Become a Show Stopper

Written by John Stanley


Customers walk into your store and your job is to get them to stop and look at the products on offer, hopefully if you can achieve that they will be enticed into buying the product on offer.

Your “Show Stopper” strategy is critical if you are to grow your sales in 2011.

The start of a new year is the ideal time to review your yearly “show stopper “ strategy and make the appropriate changes required to grow sales in the new year.

Ask yourself the following questions in preparation for a new trading year:

Do all your team members know what a “show stopper” is and how it affects your business?

My definition of a “show stopper” is the space allocation and display in the store that encourages the majority of your consumers in the store to stop and look at the display that has been created. The aim of stopping the customer is to get them to pick the product up and make a buying decision. Once they have made one buying decision they are more likely to make more purchases.

Do all your team members know where the “Show Stopper” locations are in your store?

Every store has “show stopper” locations. Every retailers has a power spot selling position in their store, it is normally four steps into the store once the customer has traversed the transition zone. Every retailer sets up displays that have end cap locations, another area that is a “shop stopper” locations in the store. Walk the store and look at your sightline locations and ask yourself whether these draw the customer through the store. Every customer gets to the checkout and this is another ideal “shop stopper” location.

The number of locations for “show stoppers” will vary from store to store depending on the size and physical arrangement of the store, but the key is that all the team are aware of where these locations are and appreciate how important they are to the overall sales in the business.

Have you developed a “Show Stopper” display strategy?

It is not knowing where the locations are that is the key, it is what you do with them that is the real answer and a display plan for the year is critically important. Show stoppers are not about the product, that comes once you have decided what is the message you wish to communicate at the show stopper location. The message can be classified within a number of themed promotional groups.

The main show stopper groups used by retailers are:

  • Seasonal

A theme based on the four seasons of the year {in some cultures there are more seasons that can be developed} Creating a display theme around the season provides a message to the consumer that the whole store is changing the merchandise mix

  • Colour

Consumers often buy on a colour theme and selecting one colour theme for a show stopper is an easy and ideal eye catcher.

  • Favourites

Consumers like to buy based on opinion and a Favourites display can be based on one of the sales team, as an experts favourite range of products, or alternatively a best seller promotion based on consumer buying habits.

  • Peaks

New Year, Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day and so on are all part of a peak display strategy where the display is build based on a known track record based on consumer demand.

  • Added Value Solutions

The aim of this display is to sell the solution rather than the product. It allows you to take products from two or more different categories and combine them on a display to provide the right solution for the consumer. I recently saw a fashion show that was displaying shoes, bags and dresses together as the added value solution for the consumer.

  • Unique Themes

This is where you can let your imagination run wild and develop a theme that is unique to your store. It should be a theme that is memorable as the aim is to get your consumer to not only get involved themselves in them, but to promote it to their friends via word of mouth or the social media.

  • Back to Nature

Consumers are looking to get back to nature and a theme around sustainability and preserving the nature around us is very much in vogue at present.

Is someone responsible for managing the Show Stoppers?

Many Show Stoppers do not perform because they are built and then neglected. A show stopper needs to be monitored daily. This will only occur if somebody is made accountable for the day to day management of those displays. If they are half empty, untidy or have the wrong product on them these locations will reflect badly on the image and sales of the whole company.

Create a show stopper strategy and grow your business in 2011!