Have you been shopping lately? The hot trend of the summer
is East Coast Beach.
Think rope, grasses, sand dunes, sun-washed pastel hues of
blue and green, sea shells, lighthouses, driftwood and more (fishermen in yellow jackets, salty hair, smoking pipes not needed).
Pottery Barn calls it Coastal Style. Just take a look at their home page to get
“coastalized” (yes that was a lame attempt at coining a term).
And if you’re out and about, all you have to do is take a look at a Pottery Barn window
and you’re instantly transported to a different place – a place where warm, salty
ocean breezes weather clapboard houses. Where families gather. Where big rustic outdoor tables brim
with tubs of beer, buckets of white wine, and mounds of boiled crab and shrimp. Where
shabby chic and nighttime fires evoke a sense of comfort, with Astrud
Gilberto’s Brazilian beats drifting from the ipod.
Can you feel it?
I have to admit, I was drawn into Pottery Barn yesterday by
their windows. And I actually was really impressed by the mix of merchandise, and wanted to create that sense of place in my home (even though my home
doesn’t really work for that style). But I did pick up a few pieces and worked
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
You have to create a sense of place to transport your customers
If you’re not employing visual propping to create a story,
well, then you’re nothing more than just a collection of products for sale.
Having spent a number of years marketing theme parks, we
always used to talk about the importance of theming in the overall park
experience and in each individual ride. All you have to do is compare is your
regional theme park (Six Flags, Cedar Fair parks) with a Disney experience.
There is no comparison. If, as a theme park, you didn’t theme (ahem) your park,
well, you weren’t really anything more than just a collection of rides. And
that’s called an amusement park.
See the difference?
How are you creating stories around seasonality? Around
holidays? Around specific initiatives? And there doesn’t even have to be a reason. It’s okay to just make something up. As long
as you stand for something, you can always find a story to tell.
So put on your writer’s cap and figure out how you’re going
to create a theme park in your store. After all, the last thing you want is for everyone to think of
you as just a plain old amusement park.
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