Over the last 15 years, we’ve had the opportunity to work with several major brands in the Consumer Electronics space including Logitech, NETGEAR, and Sony Playstation, and their corresponding retailers like Office Depot, Best Buy, Staples, Walmart, Target, Game Stop, Amazon and others. As you can imagine, with this kind of experience we have learned a great deal about what it takes to be successful developing merchandising for both in-store and on-line. So, we’ve decided to share a bit of our wisdom with you.
- SEPARATE CREATIVE DESIGN FROM INDUSTRIAL DESIGN. The industrial designers and engineers at the manufacturing houses are terrific at creating forms for an exceptional user experience, but they generally are not great at the visual design work that tells the brand and product story to the consumer. We’ve seen so many well constructed pieces of merchandising that don’t work because the creative stinks. So, don’t leave the creative to your production house– do it internally or with the help of your creative partners.
- WORK WITH MULTIPLE CREATIVE AGENCIES. We are an agency that happens to play well in the sandbox with others. This may not be the case with everyone. So, we encourage clients that have a great deal of merchandising projects to work with multiple creative agencies. We’ve had clients give the same creative assignment to us plus 1-2 more. It creates healthy competition for the work. We didn’t get every project, but we definitely got our share. Ultimately, it allowed the client to get more projects done, while having outstanding quality, with a pool of agencies at their fingertips.
- START WITH A MERCHANDISING PROJECT PROFILE QUESTIONNAIRE. As they say, “the devil is in the details.” Having a comprehensive brief to work from allows for all of the details, including budget, to be thought through, avoiding mistakes, rework and expense later. Being Marketing At Retail Certified (MaRC) through POPAI, we were given access to their comprehensive questionnaire. If you have the discipline to use it, you will have projects that run much smoother.
- STORE VISITS (ON AND OFF LINE). Don’t make a move without checking out the current store environment. Don’t rely on pictures or what others tell you. You’ve got to experience it yourself. Observe what others are doing– the good, the bad and the ugly. One of the most critical outcomes of store visits is making sure your final product stands out in the store environment. For the brick and mortar retailer visits never forget a tape measure. Take photos (or screen captures for online) and video to refer to later.
- DIMENSION. Push your team to think dimensionally. What we mean is printed and digital merchandising doesn’t need to be “flat.” Some of our most impactful projects used layers and/or motion. Check out this Logitech display where we used a clear plexi (that we printed the outline of the mouse on), which stood off over the backer (note the backer and shelf liner where customized by retailer based on the colors and patterns they were selling in-store):
- MATERIALS, MATERIALS, MATERIALS. The graphic design team should have input on the materials that are used for in-store merchandising, as the materials help convey the story. For example, here’s a display we did for SonyPlaystation that used real wood and silk ivy and plastic grass to really bring the Uncharted4 game story to life.
- TOUCH-TRY EXPERIENCE. One huge advantage of in-store merchandising (vs. on-line) for CE brands is the ability to execute the “touch-try” experience. Having product out of box and/or demo-able in the store is a driver of purchase. For lower priced items (e.g. mice) it can provoke the impulse to buy and for higher price items (e.g. speakers, headphones, gaming accessories) the ability to touch and try before you buy is the experiential element that closes the sale.
- BULLET PROOF. No matter if you are producing a shelf talker or a video kiosk make sure it is going to stand up to the store environment. We recently spoke to a retailer who took one brand’s shelf talkers down because they were falling off. Nothing is worse than executing a program that breaks in store.
- MONITOR AND MEASURE. Get back in-store and on-line. Check out your work, see how it’s performing. Take pictures and write up your notes. Always measure the lift you are getting by doing pre-post analysis or if some stores have the merchandising and some don’t compare the results.
We have done thousands of pieces of merchandising for our clients. If you need creative merchandising expertise, give us a holler.
For more thoughts on Consumer Electronics go to our blog post “Changing Dynamics In The Consumer Electronics Market.”