The winner of enLIGHTenment Magazine’s Merchandising Makeover Contest undergoes a transformation under the direction of merchandising expert Denis Caldora.
When Laura Essenberg – manager of The Lighting Corner’s Grand Haven, Michigan store – entered the Merchandising Makeover contest, she was seeking advice on how to declutter the overall space. “We were bored with the way the showroom looked,” Essenberg says. “I knew I was going to be happy with any suggestions Denis came up with.”
When customers entered the store, they walked into a sea of fixtures and ceiling fans. Another area of concern was a back hallway that was being used as a vertical space to show mirrors, table lamps, track fixtures, and recessed lighting.
“It was hard for customers to focus on individual fixtures because everything was hanging all together. Nothing stood out,” Caldora explains. “I evaluated the showroom in general, gave some ideas, and set a direction for them to follow. There wasn’t a ‘Wow’ factor.”
In speaking with owner Scott Agers, Caldora learned that the vanity strip section hadn’t experienced as many turns as other departments. That’s when he decided to convert the crowded hallway into a bath boutique. “Previously, the bath section was in the main part of the showroom and became ‘lost’ in the mix,” Caldora says. “Now, visitors can view the section as a ‘lifestyle’ instead of a wall of fixtures.”
Essenberg adds, “We moved the bathroom fixtures to the hallway and brought in vanities. Next, we are considering towel bars and maybe even towels. Our goal is to offer one-stop-shopping to customers, making their bathrooms all that they hoped for.”
Taking the lifestyle concept across the board, Caldora and The Lighting Corner team remerchandised other areas of the showroom in the same manner. Following Caldora’s suggestion, Agers purchased photography paper to use as colorful backdrops for the newly created vignettes. “Now customers can imagine how the fixtures would look in their homes because they see the products within familiar settings,” Caldora notes, adding, “Instead of a sea of fixtures when they walk in, they are seeing fashion statements and lifestyle concepts.”
Whereas the perimeter walls used to display rows of outdoor and bath fixtures, now there are individual vignettes along those walls that provide visual context for consumers. “Think of how Restoration Hardware presents lighting. They show how the lighting looks in a setting that instantly gives customers an understanding of what that style of lighting is designed for,” Caldora comments.
Since the renovation, sales for the store have noticeably increased. “I know that customers have a better feeling when they walk in and sales are up,” Essenberg states. “We have surpassed where we were one year ago in sales. We have also had many customers stop back in to see the progress we’ve been making and say they love the changes we’ve made. Our next move will be to take out some bricks and stones where we have the exterior fixtures now and move those to another room. This will give us the chance to add more vignettes that give our customers inspiration.”
Previously, when customers walked in the door, they saw a sea of fixtures.
Before the makeover, this narrow hallway area was cluttered with wall art, track and recessed fixtures, plus table lamps.
Before Caldora arrived, it was hard for customers to focus in on specific fixtures.
Caldora suggested giving mirrors (formerly located in a cramped hallway) more prominence on this under-utilized wall. A band of fresh green color provides emphasis.
Under Caldora’s guidance, the hallway is transformed into a bath boutique. Soon, sales for the category are on the rise.
Spacing out the vanity lights along the boards and introducing background color to break up the rows give visual oomph to this formerly under-performing product category.