RSAs can make merchandising magical by helping customers visualize the finished piece


Qualified merchandising comes down to style, scale, color and function, said Abby Craighton of Dwell Home Furnishings & Interior Design.

HIGHLIGHT – When a customer walks into a store, spots a fully stocked salon thumbnail, and wants to buy the whole thing, that’s great merchandising. And home accents and accessories play an important role in any retail merchandising strategy.

“They’re the icing on our merchandising cake,” said Scotch Kurtenbach, owner of Timber & Fieldstone in Chatsworth, Ill., which specializes in a mix of vintage and antique pieces and modern farmhouse decor. “Often accents and accessories are what complete a look or finish it off with just the right touch.”

The most popular items are always the ones the customer can view at home, Kurtenbach added. Many people like to decorate their homes but don’t know how to do it, he said, and walking into the store and seeing something stylish in different ways and in multiple displays helps.

“In a furniture store, you’re screwed if you don’t have accents because they show customers what homes can really look like,” said Mary Liz Curtin, owner of Leon and Lulu, a style store in 15,000 square foot living in Clawson, Mich. “A furniture store without home accents is sad and probably only sells on price. Accents and accessories make the customer feel at home or represent the home they want to have. It’s ambitious.

The accents and accessories sector has recently taken on a larger role in retail merchandising, according to Steve Riley, retail consultant and former head of merchandising for Nebraska Furniture Mart and Macy’s. “The last year or two has been a boon for the furniture industry. You want to romanticize the product and the accents and accessories make a meaningful difference in the eyes of the consumer. »

Michelle Lamb, founder of The Trend Curve, said she sees many other retailers bringing decorative accessories to the fore. His theory is that while so many people wanted to update all the furniture in their homes during the pandemic, not everyone had the resources to do so. “Instead, consumers have opted for accent pieces that can quickly change the character of a room,” she said. “Retailers have begun to place more emphasis on these categories, understanding that decorative accessories can both be updated and personalized, increasing their value to shoppers.”

Winning displays

Creating numerous seating plans by layering and stacking a collection of objects from various vendors with a common thread has been a winning formula for Mallory Fields, including the 5,000 square foot showroom in Johnson City, Tennessee , also offers interior design services.

“We believe it can give importance to small items that would otherwise be visually lost to the consumer,” said David Mallory, co-founder of the store with Todd Fields.

“A buyer can’t keep everything they live in a store or showroom, which means if a piece isn’t selling where it is, move it to a new location,” he said. said Brad Priest, director of Garber’s. Interior Design in Elkhart, Ind., which offers a wide selection of home decor and gifts in addition to interior design services. “We had this beautiful handmade glass art piece that was neglected so I brought it to the fore when you walk into our store and within a week this beautiful piece sold out.”

With more competition online than ever, retailers with physical locations need to work harder to capture consumers’ attention, with dynamic, eye-catching displays in window displays as well as throughout the store.

Beyond the thumbnail

Sometimes product categories need to be addressed individually and there are several ways to show an assortment of lamps or rugs.

“Any answer on methods will always depend on the goals of the display,” Lamb said. “Is the idea to send a trending message? If so, a thumbnail focused on a single trending style really offers the best approach. If instead the idea is to highlight a color – consumers almost always buy the color first – a palette-based or single-color display makes the most sense (and will have the biggest impact) .

Thumbnails are a great way to display accents and accessories, Mallory said, but shelves and freestanding pedestals are great space-saving solutions for displaying product categories.

To maximize limited floor space, these retailers suggest incorporating accent pieces and accessories into vignettes, as well as using a category wall.

Online Merchandising

How do you bring complementary sales of accents and accessories to the online world?

“The most important thing is…make sure your links work,” Lamb said. “So don’t forget to suggest a complementary piece. I love how some online clothing retailers recommend multiple outfits built around the one piece you’re looking at. The same concept can be used for cushions or portable lighting.

Schwartzkopf, who often works with Lamb on retail merchandising presentations, added, “Curating and personalization is also a great idea. …Suggesting relevant builds is a great way to provide a solution and generate additional sales. But they cannot be random. There must be a thoughtful and useful rationale for the recommendation.

There are so many home decor areas and accents that Timber & Fieldstone does its best to bundle complementary categories online, Kurtenbach said. It features stock photos of the products on its website, but adds photos of the product featured in the store with other products or cross merchandise in a thumbnail.

And it frequently updates its featured products online with items that can easily be paired with other featured items. “It helps increase sales and move products,” Kurtenbach said.

“Not only do we want our displays to grab attention in-store, but we also want the displays to be well-photographed,” he added. “Better photos posted online not just by our social media accounts, but by customers, create an increase in new followers, new in-store shoppers, and encourage organic word-of-mouth recommendations from our store.”

Whether online or in-store, good merchandising sells products, retailers and experts agree.

“How you post is everything,” Mallory said. “The environment you create, the way you mix and match things, should set the mood. It should make the buyer want to be part of that story. Besides the display, the lighting, the music and perfume are all part of what I call “seduction”.

Editors Lauren Roses, Anne Flynn Wear and Thomas Lester contributed to this report. Home Accents Today is a sister publication to Furniture Today.

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