Learning from the Store of the Future

Benjamin Moore's VP of retail services disseminated some knowledge around next-generation merchandising.

Sarasota Paint Co. was an early adopter of the Store of the Future.

Las Vegas — Eugene Andreassi doesn't want anyone to be lulled into inaction.

Specifically, Benjamin Moore's VP of retail services started off his presentation here at the National Hardware Show with a quote from Bill Gates:

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."

Benjamin Moore, which has certainly been anything but lulled as it rolls out its Store of the Future redesign, had to do a great deal of research before it sprung into action, however. In a presentation titled "Benjamin Moore's Store of the Future: Redefining the Retail Paint Store Experience," Andreassi outlined these findings.

Here are a few key points:

  • This is a no-brainer to independent retailers who champion customer service, but a Deloitte study found that conversion rates increased by as much as 9% when customers were assisted by highly knowledgeable store associates with strong interpersonal skills. In this sense, people still matter -- even though we're talking about design.
  • Don't let your customer get frustrated. Time spent searching has a negative effect on experience and can damage the customer's opinion of the store -- and make them less likely to add to their basket.
  • Forget about decor. Your merchandise should be the decor. Think about how you can showcase your products with purpose.
  • Use lighting to draw attention to specific products: underlighting; backlighting; spotlighting. "Human beings are not unlike moths," he said. "We're all drawn to the flame."
  • Minimalism is where merchandising is heading. In this sense, the key is to make the merchandising component almost skeletal. Remove anything that interferes with the image of the product.
  • Consider how you can hit an emotional chord with your customers. What do people love to watch? Your store is the theatre, and you deliver the performance.
  • Visibility into the store is critical. Make sure your windows aren't blocked, because people love to see inside.
  • How peaceful is your entryway? Customers shouldn't feel stressed as soon as they enter your store.
  • Consider how you can show (as well and tell) with your products.
  • A concept store can significantly improve the shopper experience (as in: they'll spend 18% more time selecting color in-store).
  • Don't make someone stand on their toes to grab a paint chip. Customers should be physically comfortable.
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