The Importance of Visual Merchandising

Creative Download was recently approached by Craft Co-op to give a talk/presentation about the importance of Visual Merchandising.

As a social enterprise business, Craft Co-op gives over 200 local craftspeople the opportunity to trade in a High Street location. It provides business and social support, while working with various charities and other organisations both in the retail shops and off-site, and helps bring vitality to town centres.

Craft Co-op have retail shops in Maidenhead, Camberley, High Wycombe and Windsor which opened in April 2021.

The day started in Windsor with a talk/presentation to various members of staff/craftspeople across their four sites. This was held in Rex Bakery in Windsor with superb coffee, cakes and pastries! The presentation showcased the work of Creative Download , my work as Chair of The British Display Society, together with some basic advice and tips to ensure a great looking store in terms of Visual Merchandising, Store Layout and Product Adjacencies.

Afterwards, we walked over to their Windsor store, where I gave ‘hands-on’ tips and advice/guidance given at the talk.

The day was a huge success and this gave the craftspeople more confidence in not only selling their own products but the way products are showcased to their potential customer.

For further information on how Creative Download can drive your retail business forward, visit our website:

In this tough market, retailers need to create the right shopping environment that reflects their Brand/Stores to ensure that all important customer experience. From Shop Fronts to Window Displays to Interior Visual Merchandising, Product Layout and Focal Points around the store, Creative Download will ensure that creativity is balanced with the commercial requirements of your business. Creative Download is based in the UK although our clients are across the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

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John Lewis ANYDAY Range

The UK’s most trusted retailer John Lewis have recently launched the ANYDAY range. Whether you rent or own, have a compact solo pad or a multi-functional family home, ANYDAY can transform your humble abode, thanks to its great design of stylish and good quality products.

The range of products are competitively priced spanning Homewares, Technology, Baby Care & Baby Clothing.

These images are from the ANYDAY Pop-Up shop at Peter Jones (part of the John Lewis Partnership) in Sloane Square.

From a VM perspective, the Pop Up Shop is clear and concise and the staff were happy to guide me through the ranges that can be found throughout the store. I do very much like the VM touches such as the wooden ticket holders and the various wooden blocks on the fixtures.

Eataly – London

If you are an avid fan of Italian food and wine then head to the new Eataly Food Store situated just outside London’s Liverpool Street station.

This two floor 42,000 square foot store combines hospitality and retail, with restaurants, bars, coffee shop and an Italian deli. Just past the coffee shop is La Via Del Dolce (The sweet shop). This is well stocked to cater for the sweet tooth in us, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was more Arabic looking with the fixtures and lighting than Italian.

Upstairs is the true shoppers delight with an abundance of wines, pasta, cheeses, meats and zero waste products. I visited on a Saturday and the store was rammed with customers, which is good for business, so it was a struggle to browse everything leisurely.

It is a great place to meet someone for coffee or stock up on your favourite Italian food but coming from a Visual Merchandising background, I felt that it lacked retail theatre.

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The Great British Seaside

The UK is currently basking in some great summer weather. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it is attracting many of us the seaside! Given the Covid pandemic with travel restrictions limited, many people are enjoying a ‘staycation’ and enjoying what the UK seaside has on offer.

As we know window display concepts in our shops and stores need to be fun, quirky with lots of retail theatre that attracts the eye. From our files entitled “Seaside” here is a selection of some superb window concepts that will lift our spirits and get us dreaming of holidays on the beach!

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Retail is not just on our High Street.

When we think of retail, we automatically think of shops and stores on our High Streets and in various Shopping Malls.

Napoleon is often quoted as deriding Britain as a nation of shopkeepers, but in was actually Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac, the French revolutionary, who first used the phrase in 1794.

So, while we are a nation of shopkeepers, we are also a nation of shoppers. There is nothing better than indulging or browsing a shop or store for a gift for a friend or treating yourself to something.

Retail extends far beyond the High Street and Shopping Malls. When we have a family day out to a theme park, museum or visitor attraction, there is usually a retail shop on site. It’s there to temp us to part with our hard-earned cash and to generate additional revenue for the attraction as visitors are a captive audience once inside the attraction. Whether you are shopping in a store, shopping mall or a gift shop at a visitor attraction, visual merchandising and superb store presentation is paramount.

At the end of May, Creative Download worked on a retail project which was very productive, spending several days re-merchandising the Gift Shop at the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre in Gloucestershire.

Tables/Fixtures and merchandise were moved and zoned to create ‘hot spots’ giving great retail theatre and a great memorable shopping experience. New merchandise arrived and this keeps the customer browsing longer in the shop.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is a client of Creative Download, and we oversee the Visual Merchandising/Store Presentation at most of their sites across the UK. These include Slimbridge in Gloucestershire to Martin Mere in Lancashire to Barnes in London.

The Wetlands & Wildfowl Trust was set up by Peter Scott, the son of the Antarctic explorer Captain Scott. In 1946, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust opened in Slimbridge as a centre of science and conversation. WWT now welcomes in excess of a million visitors a year to its 10 Wetlands centres around the UK.

For further information and to see how Creative Download has can drive your retail business forward with great Visual Merchandising and Store Presentation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Good Nature at Selfridges, London

Selfridges in London’s Oxford Street does it again with stunning new store window displays.

Inspired but nature, the window displays represent the store wide creative theme “Good Nature” which runs across the 20 windows. “Good Nature” is a celebration of pleasure in nature offering shoppers the physical and digital experiences responding to the natural world.

Following the huge success of the “Project Earth” concept which was launched in August 2020, this window concept focuses on the sustainability with most of the materials being recycled.

The side windows which run along Duke Street are bright and colourful with an abstract of garden fixtures.

Selfridges commissioned British artist Jonathan Schofield to showcase 3 windows on Orchard Street with a mixed media installation which features original artworks, digital screen prints and fabric banners.

With thanks to my British Display Society colleagues Pablo Roteta and John Abbate for the images.

Beauty Pop Art

As the UK came out of the Covid Lockdown and retailers re-opened, it was vital to create eye catching window concepts. A fun and quirky Pop Art concept featuring beauty images was installed by the Creative Download VM Team into a chain of independently owned pharmacy stores. Petter Pharmacy in Crouch End, London remained opened during the lockdown as they were classed as an essential retailer.

“It’s great working for an independent business who appreciate that the windows are vital to the success of any retail business” says Iain Kimmins – Owner/Founder of Creative Download.

“Given the tough trading conditions that retail has faced, it is paramount that store windows are fun and exciting for customers as there is nothing quite like a bit of retail theatre” Iain continues. “It demonstrates that you don’t always need a lot of props. Simple A3 graphics with colour coordinated columns and floor panels together with tight product groupings will create retail theatre. Any retailer working on a tight budget can achieve the wow factor with their windows”

Check out the website to see how Creative Download can help your retail business.

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Next Home Store

Fosse Park in Leicester has been undergoing a revolution in retail with new stores opening their doors at the shopping complex, which is situated just off the M1 Motorway.

Next has launched a new Fashion & Home Store which is a ‘must visit’. With its towering glass and granite structure, the Next Store certainly makes a statement within the retail park.

Next rose in the 1980’s as a leading fashion retailer but the brand is now expanding into the home interior market. Shoppers can browse the extensive fashion area together with the beautifully visual presented home interiors departments while enjoying coffee and cake from the in-store Costa Coffee Shop.

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Venus De Milo

During the UK Covid Lockdown, many non-essential retailers had to close. Shops such as Foodstores and Pharmacy stores remained open.

With any retail store, it is vital to ensure that the window concepts are regularly changed and that they look fresh, clean and inviting. There is nothing worse that seeing cobwebs or dead flies in the window display.

During the lockdown, the Creative Download VM team installed a Mother’s Day concept featuring Venus De Milo into an independently owned chain of pharmacy stores in London. Venus De Milo is the Greek goddess of fertility and female beauty. This was a great concept to design and install using large graphics with superb product groupings and foliage.

The owners of this pharmacy chain recognise the importance of good visual merchandising in terms of eye-catching windows to attract passing customers. It’s all about creating retail theatre and giving the customer a memorable shopping experience.

Concept designed and installed by Creative Download.

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We all love Stationery!

As we come out of lockdown and retail returns to some sort of normality, the Creative Download VM blog is restarting.

Did you know that last week was National Stationery Week? It has been a week all about the act of writing by hand. The digital age was meant to put an end to paper, but we still can’t get enough of pens, notepads, files, folders and desk gadgets. We all have a favourite journal and many people enjoy a browse around a good stationery shop for notepads, pens and desk accessories.

Pre-Covid, stores such as John Lewis and Liberty reported a rise in sales in their Stationery Departments. In fact, Liberty has a dedicated stationery hall in response to demand. In addition to this the luxury brand Smython is the place to be seen for beautiful stationery and accessories and their stunning window concepts reflects this.

When it comes to shop windows, stationery is not a product medium we see much of on our High Street or Shopping Malls, however it is very popular.

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