Best Practice Video Case Study: Create a Shop Customers Want to Explore

"Your shop window is your cheapest form of advertising "

Sophy Searight.jpg

By Sophy Searight

We’re fresh from our most recent round of research with 40 independent retailers and our questions this time focussed on advice we’d give our younger retail selves. What it revealed was that keeping the shop looking fresh for potential customers is not only challenging but absolutely critical.

Indies who have, sadly, recently ceased trading said in many cases a key reason for their eventual failure was a complacent or unadventurous approach to the way the shop looked. We heard several times that they now realised they needed to move more quickly to respond to changes in customer product preferences but also that visual merchandising and display techniques should have been used to better effect.

For a quick refresher we asked Debbie Flowerday, lecturer at the London College of Fashion to share her thoughts on how to style product within the store. We filmed in a fabulous lifestyle shop in Shorditch called Aida!

Debbie focusses on:

  • Getting customers into the shop

  • Giving them a reason to stay

  • Helping them decide to spend

    Aida-2.jpgDebbie Flowerday, LCF, and Simon, lovely our lovely cameraman

You don’t have to change your products every few weeks in order for the shop to have a different look, at least from the street. Your window is absolutely critical and should be put together with your customer in mind but it’s also a way to express the personality of your shop. One thing it must not be, is boring. It can be quirky, stylish, unexpected, beautiful, but it cannot be boring and it must be inviting.

Aida-3.jpgAida’s coffee bar is also a place to display accessories.

Once in the shop, does the customer feel intrigued and compelled to explore the shop and enjoy the environment or is it cluttered, poorly curated with an odd mix of product, are sizes hard to find, is it too quiet, too dark? Successful retailers often tell me that they ask friends to come into the shop and give them a piece of advice about what would make them stay longer, or love it more.

For a bit of inspiration, Aida have a 360 view of their store, on their excellent website: You can see the flow they’ve created through the shop and the way they’ve made a diverse range of products hang together. Each type of product is grouped with similar genres to create credibility and to arrest the eye for long enough to consider the collection.

Actually though, their range is incredibly diverse. Instead of a homogenous product category, continuity is created through colour, and by the fact that these are the types of products that Aida’s young East London customer likes to buy when looking for apparel or home accessories. Whether for themselves or people they’re buying for.

If you’re a gift/home retailer you might want to come to Autumn Fair at the NEC in September where Inside Retail are hosting one to one consultations, presentations and workshops with Debbie herself. Its free to attend and you can check out the schedule here

If you’re a fashion retailer you could look to attend the free seminars at Pure London which is the show Debbie mentions in the video.