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Modern Merchandising - Display And Sale

( Originally Published 1918 )

Attractive Stores.-There is more to the business of retailing than simply having a store that is stocked with goods, even of the kind that the public wants.

As between two stores, one with a bright, cheery exterior, with show windows wide and well lighted, displaying its merchandise amid pleasing, artistic settings, whose aisles are broad, whose goods are conveniently arranged for easy examination, and another store carrying the very same goods, but dingy in its exterior, negligent of its windows and careless in the display of the wares there shown, with narrow aisles, goods piled in but slight regard for order or ease of access, which one would gain your patronage? There is but one answer the attractively attired store.

That is why so much attention is being paid to store fronts, why novel arrangements of windows and entrances that afford greater opportunity for the store to display its goods and for the public to inspect them are coming into more common use; why aisles are broader why the newer counters are glass on top and front; why shelving is arranged to permit of display at its top; why lighting is so much better than ever before; why, in short, everything is done that will make people like to, yes, want to come into the store.

Not every store can, in its earlier days, be fitted out in this manner, but every store can approximate it in a degree. To make a beginning, the two most important things are light and an air of cleanliness. Both are everywhere available, and the rest can be added as the business grows.

Value of Display. It is an old saying that "well displayed is half sold." In view of the elaborate displays of today, it might be said that "well displayed is three-quarters sold." The wonderful window displays in the great stores attest this truth. Wise merchants use their choicest goods for such purposes.

The important fact about it is that it pays, and pays big. Window space is recognized today as the most valuable advertising medium a store can use. In fact it is a practice among the larger stores to fix a dollar and cent value on each window per day, and to charge the department whose goods are shown with that sum as an advertising expense. Accurate records of sales are kept and thus the effect of the displays on the volume of business is determined.

Interior store displays are equally as important. The store windows can show but a few of the lines that are carried. The interior displays must take up the burden from then on. But displays, whether in the windows or inside, must be kept ever changing. In that, largely, is their attention value. To pass the store and see the same goods on display day after day, is to cause one to pass by without ever looking, after a while. But with a constantly changing panorama, moving pictures, as it were, of the lines carried inside, is to create interest and that is the first step towards purchase.

It matters not what kind of a store it may be, nor where located, the right kind of window and interior displays will bring about a remarkable increase in the volume of business.

Placing New Goods.—It is an accepted rule that new goods deserve and should be given the most prominent place consistent with the rest of the stocks. They cannot begin to be productive until the public knows they are on hand. They should be placed where as many people can see them as possible, no matter what they come into the store to buy. They can be moved to some other location later on.

The window displays should also show them. Give them a dignified background and setting.

Have a card writer make up attractive announcements about them. If the manufacturer provides advertising display matter, use it in connection with the goods, and remember that these sales aids have cost real money and most likely are in use because they have proven to be real sales producers.

When the display is taken out of the window, don't keep it out forever. Put it back again, but in a new form. Keep the public acquainted with the fact that you have these goods.

Value of Assortments.—In connection with the smaller articles, give preference to assortments, especially those that come in display cases. The manufacturers recognize the temptation to shove these little things under the counter or in some out-of-the-way place, and the result is they are not seen by the trade that comes into the store.

The very core of unscientific, unsystematic store 'management, or mismanagement, lies in this very' tendency to stick goods out of sight until some customer comes along and asks for them It puts the burden on the customer of assuming that you have them and requesting that they be brought out for his inspection. This is not selling the goods to him. He is buying them from you. If he were not persistent he would never ask for them and a sale would be lost.

The thing that appeals to the average retailer is the fact that assortments actually sell them-selves. The customet sees at a glance just what they are. In most cases their price is in plain sight. He can make his own selection and the sale is reduced to his statement, "I'll take this."

The Power of Suggestion.—To understand this is to make a great stride towards success in merchandising. By this is meant the appeal that displayed merchandise makes, through the eye, to the brain, creating the desire of possession and suggesting the need or advantage in the use of the goods.

It is estimated that about thirty per cent of all sales are made in this way. People linger in front of a store window, or pause before a counter and there see some article they had no previous intention of buying, and instantly exclaim, "There, that's exactly what I want. I believe I'll take it," and a sale is made. The bulk of the business of the 5c and 10c stores is had through this very power of suggestion made possible by display.

Personal Showing of Goods. As effective as is display, there is no substitute to the personal showing of goods.

Don't be afraid to pick up the goods and handle them. If they are not too large, let the customer examine them also.

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