Sunday 29 May 2011

One On One With Victoria

Victoria Niewalda is a Specialist Trainer & Consultant with ARA. She conducted the Visual Merchandising Workshops recently held for traders and is doing special one-on-one follow up consultations at trader’s stalls. (see her profile here - Following is a report from trader Greg Smith who retails nautical decor accessories.
“Victoria attended our stall on Saturday morning and fortunately both my wife and I were in attendance so we were able to handle customers at the same time. Victoria had lots of advice and anecdotes to pass on and provided visual support from her iPad (I want one).
Discussing merchandising possibilities while actually at the stall was a great advantage for both of us. Victoria was kind enough to say that we had the basics right but she was able to pass on some key points for our attention.
1.       We have table to floor cloths that look good but are really wasted space. Victoria showed us a photo of a Queensland market stall that had used their cloths to display their logo (in our case it would be a lifebuoy). Victoria explained that, in the mass of stalls at the QVM, it is often difficult for customers to pass on location advice but, if they can say “that stall with the lifebuoys”, it makes the process much easier. Large logos on our cloths would then be backed up with real lifebuoys hanging out the front of our stall. We will need to check costs but we like this idea.
2.       Victoria identified a large number of $10 items spread throughout our decor range which she felt were great value. She has suggested we make them a selling point by trying bulk grouped displays at the front of our stall. The philosophy is that, even customers who may not be especially interested in nautical goods, could not resist a bargain and would become additional customers. Our tables are in a U shape and the front of each entrance table would be used. Again, we like the idea and this one will cost us nothing to try.
3.       We use our business logo on our price cards and explanatory signs. Victoria suggested we should make our logos bigger. Enhancing our identity in this way and incorporating additional triggers like the lifebuoy cloth graphics goes further to make us individual and identifiable. Her philosophy was that, in a product range not dominated by brand names, it is important to create your own brand. We like this idea and, as we print most of our own graphical material, upping the size of our logo is a simple process.
4.       Victoria favours “Larger than life” displays to help make traders stand out. In our case that could perhaps be a giant blow-up lifebuoy suspended at the back of the stall. We need to give this more thought.
There were other ideas for us to try and Victoria stressed that she does not provide definitive answers to increasing sales but her ideas are certainly worth trying and, in most cases, the cost for us will be minimal.”
Other traders will be visited by Victoria over coming weeks. If you would like to share your experiences we would love to hear from you.