Many buyers will come to the show, buy a ton of product, and return to the store with the same problem: Where do we put all this new stuff? There is a fine line that retailers walk between having too much inventory and not enough product. Thankfully, there are easy solutions to the space issue, even for the smallest boutiques.
Merchandise jewelry on a wall above other items in your store. For example, if you have a wall taken up by a cabinet that rises to about waist-level, the wall space above can be used as an area to hang necklaces, earrings, and bracelet bars can be set on top of the cabinet. Multiple collections can be shown at once with this approach, and valuable floor space is not utilized.
Get Brand-specific Displays
Anju Jewelry is a great example of a brand that carries beautiful and inexpensive jewelry displays. They carry unique, free-standing boards for necklaces, small ring holders, bracelet bars, and spinners for an entire collection. Brands like Anju take the guesswork out of where to put a new line.
A unique display idea our leadership team saw at Market was setting jewelry up on faux grass. Many stores have utilized the display idea of a frame as a border with burlap or cork filling the frame, and tacking the jewelry with thumb tacks or nails. A new twist on this is using faux grass as the background. Even covering a small piece of wall with faux grass and using it as a jewelry display area is very on trend. Kameleon shows in this photo that they are keeping up with the trends and merchandising with faux greenery!
Clothing sizes have changed dramatically throughout the years, even since the 1960’s. According to Time.com, Twiggy was a size 8 in 1958, and would be a size 00 by today’s standards! This rise is size is due to vanity sizing. Brands label garments with smaller sizes so that women feel better about their body type.
The good news for the average-sized woman (who is roughly a size 12-14) is that plus size fashion is on the rise, and one-size-fits-all clothing is no longer ubiquitous.
Our marketing team at The Link has found vendors advertising that they carry plus sized clothing at the most recent markets. Sizes 2X and 3X are now a part of many labels formerly XS-XL sized lines.
What does this mean for retailers? The trend forecast is telling us that one size fits all clothing is no longer an acceptable mantra. Customers expect specific sizing that addresses all sizes. Even mainstream denim lines are jumping on this train by offering curvy sizes in denim.
Coco and Carmen is one brand carried by Southern Link and Total Accessories that does offer a plus sized option. Many of the dresses, tops, and pant options come in a size XXL. Accent Accessories, available through Link2Sales, offers a 2X/3X size option. To stay relevant, retailers really need to consider increasing the size range within their stores.
As our leadership team explored many shows in the last few months, one item of note was denim. Jeans are now crossing over from being strictly a staple of apparel lines to becoming trend pieces that can stand on their own as a featured item.
Some vendors we have highlighted are Judy Blue Denim, Sneak Peek Denim, C’est Toi, and Cello Jeans. These vendors are all featuring denim as a hot seller. Jeans are coming with bedazzling in the form of pearls and rhinestones, as well as embroidery.
Our industry is now dipping their toes in the jeans blue waters. Rather than carrying a small offering of jeggings, often a one-size-fits-all piece, we are seeing denim in specific sizes. Customers are finding jeans not just in traditional department stores, but in a variety of small boutiques.
Accessibility and affordability are two huge factors in the denim explosion. Ten years ago, the market was dominated by jeans like Seven for All Mankind and True Religion that can run for around $200 per pair. Now, retailers are selling jeans for as low as $50-$60.
Waistlines have expanded to give all woman the best fit. Not only are waist lines in denim stretchy, but the size run has expanded to include plus sizes and fits for the curvy woman.
With the advent of Social Media, and the rise of the Milliennials as a huge customer base, it has become increasingly important to retailers that products are customizable. Many boutiques offer services like alterations or monogramming to tailor clothing and accessories to each person’s fancy.
FTH Wholesale is a great example of a line that we carry that does their own customizing. FTH can create jewelry for any high school or college of a customer’s choosing.
Boelter Brands specializes in collegiate products. They were on top of Superbowl merchandise specially made for the champion team, and they carry a huge array of college sports merchandise for teams in the SEC, Big Ten, and beyond.
Vivi Designs does affordable acrylic ponchos that many retailers purchase and monogram in house for their customers. With a product that has an excellent price point to begin with, adding a monogram option is still within the price range of many people who want a unique piece of outerwear. Think outside the box and focus on customizable items this fall!
The Link Companies is fortunate to carry nearly a dozen handbag lines, including Sondra Roberts, our biggest bag line, iLi, Chala, Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson, Coco + Carmen, Sydney Love, and Magid. Whether you’re looking for basic leather in a huge array of colors (iLi), trendy pieces (Sondra Roberts, Betsey Johnson), or straw bags (Magid), The Link has you covered!
The best part about our handbags is the incredible variety. We have brands for all ages. Chala handbags, with whimsical elements including adorable animals, are beloved by younger girls and women alike. Steven Madden, Betsey Johnson, and Sondra Roberts make it a point to focus on high fashion, on-trend handbags featuring tassels, novelty shapes, and metallics.
Sydney Love makes fantastic totes that are reversible, and contain a smaller interior bag, making them a fantastic deal with three bags in one at an affordable price. Magid, a maker of straw hats, also does straw totes that are suitable for the beach or the city. Leather bags are the specialty of iLi. With their spring line, iLi introduced brighter, on-trend colors, including a purple that speaks to 2018’s color of the year, UltraViolet. Coco + Carmen has bags for every occasion, even security bags in the conceal and carry line, Saint Sabrina.
OK – I have heard it for the last 25 years – Retail is about creating an experience. Then, in 2018’s Link Magazine article with Gifts and Dec’s Nancy Wolkow, she tells us it is the most important part of success in retail right now! But I’m are still confused about how to create an experience without spending millions of dollars on consultants and fancy buildings.
Almost 20 years ago, Paco Underhill, an environmental psychologist, showed us how to apply observations about human nature and our customers to the shopping experience. Mr. Underhill explains how we can increase sales by altering mood and atmosphere. You have been watching shoppers for years, let’s use that knowledge to create more sales.
One of my favorite observations that he had in the book was that when shoppers do not have room for more products, they tend to stop shopping. In one store, he increased the shopping cart size by 20% and sales increased 15%. Where I was working, we didn’t have money for new shopping carts but we could train our floor staff. So we created a dedicated shelf area by the register and whenever we saw customers with product in their hand, we offered to bring it to the front for them. This little change cost nothing, upped the retail experience, and increased sales instantly.
“Why We Buy” is a quick read and helps put you on the path to becoming a retail experience guru!
If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get it today! If you read it 20 years ago like me, it is time to reread it. It is well worth the time investment!
Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping Paperback– June 2, 2000
Products that sell the idea of the beach have become incredibly prominent in our industry. Whether or not your store is actually near a beach is entirely irrelevant. Hats and t-shirts, like those from Katydid, boast sayings like “Beach Please” or “Life’s a Beach.” Your customer is one shirt away from feeling like they are about to take a vacation.
Magid is a brand filled with beachy straw bags and hats. Many of their straw purses are now using elements like metallic colorways and metal chain handles to elevate beachwear to a new level of fashion. Magid carries larger insulated totes that can be carried to the beach or lake, as well as slightly dressier bags to take to dinner during the summer months.
All retailers know that during the slow summer months, it takes a little more creativity to boost sales. Coco + Carmen provides a solution to this problem with fantastic sunglasses, which can be bought by the pair or as an assortment with a terrific display case. And everyone knows that flip flops, like those by Tidewater Sandals, are worn by people on and off the beach. Order them in prepacks of 12, or by the size to fill up your store with affordable and beachy options.