Retail Detail: Merchandising

This is an assignment for my ParsosnXTeenVogue course.

The layout and look of retail space can determine whether or not a shopper notices it at all, let alone finds it appealing, wearable, and enticing enough to try on or purchase.  How the racks are positioned, whether there are mannequins showcasing outfits and how one might mix and match the separates into a stylish look, the lighting, props, tables for the knitwear, and the arrangement of garments on the racks are all key components of the merchandising behind sales.  Stores like Bergdorf Goodman are known for their merchandising savvy; they’ve become so good at it that people photograph and share their window art enthusiastically.

I went to Bloomingdales for my merchandising field trip, sure I’d see a multitude of designers’ clothing propped up in different  ways.  Speaking of the retail giant, they’ve utilized all types of props in the past, chandeliers and drapery surrounding womenswear brands, for example.  I was drawn to the John Varvatos collection.  There was a large amplifier next to a shelved display table to drive the rocker theme home; the racks, shelving, signage on the wall, and mannequins wearing on-trend and classic looks were inviting.  The layout of the racks and tables worked to lead one into the center of the space, those farthest from which were parallel to the walkway, and those in the center perpendicular, leading to the back wall and lined with merchandising tables with t-shirts and leather bags.  It’s a clear statement of who the designer is- sometimes you have to look for a sign or read the tags to know what designer’s looks are in a section, but everything from the props to the space lets you know it’s John Varvatos, and signage clearly states that so you know where to go if you’re looking for his clothes.  High fashion brands don’t have such a recognizable merchandising set up in the store, and it just speaks for the marketing team behind the Varvatos brand.

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