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  Chief Editor Anuraag S | Editor Swati Bhalla | Powered by GigaSoft™ February, 2011


Dear Readers,

Let me begin by thanking each one of you for trusting us and encouraging us to reach this milestone of the 50th Issue of THINKtank. We started this newsletter, with fair intention to connect with Visual Merchandisers across the globe. Also, the objective was to keep the learners and keen VM’s updated with the creative and extraordinary work by others in the field of Visual Merchandising and Displays; to upgrade upon the new technologies, props and various other display related new materials.

I would also like to thank Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu, Mr.Chandraakant Dalal, Mr.Vinod Kaul, Bob Negen-M.D. WhizBang! Training and Mr.Rahul Rajamuthiah for their constant support and encouragement.

I proudly present you the 50th Issue of THINKtank by Sir Martin M. Pegler’s exclusive article on Visual Merchandising (he has been true inspiration for us to become a VM) from his perspective & how it may vary from country to country—or culture to culture. Is what we call good Visual Merchandising in the U.S. as effective in London, Dusselfdorf, Istanbul, Calcutta, Shanghai or Mexico City?


  By Martin M. Pegler  

First, I must go back to my definition of Visual Merchandising. It is not necessarily what others think of when they use that term: a term—by the way—that I really dislike. Maybe I am living too far in the past and remember the days before the term Visual Merchandising was around. I'm going back to the days before 1970 when display was display and the arrangement of stock on fixtures and shelves was not one and the same thing. One was “display” and the other was “merchandising”. Of course “merchandising “Had a visual appeal—but then—isn't all merchandising visual? Display was theater! Display was Pizzazz! Display was the “wow factor” that created the look for the retail establishment. How merchandise was and is presented in the store, how it is arranged, coordinated, accessorized and illuminated is all part of the VM. Display elements can be effectively and in my opinion—should be integrated into a VM program. The displays—the dressed forms and figures; the props; the graphics; the pieces of furniture; the branch of leaves; the bowl of flowers—they all add color, life and a sense of lifestyle to the garments available neatly stacked on the shelves, fixtures and wall fittings.

In some cultures/countries there is a tendency to load shelves heavily with product. It is almost as though there was no behind-the-scenes stock room and every available piece of merchandise is out front: on hangers, on shelves, or stacked on floor units. For customers in these countries seeing “all” the stock is important and it suggests to the shopper that the retailer really does carry this type of merchandise in quantity and the retailer offers selection. In other countries the over effusive outpouring may be a turn-off for the shopper. This is especially so when the product is more upscale. Here the retailer wants to emphasize the selectivity of his presentation: not everything for everybody but a “sampling” for the “lucky few”. The “lucky few” are even luckier when the salesperson “finds” just the right garment in the right color and size in the back stock-room and brings it forth to the eagerly waiting shopper. “You are in luck! We only have one or two more in that color and size”. This holding back of merchandise is a visual merchandising technique that will work for some customers.


Left: A Fashion Window Display at New York Fashion Street. Notice the color coordinated merchandise and the 'real-look' mannequin's; attitude, expressions and styling. Right: A typical Indian assortment display of salwaar-suit pieces.


I am almost convinced from all the shops, stores and boutiques I see submitted by architects sand designers from all around the world that the difference in VM techniques is really a matter of class or social status—rather than ethnicity or culture. Boutiques or designer shops and upscale retailers in most countries practice restraint and finesse in their merchandise presentations. Less is more! Fewer garments on display and displayed better. For popular priced retail operations: more is better. How much merchandise is shown and how it is shown is sometimes more important than the prices on the signage. If it looks good and if it is presented with style and class—then it is classy and fine. Please notice—I refer to the “merchandise presentation” rather than the “visual merchandising” because “presentation” says an extra effort is being made to show the product off at its very best. Good VM or VP is good VM or VP universally and it may only differ in how it presents the product in relation to the shopper's lifestyle Good VM or VP means merchandise arranged for the shoppers comfort and convenience: easy to find; easy to see; easy to select; easy to put together with coordinates—and easy to buy!!

I have found that the Pacific Rim countries and many of the Near East countries have a “bazaar mentality” when it comes to VM of mass-market products. Retailers not only overdo the amount of product they show—they over-sign their stores. There is a paper blizzard: a bombardment of signage with often a single, repetitive message. Interestingly, this same deluge of paper may appear in Parisian department stores and in mass-merchant operations in the U.S. Again, it is not necessarily a culture or ethnicity: it is a “class action”. The over-zealous application of paper signs goes with the “popularity” of the price, product and the retailer.

There are and should be some cultural differences. There are and will be differences when catering to different price markets and there will be differences depending upon the “class or status” of the products. A $10,000 gown does and should get a different presentation than one that retails for $100. Though the retailer may show only one or two of the more costly gowns and a dozen or more of the less expensive one (in a range of colors and sizes), all the gowns should be shown at their very best: clean, steamed, carefully hung and with some “breathing space” and in some sort of order: color, size, style or price. The retailer must know his customer: who she is, what she wants and likes what she expects from the store and what will make a satisfactory purchase. This may be where the ethnic or cultural differences come in. It may be in the use of decorative elements to create a lifestyle setting. It may be just knowing that the Asian shopper is more likely to want to see how the garment has been put together than an American shopper who is more concerned with color—or the look—or does it make her look like Britney Spears. This is where the differences in values and shopping habits come in and the VM or VP accommodates to the customers peculiarities.



A leading authority on store design and visual merchandising, Martin M. Pegler, has worked as a designer/ manufacturer/ displayperson/ store planner and consultant during his 40 years in the business. Long a champion of excellence in store design, he has lectured on the subject for industry and small business groups at shopping centers and chains nationwide and intentionally. He is the author and editor of more than 75 titles including Cafes & Coffee Shops, Stores of the Year, Store Windows, Streetscapes. In addition, he teaches store planning and visual merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

His inspiring book ‘Visual Merchandising & Display’ is a stepping stepping stone for many Visual Merchandisers including us. Martin M. Pegler includes everything you’ll need to create effective store displays, from classic techniques to the most avant-grade developments in the display industry.


By Martin M. Pegler

ISBN: 9780944094686;
ISBN10: 0944094686;
Format: Hardback;
Trimsize: 288 x 226 x 23 mm;
Pages: 256;

Price: Rs.2500
Courier charges (India): `250
Contact: Ms.Kavitha M, [email protected]com



Located in downtown Atlanta is the new 7000 sq. ft. showroom of the Interface company, a premier floor covering manufacturer who also happens to be a leading advocate of sustainable design initiatives. The TVS Design firm who designed the showroom, was called upon to create a space that is "convenient to the client’s customers, allowing for exceptional flexibility in display and mock-ups of their multiple products, tells the client’s image story, provides working space for staff, supports urban redevelopment and offers an effective entertainment environment for the company-sponsored special events."All of this was to be accomplished while being consistent to the company’s sustainable design principles. The project was designed and produced under the guidelines of the LED CI pilot program and eventually was LED’s first platinum (the highest level) certified project in the U.S. It is just one of 60 highly successful environmentally-friendly design projects featured in Green Retail Design, the first book-form compilation of the most successful and sustainable green retail design initiatives around the world.

Included here are green retail design projects from department and big box operations to small boutiques and vendor shops; fashion and fashion accessory stores to outdoor clothing and traveling paraphernalia stores; electronic stores to hardware stores; specialty food arenas from markets, supermarkets, and trade show stands to exhibits, and food stores attached to boutique cafe and bars. Each green retail design project featured showcases a wealth of lavish full-color photographs, descriptive text explaining how the green designs were conceived, how their plans were drawn up, what materials were physically needed to create them, plus a "design statement" provided by either the firm’s principal or its lead architect and/or designer/s stating in their words how the retail space’s "greening" was accomplished and what makes it successful and sustainable.

Projects in Green Retail Design are arranged by RE-USE/ RE-PURPOSE/ RECYCLE/ RE-PROFIT principles, and include top green retail spaces from around the world--not just those that are LEED certified in the U.S. It is a must-have for environmentally-friendly businesses, designers, and architects around the world.

TATA McGraw Hill Education has published India’s first Indigenous book on Visual Merchandising by Swati Bhalla & Anuraag S. An inspirational read containing over 250 pages of photographic examples, case studies & simple instructions on how you can create most profitable displays in your store. To order, write to us at:
[email protected]
Learn to create “Visual Appeal” in your retail store. Studio Atomium offer an online course for every aspirant and budding VM, to assist retailers of all shapes & sizes in understanding the importance of managing their shop, maximizing their space and in turn increasing their profitability. To know more, log on to:
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