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OR Snow Show

Merchandising Tour: Diverse footwear and apparel display ideas from Winter Market

We have some very diverse display ideas for footwear and apparel taken from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, which our SNEWS merchandising editor and tour guide, Sharon Leicham, outlines in this third of six articles from the show's Merchandising Tours.

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At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2010, I found a diverse group of footwear and apparel, technical and environmental displays that caught my eye. I’m hoping you will find them equally helpful for inspiring your own ideas when designing product displays.

The Hoka One One company displayed its Hubble’s footwear collection on a slant board with a rubber strip in the center for shoe testing. To the right of the slant platform, it created a rock “riverbed” for testing the unique soles. Both the platform and the rock walkway would work well in a footwear department, if you have the room. But, if you don’t, consider using a slant board positioned sideways in a window display for highlighting a collection of your footwear. It takes shoes from the floor and places them within the ideal eye-level zone (from about 2 to 6 feet). Complete the display by strewning river rocks beside the slant board.

Horny Toad displays are always a delight to see and the company’s use of different themes at each show is fun to anticipate. There are lots of take-home ideas in the Horny Toad booth from the use of “found” fixtures to the often whimsical props. All these serve to highlight the company’s apparel products. At Winter Market, there was one display that caught my eye because it was done a bit differently. Horny Toad chose to merchandise an entire layered outfit — shirt, jacket, vest, scarf and pant — not upright, but laying on a table. This was a bit unusual, but it worked. It’s the surprise aspect that made the display so effective. Do something unexpected to create attention.

The more descriptive your signage is, the more it serves as a “silent salesperson.” Let’s face it, your staff can’t be everywhere at once, so creating displays that explain technology can be very helpful. Marmot’s display of glove insulations and liners was a perfect example of not only effective signage but also interactivity. People were encouraged by the display to touch and feel the Windstopper liner, the insulation and, my favorite, the Gore-Tex membrane. Such interactivity engages customers, educates them and tends to encourage purchasing. If you can find a way to implement interactive displays in the store, do it. It will pay off. And, if you are a Marmot retailer, ask the company for display materials like those found at the show.

Whether you call it recycling or repurposing, the reuse of materials is important to us all. If you value a healthy environment, as I know you do, show your customers how you feel. People want to do business with others who share their values. Keen devoted an entire booth wall to its commitment to be lighter on the environment. It spelled out the word “think” in large letters wrapped in recycled materials like crushed plastic bottles and cans, as well as plastic and paper bags. Its signage related what the company is doing to lower its impact on the environment.

You can let your customers know how you feel and what you are doing by utilizing some of Keen’s ideas. You don’t have to duplicate its efforts, but, hopefully, they will give you some ideas about how you can relate your ethics to your customers. And speaking of “keen” ideas, check out the booth’s use of blackboards as signage. What a great way to utilize a product that does not have to be discarded after use. Just erase it and start over.


In the next Merchandising Tour article, we’ll look at the effective use of color in various show booths and how you can replicate it in your store.

Would you like to join Sharon Leicham, author of “Merchandising Your Way to Success” and merchandising editor for SNEWS®, during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 for the third Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour program, co-sponsored by Outdoor Retailer and SNEWS. Currently, we are planning one hour-long merchandising tour of select exhibitor booths and displays designed for retailers and one hour-long merchandising tour focused on the needs of exhibitors. Email to put your name on a contact list for more information and to ensure your name is on the registration list for the next Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tours, Summer Market 2010 — spaces are limited.