Visual Merchandising & Windows After Lockdown

John Abbate FBDS, Lead VM & Windows at Northbanks talks to A1 Retail about what retailers should be doing with their shop windows and VM now they have re-opened.

Shops have re-opened and we can finally welcome customers back (hooray!) – make it safe, easy and enjoyable for them and shop staff. Visual merchandising and store design can facilitate this, remember to find appropriate solutions that fit the brand or shop aesthetic.

Here’s Northbanks’ 10 ways:

1. Signage – windows, floor, countertops or pole mounted frames to clearly direct customers through:

  • A one-way system
  • Keep 2 metres apart
  • Easy to understand messages e.g. ‘Please do not touch – ask for assistance’.

2. Display a ‘how to conduct business’ notice, decide whether customers are asked not to touch items but seek assistance (remember the sales team will need to keep their distance) or should they self-serve, bringing items to the cash desk to wrap and bag themselves i.e. ‘Single touch ‘n’ buy’? Each method has implications for customer service vs safety of those working in the store. Regardless which option you choose, your team will need to wear appropriate PPE, e.g. masks, and wash hands constantly. Make this easy for them by having a ‘sanitation station’ with soap / sanitiser, paper towels, rubbish bins and most importantly, training, to not only communicate guidelines but encourage and motivate. Remember to also sanitise chip and pin machines after every use.

3. This notice should be displayed in the window or at the entrance and again at the sales counter for customers to read while they finish the sales transaction. Some customers may be annoyed but most will appreciate that you are helping guide and care about them, your sales team and the general public, to keep us all safe. Thank them for their understanding and be as polite as possible in the tone of voice.  Also train the sales team how to deal with customers who may not respect, challenge or complain about the guidelines / social distancing policies.

4. The material and finish of the signs will depend on your shop or brand retail image: Would a framed notice nicely printed be more appropriate than an acrylic sign or vinyl sticker. If framed: choose a material, colour and finish that matches the shop furniture, finishes or other similar framed artwork or signage in the store.

5. If a floor sticker is a good solution, think about bespoke options so the colours and font match the shop style and branding.

6. Have hand sanitiser at sales counters and exit points. For a more luxury solution to a plastic bottle, use a soap dispenser of your choice that goes with the shop interior design aesthetic but have appropriate labelling stating that it is hand sanitiser.

7. Use suitable protection screens, consider countertop or ceiling hung. Plan where to place them and allow space for merchandise and more importantly inclusiveness e.g. wheelchair users etc.

8. Consider queuing solutions e.g. retractable barriers. Choose the most suitable finish and colour for the shop aesthetic.

9. Make, sell or give away facemasks that align with the branding / ethos, and ensure staff wear them too.

10. Remind customers of your online capabilities and services e.g. click & collect, delivery etc, and clearly communicate the company URL and social media.

Northbanks is here to support you and provide you with all the necessary measures that will need to be in place to enable you to safely reopen your shops. We can audit your retail space to ensure it complies, and also supply and install signage, barriers and plastic screens and PPE.

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