Friday, October 12, 2007
Dirty Secrets of Visual Merchandising
As an avid window shopper and someone just generally fascinated by consumer tendencies, I can't help but ask myself, how do the salaries of these people figure in to what we're paying for our clothes? Those $130 black cigarette pants at BCBG -- how much of that $130 am I paying for the design and manufacturing of the actual product, and how much of it am I paying for the presentation of the product in the store itself? If the visual merchandisers at headquarters AND those more regularly present in the store need to get paid, on top of the overhead costs of renting, powering, stocking, and providing sales employees for the store, costs accumulate.
The key to visual merchandising, as I've been told, is knowing your consumer. Anticipating his needs, catering to his desires, and creating more of them. Take a look at the BCBG Maxaria store in Soho, for example. Sleek, hip, trendy -- caters to the young single girl who carries big leather totes, wears high heels with pointed toes, and likes to have ruby colored drinks in the meatpacking district on Thursday nights. The store's windows are filled with form-fitting, cleavage boosting dresses, curve enhancing sweaters, and other variations of predominantly "going-out" wear.
Now check out the BCBG Maxaria on Broadway and 68th. Wide aisles allow for the easy passage of strollers, and more conservatively displayed hip but serious business wear are the marquee here. This is the Upper West side customer that wants to be stylish at her business meetings, but still comfortable enough to pick up her kids after work.
None of this is an accident --