As we wandered around the Visual Merchandising and Display Show in London earlier this month I was amazed by the display of creativity on show from the arresting bauble display of DZD to the faux apples and turf of Bright Leaf.  I thought about the long-predicted death of bricks and mortar shops due to the rise in online e-commerce but concluded that the reality is a bit more complicated (and more positive!) than that.

Online does matter, especially mobile

At the beginning of 2017, online sales accounted for 14.6% of all retail spending with over 10% growth year-on-year while high street retailers continue to struggle to get us in their shops with footfall down 1.3%.

So there is no question that the importance of an online presence is continuing to grow.  Speaking personally, we have just re-launched our own website, in particular making sure our portfolio is easily viewable on mobile devices. The average UK customer now spends 66 hours per month browsing on their mobile (only behind the US at 87 hours per month) and nearly 60% of all online searches start out on mobile; no one can afford to ignore this channel.

Is Show-rooming the future for Visual Merchandising?

But for many, especially larger, purchase decisions, customers still want somewhere they can go to touch and feel the product and speak with someone knowledgeable about it.  This is described by the experts as ‘showrooming.’

Ani Collum, a retail strategist at Retail Concepts has predicted that in 2017 ‘Bricks and mortar will be cool again’ with pure play e-commerce companies opening bricks-and-mortar stores in the form of showrooms, pop-ups or permanent locations.  Even the biggest online player of them all, Amazon, has announced it is opening a number of retail bookstores in New York City and says there could be more to come.

…But it is increasingly difficult to stand out

In a world of reduced attention spans and messages coming from every direction, grabbing customers’ attention and engaging them with movement, something eye-catching or simply something they haven’t seen before becomes more important than ever.

The good news is that this means the creativity shown at the VM & Display Show is more in demand than ever!
If you want to see some amazing ways our clients have used our products to stand out from the crowd, click on our Portfolio or give us a call on 07747 866 300.