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Visual Merchandising and New Adaptable Displays

Highly adaptable elements in retail design can be a constant source of attraction for customers. They can amplify the novelty effect of new products or seasonal promotions, catching customers’ attention from afar with excellent façade adaptations, or increasing their level of engagement with the brand using interactive experiential points.

The four main elements that can be easily customized in-line with brands’ promotion are:

1) Façade Design

2) Interactive Experiential Points

3) Product Displays

4) Pop-up Stores

Part one of this series has introduced how excellent façade designs can help attract customers from the street into the store. Part two has focused on how brands have improved customers’ participation and in-store experiences through interactive points.

In this third part of the Adaptable Retail Design Series, we are going to re-focus our attention on the products and provide excellent examples of adaptable product displays.

Putting Adaptability in Product Display

Product displays come in various formats and with the ability to fulfill various needs in the retail space. The two types of product displays used to fulfil different needs are exterior and interior displays. Exterior displays provide customers with a clear signal that new products are available. Interior displays enhance the retail space providing consumers with a pleasant visual experience.

While the main composition techniques have maintained their best practices throughout the past century, innovations -such as artificial lighting, new materials, and new promotion channels- have shaped the development of product displays. Modern product displays are adaptable to the fast-pacing retail calendar and easier to customize following the brand’s identity and aesthetics.

Goals of Adaptable Product Display

The strength of visual display strategies is that they communicate with the customers in a “silent” but effective way:

  • Showcase the product at its best: make the products shine and highlight their details.
  • Change the conformation of the store: impress customers in a time/cost-effective way.
  • Highlight brand aesthetics: communicate the brand values and aesthetics through visual channels.

Window display – 2020 Autumn/Winter Collection, Yang Maoyuan with ST. JOHN

In November 2020, American luxury brand ST. JOHN unveiled their latest seasonal window display for the Shanghai boutique. The display, designed in collaboration with Chinese artist Yang Maoyuan, interprets in visual terms the concept of “Venus” and embodies the modern elegance of the brand’s last collection. The display uses black and gold colors that complement the new collection’s bold animalier print.

Image Source: LinkedIn 复星时尚 Fosun Fashion

Interior Modular Components – Hermes 2020 Autumn/Winter Collection

The Hermes 2020 Autumn/Winter collection display for their Shanghai location combines minimalist design with colorful backdrops. The tables and modular components are equipped with semi-visible wheels, allowing for a quick reshaping of the space at need. The display format communicates the artistic value of the product, as well as the high quality and the refined image associated with the brand’s identity.

Image Source: China Daily

 Mannequins – Hiroshi Fujiwara for Moncler’s “Genius Collection”

Livestreams are a new promotional channel for brands in China, and product displays are becoming important to add tridimensionality to these events. As part of the ongoing “Genius Collection”, in June 2020 Moncler launched its new line designed by Hiroshi Fujiwara in a one-week marketing campaign. The launch included a livestreaming event for the Chinese public, welcoming attendees in various settings including a white futuristic room. The presence of Moncler’s ambassador Song Qian helped viewers connect with the brand, but the mannequins displaying the new Moncler fragment line helped customers envision the outfits, getting a clearer idea of how the products would fit.

“Understanding your target customers for successful online lead generation”

Image Source: Weibo 北京时装周官微

Point of Purchase Display – Bulgari “Serpenti” Prelaunch for China Duty Free Group and Luxottica

In 2019 Luxottica partnered with China Duty Free Group to host the prelaunch of Bulgari’s sunglasses line “Serpenti” in various locations. The collection featured a tailor-made point of purchase display perfectly sized to fit the limited retail space. The display’s area was emphasized by a small black rug, and the campaign’s signature colors made the POP display stand out from its surroundings. The crystal encrusted sunglasses were orderly arranged on three asymmetrical table displays, while a small mirror invited customers to try on the new line.

Image Source: Hunter

Whether presenting a new line, a prelaunch, or the opening of a new store, adaptable product displays have several benefits for brands: Key Benefits for Brands

  • Increase foot traffic: adaptable product displays can help drive more traffic to the store and draw customers in from the streets.
  • Boost excitement for new products: excellent examples of product displays can increase the appeal of the products and leave a long-lasting first impression on customers.
  • Increase sales: product displays can their capacity to envision themselves using the product and enhancing the likelihood of a successful purchase.

Visual merchandising practices have been part of retail strategy since the birth of modern brick-and-mortar stores. Product displays have curbed a role for themselves, putting products under a spotlight: the right product display calls for customers’ attention on specific products and lines, but also complements the interior design of a store beyond functionality.

In the last article of this series dedicated to Adaptable Retail Design, we are going to focus on one of the protagonists of the last ten years: Pop-Up stores.


This blog post was originally published by Melchers’ Retail Partner 5 Star Plus Retail Design, an interior design company specializing in the branded design of retail stores and restaurants. The original post can be found here.




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