Everyone in retail is facing the question of how to maintain and also grow retail revenue in these uncertain times. In particular, our Charity Retail customers are constantly looking for new ways to generate and conserve income streams to support the great work they do.

There are some really innovative ideas coming to light turning the challenges of the new retail environment into a positive and winning experience as well as a great shopping experience for customers.  We thought we’d share some ideas for you to build upon and find ways to grow in the new normal.

Growing footfall in the new normal

The first thought with the new Social Distancing guidelines is the lack of footfall into the stores.  But there are real positives to this!  Less customers means you can really concentrate on those customers. Don’t ‘oversell’ but just take an interest, and make them feel wanted and valued.  Remember pieces of information they share with you and  make sure you ask about it next time they visit. Done sensitively, customers will really value this interest.

Shift style shopping

Another way to give your customers a real “boutique” shopping time is to extend opening hours by an hour or two with a shift arrangement.  You could offer customers to ‘book’ a shopping time early or late.  This would enable those that are currently working to visit the high street in the evening. Remember, if you’re one of the only shops who offers a unique and flexible experience, they will remember you and are much more likely to return!

Shifting Talent

It may be an obvious statement, but could you manage with less staff on the shop floor? It’s not just a case of making redundancies, but rather shifting talent across multiple stores, or even into a different area of the business whose capacity is stretched.  Why not ask your staff if there is another area in the business that they’ve always fancied joining, you may never know what will come out of the woodwork

Rewarding Retail

Your regular customers are the ones who will shout about your brand on social media and share positive vibes about the work you’re doing.  Reward them well and what better way to do this by offering VIP incentives?  These could be something like offering 3 for 2 or 10% off over £XX spend.  You could offer them the incentive with the condition that they visit at a ‘quiet time’ :)

Inspiring window displays

Make your customers want to step through your doors by improving your visual merchandising in your window displays!  It would be great to make your windows relevant to today’s world, so think Rainbows, NHS support, and share inspirational messages of hope!

Vertical Merchandising

Encourage link sales by utilising vertical merchandising!  Why not place colour coordinating shoes on top of your gondolas, or have floor to ceiling displays of items like cushions, throws & linen, or cutlery, tea cups & serve ware?  If they are looking for that item that will finish their collection, it’s likely they may be tempted to buy more than one!

Christmas comes early

RSPCA Christmas Window Display

RSPCA Christmas Window Display, one of our winners from our 2019 Charity Window Competition

Why not encourage customers to do a bit of early Christmas shopping now, while the shops are quiet?  You could play on the fact that there will be greater choice, and they won’t suffer from inflated pricing, especially during this economic hardship.  It will also help them to spread the costs across months instead of major outlay during the last few months of the year.

The pavement is your playground

Could you (space permitting) play with some creative ideas on the area outside your shop?  Think A frames, chalkboards, pavement signs, or maybe some stickers to draw the eye to your store front?  The pavement is your playground.  Make it an extension of your visual merchandising display! And a safe place for social distancing too!

Remember to make the most of free resources too to get hints and tips on how to create exciting displays  that are topical or on trend. Check out these visual merchandising guides you can find here.

Hopefully this has planted some seeds of imagination which you can adapt & use in your particular circumstances. Put one or two of these into practice & you will almost certainly find that your average transaction value will increase to offset the reduction in customer density.

And best of luck with the new normal!

Get in touch to find out more

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We are now almost a third of the way through the last quarter of 2019. After what has been a challenging year for retail, the high street must be holding it’s breath for the end of political turmoil to concentrate on the business of Christmas. Competition as fierce as always, getting customers through the door is key. So what has the biggest influence on footfall? Your window display! So how can you stand out in the crowd and engage with customers in the short moments it takes to walk passed your window? We take a look at some great things you could be thinking about to make the most of the next 2 months.

Know your customer

Magic & Sample

Magic & Sparkle

Worried about being on trend? One thing that never goes out of style is a brand’s ability to capture the imagination and tell its story. Consider your customer’s aspirations and reflect this in your window. They need to identify with the story so it needs to be relatable and relevant.

Take a look at this window by Marks and Spencer, playing on their “festive brand alternative” that has become synonymous with Christmas. The window shows the mannequins have been transformed into fairies with their modern take on a winter wonderland. This window is sure to delight the die hard Marks & Spencer fan as well as being intriguing enough to attract new ones.

 

Eye level buy level

It makes sense to place the central element of your window display at eye level.  It makes it easier to have an instant impact on customers.  Over time, customers will look forward to seeing it when they pass by. If it is an example of clothing, it will need to inspire and cleverly sell a lifestyle rather than be seen as just a product. Again, it’s all about being engaging as well as relatable.

Clever retail

Trick or treat shop window display

Trick or treat window display

Visual merchandising is more important then ever with competition from on line as well as pop-ups and other shops on the high street. This brilliant shop window by Coles Hardware heralds the Trick or Treat season with a very clever display that cost less than $100. Humour can go a long way in capturing the imagination and getting customers through the door.

Ultimately your window display is your billboard. It’s all about creating drama, impact and the unexpected – and it doesn’t need always need big budgets!

 

 

 

Marks & Spencers photo by Millington Associates

Coles Department Store photo by Noelle Nicks

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We’re looking for the best dressed charity Christmas window of 2018! It’s your opportunity to win £250 of visual merchandising equipment for your store.

As you know, your shop window has the greatest influence in attracting shoppers into your shop so you will have been busy planning your display to make the most of November and December to raise as much money as possible for your cause.

Open to all UK charities and hospices, we would love to see how innovative and ingenious you have been in creating your festive themed windows for 2018.

Charity Christmas Window

This will be your busiest and no doubt the most lucrative time of the year for your shop. You will be competing hard against other big brands on the high street who have considerably larger budgets.  Your shop window will play a massive part in encouraging footfall and inspiring people to come inside. Challenging pre-conceptions of charity shops will also be high on your agenda and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach a new demographic for example.

Competition details!

In the judging, we will pay special attention to:

  1. Innovative use of recycling and re-purposing items as props to display your donated products
  2. How your window tells a story
  3. Use of colour

Our winner will receive £250 to spend on Visual Merchandising equipment from Acopia for your store:

Crates and Christmas decorations

Looking festive!

Display ladder

From our Street 76 range

Collection of coloured wooden crates

Great for display!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female mannequin christmas shop display

Chestnut Tree House Christmas Window

To enter our competition – just send an email letting us know all about the idea behind your theme this year and include up to 5 photographs of your shop window to [email protected] Please submit your entry to us by 12th December 2018.

Our very own Visual Merchandising Trainer, Karen Murray (who has worked with brands such as Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, Gap) will select the winner who will be announced on the 20th of December.

If you would like to take your Visual Merchandising to the next level in 2019, why not get in touch with us at [email protected] to find out more about our FREE training day!

We know you’ll be excited to get involved so please feel free to share and tag your entries with  #acopiabestdressed

Good luck and we look forward to seeing your photographs!

If you would like to find out about your local Visual Merchandising Training with Acopia – get in touch here:

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Main Image: British Red Cross

 

Timing is everything when looking after your most valuable asset – your plant stock. Keeping your planteria environment inviting to your customers and looking its best is time consuming.  Get this wrong and the result could be a loss of sales due to poorly kept stock. Challenges brought about through maintenance and specifically watering are many. Over watering as well as under watering create their own issues with loss of stock, an unsafe customer environment and plant bench deterioration proves costly all round. Wasted resource on time consuming hand watering as well as the cost of the water itself all add up to continual expense if not optimised efficiently. So what’s the answer? Actually it’s Capillary matting!

Next generation capillary matting

Managing urgent watering in record breaking temperatures in a busy garden nursery when customers need your full attention is a huge challenge. So what is the solution? Recent pioneering testing with capillary matting has achieved some excellent results which are easy to replicate with correct installation and usage.

The key benefits of capillary matting

  • Water retention 3 litres/m2
  • Very even water distribution
  • Excellent water take up by plants
  • Rapid water absorption
  • Strong root growth resulting in healthy plants
  • Reduced risk of disease through no excess water
  • Reduced water usage
  • Different thicknesses optimised for different bench types
  • Easy to clean – can be pressure washed or brushed
  • UV stabilised
Capillary Matting

Easy watering with Capillary Matting

This all results in a prolonged bench life for your stock with a system that can be easily adapted to fit any size of bench. Flexible, money saving, low maintenance and can be used for both your indoor and outdoor plant displays.

Tailor made to deliver incredible savings

Matting is made-to-measure to exact bench requirements. As it arrives pre-cut, this reduces installation time. This can be calculated at over £1,000 in labour savings for 100 benches over ordinary capillary installation solutions.

On average, weekly savings have been calculated overall at delivering nearly a £200 reduction per week in watering labour costs as well as over £300 a week in water consumption. As far as plant stock is concerned, garden centres could expect to see a reduction of at least 25% in plant loss.

To see how it works for yourself, talk to your planteria provider who can work out the expected cost savings you could expect to achieve for your own nursery or network.

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You may have been following progress on our latest shop-fit in Redhill for our client St Catherine’s Hospice. The 27th of April was the culmination of months of hard work and planning, the new shop in Redhill opened its doors to the community for the first time. Acopia had been involved right from the start with the fit-out from an initial site survey – all the way through to the finishing touches a few days before opening. The shop looked immaculate for the open day!

This was quite an extensive renovation and our Fit-Out team were on site for a few weeks. The team started by removing the existing shop furnishings and counters, as well as removing walls and flooring. The vision was to create a bright, bold and airy environment with lots of space for customers to move easily around the shop. It was key the look remained uncluttered with products displayed on smart and modern fittings.

Renovation in progress!

Renovation in progress!

Delicious St Catherine's Hospice cupcakes - we had a few of those!

Delicious St Catherine’s Hospice cupcakes – we had a few of those!

The wonderful team at Redhill

The wonderful team at Redhill

The shop started to take shape with new spaces created such as a new modern kitchen bespoke donation sorting area. New flooring was laid, new walls installed and new electrics run. We then highlighted some of the walls with St Catherine’s Hospice trademark brand colour – their wonderful bright and cheerful orange. We installed a modern twin slot system which worked very well in the space and with the diverse nature of donated products.

Wayne Stepney, Retail Manager at St Catherine's Hospice with Acopian Account Director Keith Gilbert.

Wayne Stepney, Retail Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice, with Acopian Account Director Keith Gilbert.

The first transaction through the till!

The first transaction through the till!

With eager customers waiting outside, the doors opened and the shop was was inundated with shoppers keen to support their local hospice. There was a queue at the till within minutes which was a very proud moment for Wayne Stepney, Retail Development Manager, and his team to see after the long months of planning.

Acopia were thrilled to not only complete the shop-fit but to also be invited to the opening itself. We are delighted to hear that the shop had a very successful first weekend. We know from our clients that our shop fits deliver great return on investment and we shall be returning very soon to catch up with the wonderful team at Redhill.

If you would like to talk to us about your next shop-fit, just call us on 0845 075 6111 and we would be delighted to chat to you.

 

Our goal at Acopia has always been to look at procurement and process from our client’s side of the table and how we can establish meaningful partnerships that allow us to support their growth and return on investment. Looking to add value and constantly anticipate our customer’s needs really sets us apart. When focusing on the Charity Retail Sector, we felt that by introducing some free support would really help shops gain traction in their communities. Providing a working knowledge of Visual Merchandising could really help to transform retail spaces to encourage more footfall and purchases.

Getting it right

We are very lucky to be invited to the Hospice UK Retail Steering Group to launch the idea and gain feedback from the group to help tailor the training. It was important to us that the training was to be relevant, provide solutions – as well as being enjoyable! The idea was greeted very enthusiastically by the group and we were delighted to be able to provide a much needed service and collaborative support.

The training was held at our Head Office in sunny Bognor Regis! We had representatives from 8 Charities attend the training which examined the principles of Visual Merchandising such as how to create an impactful window, thinking about the customer journey around the store, positioning products for impulse purchases, space planning, colour blocking – and loads more! It was also a great networking opportunity as attendees were able to discuss and swap new ideas with fellow charities.

Our group were keen to explore how the basic principles could be applied to their own retail spaces and were able to take time with our trainer to discuss specific in-store challenges and look at planning their space better.

Learning into practice

Well dressed mannequins!

The winning table top display! Tables from our Street 76 display Range

Our Street 76 Display Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon was dedicated to putting it all into practice! The group had lots fun diving into our products from our Street 76 display range and the props (all from local charities!) to create table top displays and dress mannequins. We were keen to replicate the typical products that Charities receive everyday and learn to understand how to make the most of donated product. We rounded off the day with a competition for the best dressed mannequin and display!

We had some great feedback from the day:

“Relevant content and inspirational ideas”  “Great energy from the presenter”  “I have learnt a lot and have some great ideas to take back to our stores”

If you like the sound of some learning more about Visual Merchandising and what benefits this could bring to your Charity retail estate – please just get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and help you to achieve more from your stores!

Call Jake Elkins on 0845 075 6111 for more information and details on our next FREE course.

Loyalty schemes are seeing something of a renascence with 64% of brands reporting an increase in memberships over the past year. A lot has to do with the fact that schemes are certainly a lot more sophisticated than they used to be. As more and more retailers understand that the retail landscape is changing and move towards a more omnichannel model, programs can record every customer interaction with their brand, building better profiles to enable greater insights than ever possible before. This allows for more personal marketing to effectively lock-in customer loyalty.

We take a look at how the traditional image and offering of the ‘reward scheme’ has changed and why customers are keen to embrace this like never before.

Loyalty driven through personalisation

Locking In Customer Loyalty

A trip to the shops

This is the main driver of acceptance of loyalty schemes and there is a distinct connection between being able to offer this and achieving customer satisfaction. Consumers want to feel like they are an individual, that they receive unique and bespoke offers based on their shopping preferences and buying habits. Being able to deliver these personal experiences with frequent seemingly tailored communications keeps customers engaged and anticipating the next brand ‘message’.

Connecting brands

Making the loyalty scheme even more compelling is where brands deliver in greater value to their customers when connecting with partners. This allows strategic partners to reach a new audiences and deliver something really unique to their customer base. It really helps to ‘extend’ the brand in the customer’s eyes with matched special offers.

Behaving responsibly

When 81% of millennial’s expect the brands they ‘adopt’ to go beyond just generating profit – they want to buy-in to the brand itself and are determined to hold them socially responsible. Almost 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services if the company is committed to reducing their environmental impact for example. Brands need to do more than simply say they stand for their core values, they need to be seen to living up to them. Creating brand ambassadors through an environment of responsible behaviour creates an emotional connection to the brand-and your opportunity to create customers for life. If you need greater footfall – make your scheme reward instore visits. It’s a fabulous way to incentivise your customer’s spend with you and keep them spending!

 

 

Statistics from Marketing Land, Crowd Twist

When your retail space first opened – it was bright, fresh, shiny and welcoming. It stocked the latest must-have products, lovingly displayed and was the place to go  – people just loved to shop with you. Now all that seems to have changed  – so how can you revitalise your retail space and get your customers flooding back in? How do you know if it’s time for a retail makeover? Here’s our top 5 guide to knowing if it’s time to make a change!

How is the space layed out?

Optimising your space is a science, especially when it is at a premium. Thinking about customer flow through the space and how they can interact with your products is key. Assessing what will work, creating the correct ambience for the outlet to encourage those extra sales from casual browsing all works to maximise those opportunities. Working with an expert in customer flow and product placement can really deliver an enormous return on investment.

Is your store consistent?

What does your store say to your customers? Is your signage, for example, the same throughout or are some in colour, black and white, computer generated or even handwritten? Do you have a brand theme for all your displays? Signage, display solutions and mannequins should all work together in a polished harmonious look to support your brand.

How do customers react to your products?

Are your displays crammed full of products that don’t invite customers to interact with them? Is it all shown in the same way with nothing standing out as key product promotion areas. If it overwhelms your customers, the likelihood they will leave without purchasing. Take a step back and a fresh look at your displays – what do you see?

Does Your Store Look Past It Best?

Retail thrives on bringing customers the very latest trends. It’s all about What’s New? Just as music and clothes fade in and out of fashion – store interiors have style trends too. What looked great in 2019 might be starting to looka bit tired today. Take an honest look – is it in need of a refresh?

Are Your Sales Suffering?

Business does not need to be dire straits to benefit from a makeover, stagnant sales are the first sign something may be wrong. Strike now whilst customers are still coming through the door so they can tell like minded friends about your latest look! Show it all off on facebook and instagram and even have a grand re-opening! Incentivise it by offering a free gift for the first 10 people through the door on open day.

Working with an industry expert can really help you look at your retail space objectively and work with you to achieve a great result. Choices in colour and lighting as well as help with effective display and fittings will all pay dividends at the till! Is it time for your retail makeover?