Marica Gigante: Democratic Visual Merchandising.

Marica Gigante Democratic Visual Merchandising

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“Everything I’ve learned from the big luxury brands, available to all retailers

Raise your hand if you have stopped at least once in front of a shop window, looking at it entranced by the magic it transmitted. I have been working in this industry for 20 years, I know all the tricks of visual and yet, sometimes, I am still enchanted!

Marica Gigante
Marica Gigante

The shop window is the first meeting point with the customer, a unique place of undisputed value – together with the store – in which the brand promise can be kept or disappointed.

It is crucial: if it speaks the same language as the customer, it will be understood, otherwise it will be ignored. This happens at all levels, for all stores, for every product category and in every market in the world, because visual merchandising is democratic.

The matter touches us so deeply that it’s like when we meet a person for the first time: the first impression will be the starting point for the evaluation of the future relationship, free to change your mind on the run, but essential for a quick first impact.

It is a matter of impressing the customer, in a very short time, in streets full of stimuli. Yet often the window is not considered and curated by shopkeepers starting from this assumption.

When I ask why this happens, the shopkeeper’s response is often “We’ve always done this” or, my favorite, “We don’t have a budget”. Please beware, I am not talking about investing stratospheric budgets, but about applying those basic rules that make a window display and a store attractive, even with what you already have in the shop!

I know the problems of shopkeepers, especially in this time, I know the need to rake in. In my experience I also created and managed a temporary store, Haigo, and I applied what I just told you: I studied the target, I understood what was already on the market and I did the opposite to get attention.

Believe me you don’t need big numbers, you need an understanding of the public, a change of perspective, care and attention to detail.

Marica Gigante Democratic Visual Merchandising
Haigo is a concept store that aims to break the rules, its temporary version contained very different environments in which unexpected design objects mixed with works of art and plants and an important program of events were displayed: a meeting point for passionate about design. The project and practical implementation was entirely supervised and carried out by 3 people, myself included, with a small budget but with an attractive effect. All in 80sqm. Marica is not part of the team anymore but the brand still existing.

The advantage of the small shopkeepers

Visual merchandising is a fluid matter, in continuous evolution, is always been like that and this historical moment is highlighting it more.

The big fashion maison are huge engines with long and complex change times, while the independent shopkeepers are not!

And this is a huge advantage that allows you to really make a difference.

Just think that a big luxury brand usually plans a window display for months, almost a year before installing it and then it takes several weeks to see the results.

For an independent shop, on the other hand, only takes a few days to install and see results: if is not working you can change and try another solution.

Of course, everyone likes to imagine creating spectacular windows, with unlimited budgets and I hope that soon we will all be able to return to dreaming of creating and installing an over the top, very captivating window display.

Before that, and within that as well, there are essential elements that cannot be ignored for the success of your windows and your shop: let’s start with those.

With that figured out, what will your next move be to impress your customers?

Marica Gigante

Marica A. Gigante is an expert in visual merchandising, consultant and teacher, she spent over twenty years in the retail industry. She has worked mainly in the fashion sector on the largest world markets including, in addition to Milan, Moscow, London, Tokyo, New York and Paris.
In recent years she has encountered and solved hundreds of different cases both for big brands and for independent shopkeepers from the most diverse product categories. Thanks to her experience she has acquired the ability to summarize all the complex rules of visual merchandising, making her knowledge available to shopkeepers to help them through a few, but powerful information, immediately applicable to improve their sales.
Marica’s mission is to make visual merchandising accessible to everyone, making it democratic and suitable for every product category.

Marica A. Gigante

by AN shopfitting magazine no.159 ©