27 August 2009

Effective Retail Displays

I invited Christine Sisson to guest blog today about retail displays. With feet firmly planted in the design world, Christine is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She blogs about style, found objects and her European adventures at christinesisson.wordpress.com. Here is her report:

Portland, Ore., the city of roses (and more microbreweries than you can count), is also a burgeoning retail hotspot. On my trip to the city, I explored some of the stores in and around the Pearl District—the once industrial area that now teems with hip design shops catering to incoming loft-dwellers. The city has a young, fresh vibe and palpable creative energy, so it’s no surprise that the stores (and their displays) reflected these ideals.

Canoe home furnishings store in Portland, Oregon, sells Hans Bolling teak ducks.Design objects with a Scandinavian bent are put on museum-worthy display at Canoe. Items, like this solid teak duck by Hans Bolling, are labeled with small placards that provide product details. Co-owner Craig Olson’s displays are carefully curated—never cluttered. The merchandise, as a result, feels more like art than just another SKU.


Hive Modern home furnishings store in Portland, Oregon uses the sidewalk space to lure customers inside.At Hive Modern, the retailer brings the indoors out. A sleek, modern chair in front of the store’s window lures passersby touring the city’s Pearl District—and offers a preview of what’s inside.

Home furnishings and style writer Christine Sisson toured Portland Oregon stores and liked Hive Modern.
Smaller items at Hive Modern are grouped by manufacturer. On a shelf in the back of the store, whimsical Alessi can openers are shown with other kitchen items from the vendor. This merchandising style creates brand awareness and simplifies the shopping experience.

Verner Panton chairs displayed in Hive Modern, Portland Oregon and photographed by style and trends writer Christine Sisson
Molded-plastic Verner Panton chairs take center stage at Hive Modern. This prominent grouping, propped on a raised block, creates a strong visual statement and gives shoppers a display idea: Mix and match chairs in different colors.

Trish Guido owns Relish a home furnishings store in Portland Oregon. Trends and fashion writer Christine Sisson calls the display elegant but not delicate.

The well-designed displays at Relish are elegant but not too delicate. (You can reach out and touch all the goods). Owner Trisha Guido takes care to craft interesting but accessible groupings, like this colorful assortment of bowls arranged just so.


Relish, a Portland Oregon home furnishings store is housed in a former garage. Here is a Chilewich display. christinesisson.wordpress.com. Housed in a wide-open space (formerly an auto garage), Relish uses a smart system to guide shoppers: Tabletop and other accessories are shown in the front; textiles, pillows and other soft goods are grouped together in the back corner. This logical arrangement makes finding a particular item that much easier.

Check back later this month for more of Christine's insights.

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