The Power of Storytelling in Retail Displays
Whether it’s intentional or not, every brand’s display choices tell a story.
Storytelling should be something that is very thoughtful. Most times, it’s what is the deciding factor in making a sale. It’s up to the brand to make sure that good displays are used to tell a story worth telling.
You can make your layout almost like a maze, with a clear beginning and end, but the floor plans that seem to make the most sense are open with natural rows and a natural progression within the store.
But storytelling is more about what the fixtures or displays are doing to call out to the customer until they pick up the product and picture it. Experts in the space know that one word typically comes to mind when it comes to storytelling in the retail industry: senses. Brands should work to activate all five senses of the consumer: sight, smell, sounds, touch, and taste. Obviously, some senses are easier to reach than others, but playing to the human body is the easiest way to communicate.
So, as a consumer walks into your brick-and-mortar location, how are you going to speak to them? Banners and free-standing displays? Colors? Sounds? Smells? All of these different elements apply to senses and can spark an interest in potential buyers, so it’s important to leverage your resources to the best of your brand’s ability.
One specific example is in the cannabis space: because there are a lot of regulations and restrictions around how cannabis-specific products are displayed, brands have gotten creative. It’s typically not permitted for consumers to be able to open the jar of products containing cannabis, so big brands are conjuring fake products that look, feel, and smell like what they’re trying to sell without the actual cannabis flower included in it. It’s an easy workaround to people not being permitted to open the jar and experience what they’re potentially buying. So, legally, they’re now allowed to let people touch and smell something similar to the oil, lotion, or whatever product it is they’re trying to sell.
Another less intensive idea for attracting customer attention would be the utilization of technology. By using TV screens and tables to walk your consumer through a journey related to the product, they’re able to learn and experience on their own time and by their own free will. Plus, the script being followed by the recording or interactive app is usually thorough and thoughtful. Things like that up the experience, and typically equate to a clearer story being told.
As far as the storytelling via the sequencing and the layout of the store, it mostly depends on what’s going on in the retail environment. Obviously, with big sales, brands should want to tell a story as soon as somebody walks in; not only is that through visual banners or free standing signage, but it’s ideal to make sure your sales representatives understand what the story is and can verbalize it, as well. As soon as somebody walks into the store, your employees should be able to tell that story right out of the gate. You hear it often; “Hey, is there anything you’re looking for today?” Just so you know this product is buy one, get one half off.”
A lot of consumers might not know that if or until they see the signage, but an informed and confident sales rep is going to tell the story to them as soon as he or she walks in. There’s an aspect of signage and banners that can be really effective, but human interaction is how you truly communicate a story.
Download IDD’s free guide to learn how to tell a story with your brick-and-mortar displays.