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Don’t discount your store’s appearance

Out among the Sale shoppers recently, I noticed a few things. For one, despite our fears, the crowds are out there – I have the bruises to prove it. Stores have got the ‘discount now, think about it later’ bit firmly between their teeth and are running with it.

But most of all, I noticed that young shoppers are cheerfully ignoring this credit crunch business – young fashion retailers such as Topshop and H&M are all crammed with them. Whatever the time of year or the retail climate, young people want to look good, and young fashion sales appear to be backing this up.

Stores can learn from this. With a limited consumer spend to go around, it’s more important than ever to make buying decisions easy for shoppers, and visual merchandising is a crucial part of that.

Faced with a barricade of Sale rails and screaming point-of-sale signs, shoppers will be put off. However, if your shop floor looks great, you’re much more likely to get that reluctant shopper to spend.

It’s tempting to let the look of our stores slide when times are tough. But markdown-focused shop floors can be hugely damaging, with badly presented stock just staying on the shelves.

Instead, this is the time to smarten up. Remove the clutter, simplify your sales proposition and think about your visual merchandising – does it really tell your story, and show your customers what to wear,  and how?

Take your cue from the glamorous young fashion set and get your store looking good. In the current climate, it’s important to cut a dash, not just your prices

Colin Liversedge is managing director of software developer Visual Retailing

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