Best Visual Merchandising Programs

By Robin Enright

Home for the Holidays

Visual merchandising is a powerful selling tool, and savvy retailers understand that the details must be changed regularly to continue to seduce and invite both regular and new shoppers. STORY, a single store located in New York, has taken the merchandising principle of frequent change to an entirely new level, changing the entire store—and visual story—every three to eight weeks.

STORY has just completed its 31st installation. Each story has a different point of view, and a complete visual merchandising overhaul, with the concept being informed by the editorial narrative.
Installations use different fixtures and props, in short creating an entirely new merchandising experience within each new creative framework.

Founder Rachel Shechtman’s muse is often the partner she has for each story. For example, when she collaborated with dressbarn and learned the story of its founder, Roslyn Jaffe, Shechtman was inspired to tell not only Jaffe’s story, but the stories of other women-owned companies as well. This developed into the female-focused “Her Story.” In contrast, the “Creativity Story” was merchandised by broader themes, organized largely by color, material and light with merchandise in those areas reflective of those groupings.

Each story comes to life through a collaboration with the teamwork of partner and sponsor. While that team changes with each new narrative, STORY does have a small team—including creative services, a store designer and a visual merchandising associate—who run with the visual details. This creative staff operates with the simple core principle to make sense of it all, and to answer the question, “What is the best way to tell this story?” Just like a magazine’s layout, the theme must connect via adjacencies, color, point of view and audience.

“Products and merchandise exist because they are made by people, invented by entrepreneurs and created by designers,” Shechtman says.

For the rest of us, we just like being constantly kept on our visual toes and looking forward to what this innovative turntable of a retail store will churn out next.


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