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Opinion: Luxe display standards have never been easier to achieve says Kris Munt of Arken P-O-P International

Kris Munt

Visit any high street or out-of-town shopping centre and you’ll notice more and more mainstream brands hopping on the upmarket bandwagon. When it comes to in-store environments the clear dividing lines that once existed now no longer apply, with standards of presentation in Topshop on a par with those in Burberry.

Only high-end luxury brands used to be able to offer shoppers premium point-of-purchase displays. Not anymore. Even the likes of Boots, Superdrug and Primark now feature displays that are more ‘department store chic’ and less ‘supermarket cheap’. As our mass-market brands raise their game, there’s a new, higher standard in town.

But let’s be clear. This is about being clever and creative with display solutions, not blowing the budget. These brands are achieving a luxury look for less. While big names like Gucci and D&G have hugely exacting, and costly, standards when it comes to colour and materials in order to maintain consistency, it’s possible to replicate the premium ‘feel’ without having to pay premium prices. Think about it: you can spend your life savings on haute couture or you can buy the high street version for a fraction of the cost. And not many people will know the difference.

Times have changed. Where once mainstream brands focused on mass merchandising and in-store promotions, they know that savvy shoppers also want sophistication. They’re looking for a good deal but they don’t want to sell themselves cheap. And many brands no longer want to, either.

So how do mass retailers rise to this challenge? They need to resist the urge to pull off a cheap copy of a luxury brand. These high-end names spend years perfecting their concepts. By the time you’ve turned around your own version, the ideas look past their sell-by date. You need to stay true to your own brand and find your own individual look and feel.

That said, a mass-market brand presented on carefully considered premium-feel displays can raise its perceived value in the minds of shoppers.

Colour is important, too, helping to emphasise your brand. Superdrug’s Makeup Revolution display is a fantastic example of clever use of materials and colour to create a luxurious effect with maximum impact, at reasonably low cost.

Consider scalability. Find a solution that works and you’ll need to rollout your displays across a retail estate much larger than one or two flagship stores, so you need to realistically cost out your campaign with this in mind.

We all love a bargain. But just because we’re willing to buy cheaper, it rarely means we want to compromise on looking good. All of which means there is just as much scope for mainstream brands as there is for their luxury counterparts when it comes to appealing to the shoppers’ visual sense.

Let your customers believe in the quality of your products, play up their aspirational elements – and sometimes give them subtle nudges that will make them willing to pay a little more. Premium is more accessible than ever, giving mainstream retailers some fantastic opportunities to truly inspire shoppers. It’s time to think bigger and think better, giving shoppers displays that deliver real in-store wow.

Kris Munt is director of new business development at Arken P-O-P International

Arken P-O-P International will be exhibiting on stand R24 at Retail Design Expo 2016