From the storefront window to the product staging, we’ve got all the tips on essential details that you didn’t know you needed or your customers wanted.
We all know the moment — you’re walking along a sidewalk and your eye catches something in a store window. Maybe it’s a pop of color or a shiny object, a cute seasonal scene or a glamorous lifestyle pose. One look, and you’re hooked, so you go inside.
But an eye-catching store window is just the beginning when we’re talking about effective merchandising. Once a customer has entered your doors, the trick is to keep them there and get them to shop. We spoke to iconic brands, Old Gringo Boots and Double D Ranch, about the ways they are inviting customers into their stores and making them feel like they should stay. No matter if you’re a big brand or a small brick-and-mortar store, the tactics they told us about still apply.
At Double D Ranch headquarters in Yoakum, Texas, the brand’s “Mothership” store has embraced its quaint roots and its reputation as a bucket list adventure for many shoppers.
“It has become a destination spot for our customers. They’ll coordinate a road trip to come shop and play and really make an event of it,” explains Double D Ranch Creative Director, Cheryl McMullen. The store complements its historic building with tin ceilings and antique wood floors with quilts on the walls, turquoise accents and vintage furniture.
The goal, and a tip for retailers, is to make people want to spend time there. “We aimed to make it feel cozy and welcoming and a place where you feel comfortable spending an entire afternoon,” McMullen says.
He’s in the process of renovating an historic building to open this summer and serve as a temporary location for Old Gringo’s first flagship store. By 2024 Tarut plans to have a three-story complex for Old Gringo’s permanent home, complete with a wood-fired seafood restaurant on the top floor.
Tarut has a lot of ideas and a few secrets up his sleeve for how he wants to present Old Gringo’s up to 125 different styles of boots in-store at any given time. But the key takeaway? Hospitality.
“We wanted our store to be inviting,” he says, describing how guests will be welcomed the same no matter if they show up in flip flops or a tuxedo. Ample seating will be available. Each customer will be offered a drink at the bar.
Like Old Gringo, Double D Ranch is also opening a flagship store in Fort Worth, and there the vibe will be elevated and elegant.
“It will be an all-encompassing experience: smell, music, visual, taste. Think whiskey in sterling shot glasses, plush areas to sit and be fitted for boots and hats, rotating displays toward the front of the store that will change out with each collection, styled with accessories and home products that support the collection,” McMullen says of how they’ll pull the space together.
In Yoakum, Double D uses vintage mercantile cabinets and cases tweaked with lighting and doeskin suede lining to showcase their vintage Southwestern jewelry while being careful the displays don’t compete with the products.
McMullen says that, “A good rule of thumb is to keep things clean and simple and let your products speak for themselves. Then you can work in interesting support pieces – an old hutch, a vintage hat rack.”
Old Gringo shares the idea of simplicity and not creating a scenario where displays overtake the items. Boots will literally adorn the tabletops at Old Gringo. The aim is just to get the product directly in front of the customer and let them make a decision, Tarut says.
A takeaway for store owners is Tarut’s advice to blend the products with an idea of how they can fit into the life of the buyer. “The more that [retailers] help the consumer learn how to wear the product, the better off they’re going to be and the more products they’re going to sell,” he says.
And McMullen’s advice to put the looks together with intention: “Balance is crucial. You want to style it in a way that feels put-together and polished, but not costume-y,” she says. “It’s walking that fine line of being appealing and aspirational. You want to push the envelope a little, but not be intimidating. You want people to look at your display and think, “Oh my word, that’s fabulous! I want to look like that!” rather than “Oh my word, that’s fabulous! I could never pull that off!”
Lastly, it’s important to tell a story with your displays. Old Gringo will utilize large TV screens that show the story behind how their boots are made, and in displaying their vintage jewelry, Double D adds Western collectibles that allude to the history of the West.
Clearly there’s a lot to keep in mind for a successful merchandising strategy, but the beauty is, unlike when showcasing a product online, the opportunities are endless.
We aimed to make it feel cozy and welcoming and a place where you feel comfortable spending an entire afternoon. — Double D Ranch's Cheryl McMullen
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It
If you’ve got a good vantage point to the foot traffic outside your store, use your storefront window to catch the eyes of potential consumers.
There’s nothing more important than ensuring customers feel comfortable and welcome inside your store. The longer they want to stay, the more likely they are to buy and come back again!
A Season for Everything
An easy win is to align your displays, where applicable, to the holidays and/or seasons so your customers can imagine the product as an immediate need instead of a want.
Everything Has a Story
Take inspiration from your products to craft a story around them in the displays, such as tying to a geographical or historical theme.
Don’t Compete with Yourself
Keep your displays clean enough that the setup of them doesn’t compete with the products themselves and ensure the main products are the focal point.
Put the Style in Lifestyle
Be intentional about creating “looks” with your products to explicitly show the consumer how this particular item, be it clothing or otherwise, will fit into their home, wardrobe, or lifestyle.
Think outside the box when it comes to how you arrange your lighting, or what types of fixtures to use. Determine the overall look and feel of your space and choose accordingly.
The Journey is the Destination
Envision the path you want your customers to take around your store and design the aisle flow to match. Identify priority places to put the products you want to sell the most of, such as the window display or the front of your space.
Photography: courtesy of Double D