How We Fix All Merchandising Storage Problems Great And Small

Effective Merchandising Storage comes from attention to detail. We pride ourselves on getting the small things right in retail so that the big picture works.

When the Apollo 13 astronauts stared death in the face in March 1970 – and NASA watched the potential end to its space programme – they were saved by a roll of grey duct tape, two socks and a bungee cord. Sure, it still took a lot of ingenuity to get the three spacemen down safely after an oxygen tank exploded and left them stranded more than 300,000 km from earth, but the fact of the matter is that the future of the entire space race came down to really simple items.

And that’s how it often is for your company too. Yes, you can have “blue sky” meetings about finances and make sure your philosophy is “future-proofed”, but if you live and work in a retail world, you need to make sure you’ve got your nuts and bolts right – or more precisely, your hooks, fixers and hangings.

This is where Mills Display’s catalogue comes in – and here’s three examples of how we’ve managed to find merchandising storage solutions for some of the biggest problems relating to merchandising work and retail management using some of the smallest products in our range.

merchandising storage solution

Company #1 High-end franchise for fresh produce market

This company does hold an account with us so they understand our range and know what we’re capable of supplying – but a recent case was unique because the company’s bosses had been at a trade show in Las Vegas and seen a clever system which allowed posters to be hung on high ceilings with an extendable pole.

When the bosses returned, they set their staff the challenge of finding that system in New Zealand and we were their first port of call.

When the system was described to us we knew they were talking about a particular brand of magnetic poster hanging range which you use with an extender pole. It’s something which we have in our Attach catalogue (there’s actually a photo of it in action on page 15) but it’s not branded – instead the seven parts of the system are all listed separately.

We knew the system was the total merchandising storage solution to their issue – but the staff tasked with fitting it into the store hadn’t seen it in action, only the bosses at the USA trade fair, so we went out and showed them the practical side to how it works.

Once they saw how the magnetic ceiling hangers operated – and once they realised how the extender pole let them set up or replace posters while customers were in the store (rather than having to wait until after the closed sign had gone up and they could get the long ladder out), they decided to go with the system.

Not only that but once we’ve sorted out all the nuts and bolts of the full order, the company also plans to roll the system out around other franchise stores in Auckland.

Because this is a new product, Mills is sourcing the full order from Australia, meaning the freight time will be between four and six weeks – but once they’ve been shipped out to the stores, the company will have found a poster display system which saves them time and money and gives them an edge in retail merchandising.

Company #2 Events catering and party-hire

This company found us online and saw that we stocked an item in our Attach catalogue which would allow them to hang little cards from a horizontal platform.

The fish ceiling hook is one of the simplest items in our whole catalogue range of hooks, rings and fixings, but it was the perfect merchandising storage solution which allowed her to slide a card into a single piece of wire and then be able to hook it into the ceiling.

They contacted Mills Display via LiveChat on the website, quoted the code from the catalogue, and asked whether we had the item in stock – and although there weren’t any in the country at the time, our purchasing manager was able to fit the order into an impromptu air freight which we already had coming over from Australia.

The company wanted only 20 hooks initially but raised the order to 100 for a lower price per item and because the item is small – the air freighting was the most economical and speedy way of completing the order.

Although the product seems small and insignificant, it was a necessary part of an upcoming event and the company couldn’t wait for it to be freighted via sea – in the end the whole transaction was completed within the week.

Company #3 Large international automotive parts retailer

A store manager from this large company was looking to make use of his window space to hang promotional posters – after all, it’s great real estate for merchandising and displays.

His issue, though, was that the way his main windows were constructed meant that hanging posters in the traditional way from the ceiling left them too far away from the glass to have real impact for passers-by.

Because the store manager is in charge of store development, he wanted a solution to this problem and asked three or four display companies to come back with an answer.

Mills Display’s first contact was a phone call from the store manager followed by an email which spelled out the issue. We immediately understood that the store could circumvent the issue by hanging the posters directly onto the windows using a magnetic system which isn’t yet in our Attach catalogue but which allowed the posters to be replaced quickly and efficiently.

After a meeting at the company’s head office, we explained that the posters could be hung directly on to the windows using this new system called Magna Strip which had the flexibility to change posters in and out as the customer required.

This client is a repeat customer for Mills Display and returns to us time and time again to solve their problems – and they know we often have the right merchandising storage solution and can turn the job around quickly. From discussion to doorstep delivery, this whole process took roughly a week and a half – and the store manager was so pleased with the results that we’ve had followup calls from other store managers around the country to roll the same window poster-hanging system out around their stores.

Contact Mills Display For Merchandising Storage Solutions

If you have seen a product in our Mills Display Attach catalogue which you think can make a huge change to your business– or if you have an issue which you think we can fix with a simple product, message or LiveChat us via the website or call us on 09 634 5962.

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Three Inspirational Retail Design Ideas For Your Store

We’ve trawled the web for retail design ideas and inspiration from three Global Businesses as to how they have structured their store layout and design. No matter what the size of your business, it’s vital to get the nuts and bolts right before you can focus on the larger retail picture. That’s where Mills Display comes in with its comprehensive range of retail shop fittings, point of sale solutions, shelf displays, fixtures and portable stands.

So we’ve trawled the web for three global businesses who have set up shop recently to provide inspiration for how you might go about either creating a new store design or up-scaling an existing layout.

retail design ideas

Retail Design Ideas: The Pop-up Shop

Inspiration: According to reports out of the UK, almost a third of new retailers will look to launch their businesses via pop-up shops within the next two years. This trend allows would-be entrepreneurs to test the water with a new venture as well as providing more established businesses with a method to tie in with another business, season or specific event.

A pop-up is pretty much any temporary retail space and can range from a burger van or market stall, to a display within a larger store. And to prove that this is a trend which even the world’s biggest names are using, British designer Stella McCartney is opening a pop-up store on the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza to tie in with the northern hemisphere summer season.

The 55 sq m store carries all of McCartney’s brand aesthetics by using natural materials (recycled spruce wood, recyclable brass rails and natural wool felt curtains) and includes an LED digital media wall showcasing her latest runway collection.

How Mills Display can help:

No matter what size your retail space covers, it’s important to convey a consistent brand message – and you can best do that by sourcing all your retail display and merchandising equipment from a single company.

Mills Display has a worldwide network of suppliers who can find a solution to any challenge you throw at us – and whether you need that network to provide consistency with a larger “parent” store or to create a new look which can be up-scaled later to a permanent retail space, we’re sure we can meet your requirements.

Opening a pop up store

Retail Design Ideas: The Award-winning Design

Inspiration: Getting customers across the threshold can mean really pushing the boat out when it comes to cutting-edge retail design – and that’s given rise to a global surge in hi-tech concept stores.

The Premier Award for Australian Interior Design was presented in May to Melbourne firm Sibling for their fit out of a new multi-sensory concept store called DUST. The idea of the shop is that it sells products which appeal to all five senses – clothing, music, fragrances (which are released into the store via vents at the entrance and rear), and Japanese teas.

The space is bright and futuristically “boxy” relying on lots of mirrored cabinetry, luminescent surfaces, animated LED screens and white architectural structures. The Australian Interior Design Awards jury said the store’s success was because “the designers have created a space that celebrates the experimental journey, taking the user beyond the typical retail encounter into an immersive, sensory engagement”.

How Mills Display can help:

No matter how complex and experimental your concept store aims to be, it still has to rely on the basic building blocks of retail – those simple elements of ticketing, pricing, fixtures, hooks and presentation.

Whatever stage of your design process you are at, it’s a good idea to be across our whole range of catalogues to make sure that your grand theme doesn’t falter for the lack of a tiny detail.

Retail Design Ideas: The Major Players

Inspiration: While the current trend for pop-up and concept stores seems to be gaining global momentum, major retailers are having to up their game in terms of merchandising, display and innovative point of sale solutions.

When it comes to brand recognition for department stores it doesn’t come much bigger than Harvey Nichols – the comedy writers behind Absolutely Fabulous made sure of that – and their newly revamped store in the UK Midlands city of Birmingham is a huge 4500 square metres carrying a price tag of more than $100 million.

When you’re dealing with those sort of numbers, you’re in a serious land of luxury and Harvey Nichols’ innovative design includes beauty rooms offering “enhancing and relaxing treatments”, a loyalty app, mobile payments, digital “way finders”, and a state-of-the-art 360 mirror. They’ve also teamed up with a Michelin-starred chef to create a stylish restaurant in the store.

How Mills Display can help:

Just as with the highly creative concept stores, it’s important when you’re working on a large-scale project that your grand scheme doesn’t come unstuck because of the smallest details. Mills Display can help with innovative solutions to any size retail project, but can also help ensure you don’t overlook basic requirements such as behind-the-scenes safety signage and basic display cabinets.

And, of course, because we can operate on a large scale ourselves – and call upon a global network of suppliers – you can be sure of a consistent and swift supply of items when you need to restock or replace.

Contact Mills Display For More Retail Design Ideas

For more information on how Mills Display can help with your retail design ideas, get in touch with us on +64 9 634 5962, call into our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson St, Penrose, email us at sales@millsdisplay.co.nz or livechat with us via the website.

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The Top Five Hospitality Trends and How to Make the Most of Them

Explore the wider hospitality trends and food retail trends at the moment to see how our expertise and range can help your business in this blog post. If you’re business involves working with food – either via retail or service – then Mills Display provides a one-stop shop for all your presentation, preparation, production and display needs.

We know we’ve got the basics covered, but it’s also worth exploring some of the wider themes around hospitality and food retail at the moment to see how our expertise and range can help your business hit the latest trends.

Hospitality Trends

Top Hospitality Trends: Shared Space

Whether it’s shared dining tables or pop-up food displays and service areas in other stores, the retail environment for food is all about the shared experience at the moment. This brings challenges around health and safety as well as merchandising and point of sale systems, meaning you have to trust a company like Mills Display to be able to deliver innovative and solid solutions.

Top Hospitality Trends: Think Local

We’ve come a long way from the 1970s and 1980s industrialised food model with much more emphasis now put on identifiable, locally sourced, unprocessed food which is treated with respect. As well as being able to reflect this trend in your produce and stock, retailers also have to think hard about their displays and merchandising – choosing a more traditional, rustic look such as wicker baskets, wooden barrels and crates.

Top Hospitality Trends: Health

As well as customers needing to know where their food is sourced, they’re also far more likely now to care how healthy it is for them. Apart from being able to trust Mills Display to stock equipment you know is going to make the grade when it comes to food safety, we’re also able to help you meet the requirements of The Food Act 2014, which will come into force by March 1, 2016. The Ministry for Primary Industries has a voluntary implementation programme for higher-risk food businesses to set up their written food control plan – you can contact Mills Display to ensure you have all the right equipment to comply.

Top Hospitality Trends: Technology

Almost every hospitality conference and show over recent years has highlighted the growing trend for hi-tech industry solutions such as mobile payments. If you’re heading down this digital route, it’s important to make sure you’ve already got your basics sorted – and using Mills Display means you can guarantee a consistent look and branding to your business.

Hospitality Trends

Top Hospitality Trends: Events and entertainment

Food – both in terms of retail and the service industry – is fast becoming the major sector of the entertainment industry too with new television programmes, festivals, fairs and markets constantly cropping up all over the world. This puts even more stress on aspects of display and presentation such as durability and look – because if you’re going to have chefs working front of house, then you have to trust they’re using utensils and cookware which look and last as well as the food they produce.

For more information on how Mills Display can help your hospitality or food retail business contact us on +64 9 634 5962, call into our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson St, Penrose, email us at sales@millsdisplay.co.nz or livechat with us via the website.

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12 Things You Can Easily Overlook When Opening a Pop Up Store

There are a few elements to consider when opening a pop up store. The retail landscape is changing rapidly around the world – and you’d have to have been living under a rock not to have noticed more people who taking the approach of opening a pop up store in New Zealand.

Ranging from food-trucks to short-term leases on vacant high street space, the types of pop-up stores are as varied as retailers’ imaginations – but the returns can be excellent.

Opening a Pop Up Store

5 Reasons for Opening a Pop Up Store:

  1. Launching an idea or product on a small scale to test the waters.
  2. A branding and PR exercise for a well-established company.
  3. Adapting to the more “nimble” landscape of digital media by showing a creative marketing strategy.
  4. Aiming for a short-term presence to take advantage of a specific occasion (e.g. festival, farmers market or sporting event) or season (Christmas shopping, summer beach traffic)
  5. Creating a collaboration or synergy with a relevant business.

Whatever your reason is for setting up and opening a pop up store, it’s important that you do your homework both about where you intend to trade to make the most of foot traffic, and about your retail store layout, display stands, fittings, fixtures and products.

So, to help you get started on the road to launching your business’s new innovation, here’s Mills Display’s 12-point guide to the vital elements behind successfully opening a pop up store.

12 Key elements behind successfully opening a pop up store

1. Location:

Nothing is more important than choosing somewhere with high foot traffic in an area suitable for what you’re selling. That said, you don’t have to take the traditional route and refit a high street shop space – why not consider converting a shipping container or a vehicle to stand out from the crowd? Just remember that making the most of a non-retail space might require customised solutions in terms of display cabinets and merchandising.

Opening a pop up store

2. Brand consistency:

You’ve really got two options in terms of branding: to go all-out to look different to instil that “must-buy-now” feeling among shoppers who see you as a temporary store, or to use the pop-up store as an extension of your established brand. In either case, you need to be able to create a buzz around the pop-up and that takes creative signage and displays.

3. Mobility:

The basic intention of opening pop up store is to take advantage of either a space or a season to increase turnover and brand awareness before moving on to somewhere different or waiting for another suitable time. It’s important therefore to make sure you have portable display stands, fixtures and fittings which can be broken down easily and quickly to be stored safely – and then reassembled simply when it comes to “popping-up” again.

Opening a pop up store

4. Vibrancy:

If you’re only going to be open for a short time you simply have to make a splash. This might mean creating customised displays or purpose-made packaging for retail products which reflect the pop-up experience.

5. Sell the experience:

Opening a pop-up store is the perfect occasion to inform your customers about your business and what you sell. Contact your suppliers to try to get them to supply marketing materials – just don’t forget that you’ll need to be able to display them well.

6. Security:

You need to be able to safeguard your products in an environment you’re not necessarily used to trading in. For example, moving out of a shop to a stall in a pedestrian mall means having to deal with a lot more casual foot-traffic so you need to remember to have more secure methods of displaying products on racks and shelves.

7. The Basics:

While you’re working out the big-picture themes, it’s still important to remember the basic elements of retail. It’s all very well having the coolest food-truck in town or the perfect pitch at a summer beach festival, but you’ll still need those safety signs in case of spills and a box of cable ties. Read more about our safety products in this blog post.

8. Point of sale:

The aim of the game is always to make money so you need to make sure you’ve still got your labelling and pricing under control as well as having a simple and quick way of taking sales. And no matter how much effort you’ve taken to create a hi-tech mobile payments app – the customer experience will often be determined by small things such as having bag dispensers or queue control at your point of sale.

9. Teamwork:

A great way to limit costs is to create a pop-up store in someone else’s business – providing, of course, it’s a good match. For example, restaurants or accommodation providers with high foot traffic can provide space and the shared experience can help with marketing and boost both brands. Just remember that your displays and packaging for retail products will have to fit in both with your brand and with the other business.

10. Working with food:

One of the typical ways to create a buzz around a pop-up is by introducing food and drink – even to a business which doesn’t usually do this. Offering a coffee or snack keeps the customer engaged and allows you more time to make a sale, get contact details or provide more information. It’s vital if you’re a business which doesn’t usually work with food, though, to source food preparation, presentation and display items which are durable, in keeping with your branding, and up-to-the-mark in terms of health and safety.

11. Make a connection:

The temporary nature of a pop-up store makes it the perfect opportunity to get to know your customers and ask them for feedback. This means training your staff, getting and displaying suppliers’ info and providing the means to get contact details from people visiting the store.

12. Marketing:

No matter how much effort goes into creating the store, you still need to tell people about it. Social media is the perfect place to start, but it’s easy to forget the basics – such as creating posters, fliers and other marketing material to place in your other stores.

Contact Mills Display For more Information

If you’re thinking about setting up and opening a pop up store, Mills Display has a comprehensive range of all merchandising material to help get you started. If you need a more customised approach to kitting out your new space or packaging your existing products you can talk to our custom manufacturing team. Also check out our guide for successfully setting up and opening a store.

Contact us on +64 9 634 5962, call into our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson St, Penrose, email us at sales@millsdisplay.co.nz or livechat with us via the website. Use the online contact form below and one of our team members will give you a follow up!

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Roundup Of What’s Hot In Retail Trade Shows 2015

Retail trade shows 2015. As the first half of the year is over it’s worth taking a look at some of the key messages which came out of six months’ worth of retail shows around the world. As well as the familiar technology-driven developments in marketing, online sales and payments, there’s been an interesting call to remember New Zealand’s ageing population. Here’s our roundup of Retail Trade Shows 2015.

Retail trade shows 2015

Retail Asia Expo in Hong Kong (June 9-11)

Samsung stole all the headlines when it unveiled the commercial use of its Mirror and Transparent OLED screens – and bringing a bit of Minority Report futurism into the retail arena.

By pairing the screen with front and rear-facing cameras which can trace facial and hand movements as well as including a snapshot camera which allows backgrounds to be altered, Samsung created a “virtual fitting room” where customers could try on clothing, shoes and jewellery virtually.

The company hopes to integrate the transparent display with RealSense tech which would allow voice-controlled 3D-rotatable viewing systems – perfect if you want to see how you look in your new car, your new dress, or your new shoes.

Retail Australasia in Auckland (May 19-20)

The New Zealand Herald reported NZ Retail Association chief executive John Albertson’s warning that the country’s rapidly ageing population posed a real challenge to retailers.

The figures were startling with our current 600,000 65-plus population becoming 1.1 million by 2031 and places such as Northland and Nelson having more than a quarter of their residents in that age bracket.

“It has big implications as the population ages and changes and it will be just a gradual change but in 20 years time we don’t want to be sitting there saying ‘where the hell did the customers go?’ because that’s what we face happening,” Albertson said.

He warned retailers not to pick between a physical presence and selling online. “They’re simply two different channels of retail and you have to work out how to make both work for you,” he said.

The Customer Show in Melbourne (May 14-15)

The star attraction at the Retail Tech X conference as part of Melbourne’s Customer Show was former CEO of UK retail giant Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, who concentrated on how he turned the company from third to first in the market by harnessing “big data”.

The earliest incarnation of Tesco’s understanding of its customer base was its loyalty card, which allowed the company to increase the productivity of their marketing “between 300 and 1000%” because it “was so effective”, and respond to customers’ demands.

But he warned that “big data” was only useful if organisations give leadership positions to people who understand the information they’re gathering.

“Knowing is not enough – you actually have to do something about what you know about customers,” he said. “You have to change the organisation. And it does need different decision-making structures actually to respond to data. It’s got to be actionable or it’s of no value at all, and that takes leadership.”

GlobalShop in Las Vegas (March 24-26)

There was still plenty of room among the techies for different takes on traditional point-of-sale display marketing at GlobalShop 2015, where Prolitec displayed its fragrance-branding (already used in Abercrombie & Fitch stores in the US), and customised temporary retail displays included a lifeguard stand, lit-up palm trees and a 20ft silver rocket ship made from paper substrate.

Contact Us for more info about Retail Trade Shows 2015

For any queries about our range of products or a custom manufacturing project, fill in the contact form below and we’ll get back to you. Furthermore, you can give us a call at +64 9 634 5962 from 8:30 to 5:00 Monday to Friday.
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Safe Food Presentation: Three Key Points for Working With Food

Safe food presentation is critical for customer confidence and likelihood of purchase. Learn about our top 3 key takeaways for working with food.

Safe Food Presentation

1. Use Displays for Safe Food Presentation

It’s important to combine efficiency, practicality and impact when displaying food – after all it’s a familiar commodity which we’re all hardwired into seeing on a regular basis and taking for granted.

That’s why chefs spend such a large amount of time and effort on presentation – it’s the secret ingredient which changes regular nourishment into high-class cookery or fast-food depending on what you’re aiming for.

From a retail perspective your food displays are trying to fulfil two functions:

  1. Appealing to customers: By choosing between black trays, crates, tubs and tiered units and the more “organic” look of poly wicker baskets and trays, you’re making a statement about your store and your customers. Try to determine whether you’re appealing to your customers’ need for a speedy and efficient shopping experience or a slower “browsing” experience. Some straightforward rules about food display also include alternating colours on the stands, using glass shelves and staggered staging to get more stock into your customers’ eye lines and using props such as matting or accessories to attract attention.
  2. Rotation of stock: Because food and produce have a much shorter shelf life than most other retail goods, it’s vital that your displays help turn the product over rapidly. For this reason you don’t need a lot of each product on display all the time, but it has to be placed properly. More expensive “top-shelf” produce generally sits higher than generic, regular purchases and produce at eye-level is generally more competitive. Bins are usually associated with cheap prices when you need to move produce quickly.

2. Health and Information

Customers are now, more than ever, keen to understand where their food is coming from and trust that it has been handled well during its transport, display and presentation – both from a health perspective and from an education perspective.

Signposting and ticketing isn’t just about displaying price tags – it’s now important to give your customers the right information to help them make informed decisions on their purchasing by giving additional information about sourcing, price comparisons, potential uses of new products and potential health benefits.

You also need to reassure customers that their food is being handled carefully, so Mills Display stocks equipment which makes the grade when it comes to food safety, keeping customers confidence in your produce high.

3. Marketing

Basic food display plays a large role in marketing fresh produce and food items (see above), but there are also a few tricks for store planning and how you organise your shelf displays which will help market your products to customers.

Impulse food purchases should be placed near your point of sale (for example, during lunch hours it may be good to have a fruit or bakery display where people queue to pay) and “destination purchases” (those regular items such as milk, bread, butter and eggs) should be at the back of the store so customers have to pass more products in order to get to them.

Promotional products (and items with good profit margins) should go on mobile displays near the end of aisles or in islands because that’s where customers are used to looking for bargains. Elsewhere on shelving, competitive products can be aligned vertically and related items horizontally so that customers can see and decide on a group of products without having to move around the store.

Contact us for more info about Safe Food Presentation

Safe Food Presentation plays a large role in convincing customers to purchase your products. For more information on how Mills Display can help your business improve how you work with or display food contact us online, call us at +64 9 634 5962, call into our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson St, Penrose, email us at sales@millsdisplay.co.nz or live chat with us via the website.

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