The vocabulary of the Visual Merchant can be intimidating for Joe Average Retail Mensch. H-Fixtures, 4-Ways, Spinner Racks, Dump Bins, Rounders are universal descriptions of store fixtures you may see everyday, but didn’t realize they had a name. But, trust me, if you and I were building a store – no matter what our product lines were – we would agree these five fixtures MUST be in our new store:
1. Checkstand racks. In grocery stores, these are the wire bins that hold gum, candy, chapstick and TV Guides. At department and specialty stores, they hold gift cards and miscellaneous add-on goods. In any case, all brick and mortar retailers have to have something that serves this purpose. Heck, even Apple has small racks to hold their AppleCare and one to one materials.
2. H-Fixtures. Called “H” fixtures because they look like the capital letter H from the top down, these versatile fixtures are pulled into high-traffic areas and can hold every conceivable merchandising implement: shelves, pegs, hang bars, etc. This is a true workhorse and can be outfitted to look as upscale as needed. Ends can hold large graphics when inventories are lean.
3. Dump Bins. Great device for merchandising everything from scarves to dog treats in bulk, dump bins make a statement. They invite shoppers to paw through goods in search of making a great discovery. Easy to merchandise, they are a nightmare for inventory control and replenishment estimates! Nevertheless, they are a merchandising standard in many retailers. Line up a dozen to create an instant “treasure hunt” environment — especially if every item can be priced the same. “Your Choice: $9.99.” For great utility, get a dump bin with a moveable bottom rack that can be lifted up as inventory declines, making it appear full and easy to shop. Solid dump bins (not wire) can look attractive or rustic – especially appealing in produce sections.
4. Nesting Tables. These tables can really set the tone for the store environment: modern & sleek, vintage, retro, country. A pair or set of 3 nesting tables can be used in most retail stores. You can do everything from folded apparel with half-mannequins to DVD’s and books to place settings. Nesting tables work equally well in bulk situations where the space under them can be used for (attractively stacked) extra inventory to specialty merchandising where you want to highlight a special one-of-a-kind product. Typically found in the entryway of many mall retailers, they are a great anchor for any store-within-a-stoe shop.
5. The Showcase. There is something very appealing about putting items in a showcase. Usually reserved for high-value items that run a high risk for being stolen, they can also highlight truly special items that astute sales associates can talk about with any customer. Besides the usual jewelry, showcases can be used for scotch and wines, vintage apparel, exotic gourmet foods (caviar with ivory spoons!), imported handicrafts. Anything placed in a showcase becomes special. The key is making sure there are friendly associates who will immediately offer assistance to shoppers who might be put off by having to ask for something under glass.