2. Retail Merchandising:
One area that is sadly neglected in many venues is the retail offering. I’m aware that you’re not all high street retailers but you do need to be aware of the opportunities available from good quality products and merchandising.
Back to that comment of ‘captive audience’ where here it can be a real advantage. They have visited your attraction and many of them want to take away a souvenir of their visit. All too often this means rummaging around the same stuff they can buy on most market stalls. In some cases badly presented and even dusty. In some attractions the dusty environment can be a real problem but this has to be contained so that your product offering is always being displayed in the most attractive and appealing way. First of all try and see your retail offering as a visitor would see it. This can be an issue as it is often difficult to see faults with what we have created. If necessary get a friend you trust to give you their opinion. This will assess both the visual effectiveness and also the staff’s attitude to customers.
When creating displays look at providing the ‘wow’ factor. What is the ‘wow’ factor? It’s that little bit extra we get when we choose something, especially if it makes us remember our purchase in a more positive way. This can be done by the use of clever lighting or décor or even sound. TV screens are very cheap but they can be used to show dynamic displays in a particularly effective setting.
Ensure all your staff are also part of the ‘wow’ you have on offer.
Are they all familiar with your product lines and the history of your venue? Often when in the shop visitors will ask questions they forgot to ask inside.
Picking up again on the Dinosaur Live exhibition make sure you have enough products which reflect the theme and content of what they have just seen. If you sell models have one or two already assembled and painted to show what the finished product will look like.
Don’t ignore the till point either as this is the place where they will have to stand for a few minutes at least. I don’t mean clutter it up with those cheap tacky goods from the Far East either. Use the space wisely and effectively either to add value to what they have already bought or as a way of advertising forthcoming events and experiences. Remember the two-third rule – two-third space and one-third products. That way it ensures the eye is drawn to what you actually want them to see.
When laying out your retail space always take a picture of the finished product and then view it the day after. Often a picture will identify issues you missed when you were setting it all up. There are also lots of ways you can spruce up displays very cheaply and effectively – I call it the Blue Peter effect! Think back to how they made some very magical things out of fairly ordinary objects with the addition of coloured paper, stars and decals and even sticky back plastic. If creativity is not your speciality I’m sure the local art college would be more than willing to get involved, especially if they get a mention on the displays. If you sell models, have one or two already assembled and painted to show that the finished product will look like.