turn there is another beautiful and innovative product to explore. Aren’t these same products available to display in our stores as well? It surely isn’t a requirement to have elegant surroundings. The convention center is basically a barn when empty. It can’t be because it takes too long for the average retailer to execute. The entire show is assembled in roughly four days. Why then is the average retail showroom so much less appealing?
In my opinion, there are two prevailing reasons. The first is that as retailers, we don’t do nearly enough to excite our customers. When you walk onto the TISE show floor for the first time, each year there is a certain feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air. One cannot wait to see what’s new. Isn’t that how we want our customers to feel when they first approach our doors? They probably haven’t really focused on flooring products recently and are anxious to see what’s new and exciting. Ask yourself how much excitement is created when first entering your showroom.
The second reason that customers don’t see what’s new and interesting in our showrooms like they can at TISE is exactly that. They can’t see them! Why? Because there are so many wing racks of boring, indistinguishable products in the way! When you go to TISE, major vendors make no attempt to show every product in their lines – just the important ones. They show them in large pieces. They accessorize them well. They use proper lighting to highlight them. When a customer enters your store, can they immediately determine which products are important? Does each display serve to impress the customer – or do they merely confuse her? If you have displays that cannot build a compelling reason for the customer to desire the products shown – then get rid of them. I don’t care if the rack was free. There may be no greater expense to a retailer than a cheap sample of a product that the customer wasn’t asking for in the first place. They only serve to create confusion and to get in the way. Let the customer have enough space to be able to stand back and create a vision.
For those who have attended the show, you know that the major vendors place emphasis on fashion and creative display. There is adequate space in both the display areas and the aisle ways. Contrast to the feeling one gets in the area containing the smaller booths. In these areas the aisles are more narrow and the lighting less dramatic. The displays are lined up side – by – side in rows. I often get the feeling that I’m lost in a maze! There may be a tremendous amount of product in these areas, but there sure isn’t much room to dream. When this happens, the emphasis invariably shifts to price.
When making your plans for the upcoming TISE 2018, remember that when customers come in to your stores they want to be wowed. They want to create a room in which they can express themselves and be proud of. While price is always a factor, it is seldom the prevailing issue if one gets emotionally engaged. This can only happen in our stores if we thin out our showrooms and allow it to. Are you giving your customers a chance to dream – or are they stuck in a maze?