Food Presentation

Food presentation is they key ingredient to retailing food (apart from the food itself, of course!) Always let the food be the hero, and the displays should never detract attention from the product. That doesn't mean the food presentation displays don't need to be durable, functional and visually appealing. However it does mean the function is to show the food in the best possible manner.

Food presentation items include bowls, platters, risers, in fills, as well as spoons, scoops and even bulk food dispensers.

 

 

 

 

Plastic Fabrication

Plastic fabrication is the supply of plastic fittings for retailers, and can range from a range of plastic materials including acrylic for brochure displays to display racks in store. Plastic fabrication is usually used by retailers for all their shop fitting needs and can often be customised at the request of companies. Plastic fabrication is most popular with the food and grocery retailers and the retail industry that need a one-stop solution to all their plastic shopfitting needs.

Common processes include cutting (routing or laser), heat bending, printing, engraving, and gluing. Mills does all of this, and has the added benefit of vaccuum forming with our new equipment installation.

 

 

Card Holders

Card holders are used by retailers to ensure their products are labelled correctly and are an essential product in the retail industry. Card holders are usually plastic or acrylic and can stand on their own to be displayed in any retail environment.  Card holders can come in a variety of sizes but are usually A5 and A6 and can be customised at the retailer’s request. Card holders usually carry the product description of all items that may need be displayed in store.

 

 

 

 

 

by daniel
Friday 25 July, 2014

Pricing guns

Pricing guns are used by retailers to ensure their products are priced correctly, and they are essential to the success of a retailer’s business. Pricing guns label products with price stickers that generally dispense stickers from a roll. Pricing guns are a speedy way of marking items or re-marking items that are on sale. Large retailers such as supermarkets may choose to label the shelf instead of the product.

by daniel
Thursday 24 July, 2014

Display Rack

A good display rack is durable, functional and minimalist. Most commonly utilised in fashion outlets, display racks are freestanding displays, usually movable and often modular.

Display racks refers to the racks fitted inside retail environments that are used to ensure the retail space is fully furnished. Display racks can be customised for the retailer’s needs and will usually come in a pack containing a range of display rack products as selected by the retailer.

 

 

Digital Printing

Digital printing, especially wide format digital printing has continued to encroach on screen printing’s traditional purview. As ink costs fall, machines get faster for less capital outlay, the minimum run sizes before screen becomes economical continues to rise.

Digital printing is based on a digital-based media which is then printed on a variety of media. Digital printing usually requires high volume laser or inkjet printers and has a higher cost than traditional printing methods. Digital printing is ideal for large-scale printing needs that need to be high quality and often for professional use. Digital printing is frequently used by retailers for their visual display needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by daniel
Tuesday 22 July, 2014

Display Fittings Explained

Display fittings are all the items in store which makes merchandise scream ‘buy me!’ It should be practical, efficient and let the product do the talking. It should fill the space but not clutter. It should align with retail design and strategy and ensure merchandise remains the hero. Display fitting as a process can be specialised for food and grocery retailers as well as electronic and fashion retailers. Most fittings are generic, produced out of metal, plastic or wood, however it’s common to custom manufacture the display fittings to fit the particular retail environment.

When fitting out any store with display fittings, find the right balance between cost, effectiveness, durability (in relation to the desired lifecycle) and most importantly, the interaction of the display fitting with the visual merchandising strategy.

by daniel
Friday 18 July, 2014

Las Vegas 2013. Touch Me, Swipe Me, Pinch Me or Leave Me

Steve Jobs and Apple have given a lot to the world, none of which is going to be re-covered here.

Of all the great things they have done though, that which will have the biggest impact on retail environments is surely how people now interact with products. Touch, swipe and pinch have become so ingrained and almost instinctive to so many of us that they are expected to be present in just about everything we do.

At the recent Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas there was a lot to be impressed by from a signage perspective. All the major players were there, showcasing their latest, greatest and most certainly very impressive products. One of the standouts being the ultra high definition screen technologies that display image quality almost too good to be true.

However, the stands or displays that managed to acquire that most valuable of trade show commodities, booth dwell time, all had one thing in common – Interactivity. And it is in this aspect of digital signage that the future success of a retail environment appears to lie.

By way of demonstration, a few days ago I was in one of the major consumer electronics retailers, again looking at the impressive range of screen technologies. A few meters away from me were a Mother with two children, around 8 and 4, checking out the televisions and the one that caught their eye was not just any television, but one that looked like it could cost more than a small car.

Within the first few seconds of seeing the TV the youngest child walked up to it with wide eyes and, to his mother’s horror, touched the screen. Nothing happened. Instant disengagement.

He turned around and said to his brother “this one doesn’t work properly lets go play on the iPads” and off the whole family went.

And in that example seems to lie the untapped well for traditional retailers. The goal is obviously not to be interactive; the goal is engagement and conversion.

Things that are now possible in so many new ways through our now instinctive actions of touch, swipe and pinch.

The show certainly demonstrated many ways in which this could be achieved and if you are interested in seeing some more pictures and video please get in touch at neilw@millsdisplay.com.au

by Neil Webster
Wednesday 27 March, 2013

Clik-clik: the world’s most economical and effective poster ha

Clik-clik in action (click here to view the demo on You Tube) Clik-clik is a revolutionary poster hanging system from Canada used throughout North America. It is now available in Australia exclusively through Mills Display. The system uses a pair of magnets and a simple grabbing mechanism on a lightweight pole to make putting up and pulling down posters a breeze. Contact us for a demo, or watch our youtube video above.

by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Comparing Coles and Woolworths

Obviously both Coles and Woolworths have reported very strong results in the circumstances of inclement weather, deflation and a poor economy. Woolworths continue to grow with 25 new stores opening, and Coles have achieved continued comparable store on store growth. They use different metrics (exclusions and inclusions) so direct comparisons are difficult. However, any shopper can attest that the standard of offering by both chains continues to improve for the benefit of consumers. Not only do prices fall, but store layouts and ambience improve apace. Perhaps farmers complain, but at least they're consistent.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Dick Smith on the market

Everyone knows how tough it is in retail at the moment, and few would be surprised by Woolworths' decision to exit the Dick Smith business. Nevertheless, Dick Smith could hardly be regarded as a basket case. The stores look fantastic*, the product range is excellent, and the service is generally very good. With the closure of 100 or so of their under-performing stores, and in the dedicated hands of a new purchaser, Dick Smith would seem to have every chance of a bright future, especially once the world economy returns to growth. * Disclosure: as the supplier of signage and point of sale to Dick Smith, we're obviously biased! (See: Article in today's Australian)
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Eco-friendly Melamine Range

Food service isn't what it used to be. Whilst chipped ceramics and gaudy plastic may have been acceptable in the past, modern food service products must achieve the difficult twin goals of making the food the main focus, whilst still being visually appealing and fresh in their own right. Delfin is North America's premier Food Service and Food Presentation manufacturer. Their products are renown for their durability, versatility and visually stimulating design. However, none are more so than their new EC Melamine range. EC Melamine items represent a concentrated movement towards a more environmentally sensitive option. By perfectly blending eco-friendly plant based fiber from Thailand and durable melamine compound designed for strength, this bowl offers a durable yet natural, earthen look. Beautiful colors, globally considerate, food grade tested EC Melamine items are part of the earth wise delfingreen line. Contact Mills Display for to see how you can boost your environmental credentials in a perceptible and attractive way.

by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Globalshop 2012

Globalshop Presentation Click on the above link to see a collection of the most interesting products we found at this year's Globalshop in Las Vegas. All in all, it was an excellent show, with many visitors and exhibitors calling it a concise summary of the more renown Euroshop. We definitely agree! We invite you to view the entire presentation and would be surprised if you didn't find a couple of ideas for your retail environment, or at the very least, learn about some of the most exciting international trends in visual merchandising. Please don't hesitate to contact us for more info.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Harbourside Market - Gold Coast's sophisticated gourmet food and

Harbourside Market in Gold Coast's Biggera Waters sets a precedent for a differentiated and culturally-rich shopping and dinning experience. Fine dinning restaurants and coffee houses will inject a new zest into the area, as Harbourside Market becomes the place to be and the place to be seen. The Lifestyle At Harbourside Market, the best providores, suppliers and retailers of gourmet foods have been combined to deliver their finest products and expert advice. A fusion of fine Australian foods mixed with unique European product lines offer a diverse range of gourmet meats, fresh seafood, fresh and organic produce, authentic baked goods, sweets and delicacies, juice bar, gelato bar and a traditional European deli, bringing an exciting new range of tastes to the Gold Coast. The market provides the most genuine foods from traditional, artisanal producers, showcasing an array of gourmet specialty products including imported and local cheeses, charcuterie, oils, vinegars and antipastos. Mills Display was proud to be involved from the very beginning in creating this stunning shopping environment, with beautiful point of sale, visual merchandising and ticketing.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Incredible Cardboard

POPAI, the worldwide association of manufacturers, agencies, FMCGs and Retailers dedicated to excellent in point-of-purchase marketing conducted it's annual award ceremony in Las Vegas this month. Over coming weeks we will showcase some of the more fantastic entries we witnessed at the awards, beginning with these brilliant movie release displays (a smorgasbord for Sci-Fi nerds!!)
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

JB Hi-Fi delivers sales increase, profit decline

Whilst JB Hi-Fi would be disappointed that their stellar record of earnings growth has had a hiccup, their continued top-line sales growth is testament to the excellent offering and value the retail chain provides its loyal customers. JB' are pioneers of the 'cheap and cheerful' storedesign concept. Nevertheless, if the purpose of point of sale material is to communicate to shoppers pricing, category location, specials, etc, then there's certainly nothing lacking in JB's execution!
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Learning from Apple – Why we can’t

Many retail consultants point to the success of the Apple Stores as an example of the kind of thinking and changes which must take place for many retailers to survive. The problem is, few people if anyone really know why Apple Stores are a success. Pricing? Apple products are expensive compared to competitors (PCs, MP3 players, tablets, etc). Is it their relaxed setting (eg Genius Bars)? Borders had in-store cafes and couches for reading and look what happened to them. Is it their passionate staff - probably, but the bigger question is why are the staff so passionate (they'd practically work for free). The fact is, the success of Apple is not at all simple. It's impossible to point to one or even a series of unique elements and use that to explain why they are successful. Even more difficult, and downright dangerous, is to use the process of induction to say Apple does x, therefore if you do x, you too will be successful. This is a simplification, but in essence this is what many retail consultants do. As Nicholas Taleb warned in The Black Swan, be very wary of inducing patterns and trends from examples which can't be fully explained.

by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Mills plays pivotal role in NSW's biggest fridge controversy

Little did we know that the brouhaha between the Penrith Panthers and the NRL would draw us in. However, the key role the fridge has played in creating a bonanza of publicity for the Panthers' new major sponsor, and a very disappointed NRL and Telstra, has unwittingly made us a partner in the biggest sporting white goods scandal since the infamous Westinghouse fiasco at Lords in 1981 (at the end of the day's play, the beer was found to be warm, thus unfairly favouring the locals). Whilst watching Penrith demolish competition favourites the Roosters, it was hard to believe the week would have such an uplifting ending, going to show, every shroud really does have a silver lining. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="The Offending Fridge in Question (shroud by Mills)"][/caption] The Full Article Here (Image linked courtesy of the Daily Telegraph)
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Pop-Up Retail

Consider 3 factors:
  1. the current retail rents in shopping centres
  2. the need for retailers to establish a fresh point of difference
  3. the nature of seasonal, opportunistic and limited-time promotions (think group buying sites, obsolete/surplus stock, and time-of-year activities)
What turns these three factors into an opportunity? Pop-Up Retail. Shopping centres, including Westfield, are keen for retailers to capitalise more directly on passing foot traffic within malls, and pick up some extra rent for practically 'dead' space in the bargain. See this article for some brilliant examples from around the world from both within shopping centres as well as carpark/outdoor space. (Some pictures reproduced below, plus our very own POPAI gold-winning World Vision Stands).
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Reduce Produce Spoilage with Banana Foam

In fresh produce, spoilage rates can present the largest single cost of goods, exceeding labour and even freight. Bananas, the most the popular produce item across Australia, are particularly prone to spoilage. Fast ripening bananas are one of the most visible and noticeable (in terms of smell) of fruits on display, therefore any initiative which can reduce spoiling will have substantial benefits for the retailer. Our new anti-bacterial foam risers have been calculated to reduce spoilage by up to 9%! They work by first providing a softer, more flexible surface than traditional plastic risers, contouring to the banana's shape. However, what many retailers may not know is that spoilage is also accelerated by the by the bacteria which remains on a riser after a rotting item is removed. The anti-bacterial nature of our foam alleviates that problem, resulting in enormous benefits in terms of reduced spoilage, better presentation, better quality of produce and more pleasant fragrances. Call our office in your state or your Mills Account Manager for samples and to find out more.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Retail Consultant Analysis: WWs Majura Park

Today was written an analysis of Woolworths 2015 format store, Majura Park. The promo said: ShopAbility finds a lack of 'new news' in the 2015 format store; Woolworths' 'response to Coles'. (See the full article here.) To quote them, 'sure it was big, sure it was neat and tidy and well stocked' and later 'where was the theatre...that pushes Woolworths past Coles'? My question is, where was Inside Retail 10 years ago? Was it lack of theatre people complained about when the visited Coles? Is that why Woolworths dominated Coles those many decades? The answer is emphatically NO. The problem was, Coles stores were a mess; they weren't 'neat and tidy', they weren't 'well stocked'. And the fact that Coles have come back so spectacularly in recent years under Wesfarmers' ownership isn't because of theatre but because they've done the basics extremely well. They have bright, well lit, spacious, clean looking, well stocked, consistently looking supermarkets, packed with good looking fresh produce. Much like Woolworths. Much like Majura Park. We believe it's time retail consultants stopped trying to explain trends after the event (see our post on the constant worthless analysis of Apple's success) and accept that sometimes things just click, especially when the basics are right. Perhaps the recent rise of Coles is just the natural order of things given Australia's duopoly. They're both doing a great job and neither is the villain in desperate need of a consultant's touch.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Security vs Promotion

These used to be mutually exclusive concepts. Either products could be secured or products could be promoted - but not both. As recently as a few years ago, batteries and razor cartridges were sold from behind the counter. It's hardly promoting a product when you go to the shelf to pick it up but all you find is a note saying 'available from the service counter' (with the underlying additional message: 'and we don't trust you either'). In many mobile phone stores even today, only dummy products are displayed (and some retailers still navel gaze about why Apple does so well...) The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way: retailers can promote and secure. Innovation in the area of security means that marketing-at-retail actually ties in with security, rather than being in conflict. A perfect example is Mills' new Shopguard range of security products. Yes, the products are secured, but this isn't what stands out to the customer. What stands out are well displayed actual products, powered and ready for play, and linked to interactive product and promotional info via touch screens.
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Supa IGA Footscray – unlike any other supermarket

Supa IGA Footscray opened in January after one of the most elaborate renovations of any independent supermarket in Victoria, EVER! Not content with a state-of-the-art continental deli with produce from around the world, and a market-style fresh produce section complete, the cherry on the cake has to be the live fresh seafood department. That's right, LIVE! We understand fresh sea water is regularly freighted in, maintained through an extensive behind the scense filtration system. See the pictures for details, or even better, visit the store! (Mills Display was proud to be a key equipment supplier to Supa IGA Footscray and certainly enjoyed the challenges of some very unique merchandising!)
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Terminal 21 Shopping Centre

One of the world's most innovative and spectacular themed shopping centres opened recently in Bangkok. Themed floors include the Carribean, Paris (including streetscapes), London (including a mock Tube station), Tokyo (the Chatuchak market) as well as replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge and a lighthouse. (Images reproduced from Google Images)
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

The complete package of retail services: a report from the field

REPORT FROM TONY GRIFFITHS (MILLS ACCOUNT MANAGER in QLD): "I’ve attached some pictures of a recently completed Qld project, for a multicultural style convenience store and café/bar which we assisted with from the very beginning. I thought it would also be a good one to share, as it shows Mills’ ability to manage a project from design and concept not just supply. In addition to offering our display and signage, the client asked me if we could also provide assistance with design. Working from their brief and some colour swatches, we created their logo for them including the font later used for department letting etc. We then provided a concept for all external signage and graphics, using images from countries around the world. I took some photos of the building whilst under construction, and we were able to provide the client with basic renders of how the concept would look. In the end we supplied and fitted Frosted etch strips, large external signage, large window decals and 2pac (silver) laser-cut department letting. Thanks very much to all our designers for their help with this. In addition (as per the images attached), we supplied all of our normal core range from ticket stripping and deli bowls, to timber crates and flower buckets." Thanks Tony. All in all this project displayed Mills capabilities from beginning to end: creative graphic design and concepting, renderings, product sourcing, in-house plastic fabrication, signage, and installation. Most of all, it encompassed great service and a very, very happy customer!
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

WAVFLO - the latest in shelf management solutions

WAVFLO is the very latest in shelf management solutions. Unlike current models on the market, WAVFLO is a complete system, including gravity fed, and pusher components. It means that on the same shelf, different solutions can be combined depending on the product characteristics. And the most exciting part? The most innovative component is yet to come, a product which will slot into these existing systems and transform this category forever! See this video link
by daniel
Friday 22 February, 2013

Insights from a World Retail Tour – Part 1

Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Westfield World Retail Study Tour, taking in the cities of Tokyo, New York, London, Paris and Milan. Along with 41 other tour participants, who represented the breadth of the Australian retail industry, I was able to see countless examples of international retail best practice as well as listen to presentations from some of the worlds leading retailers and companies affiliated with them. As someone who provides products and services to retailers rather than someone immersed in the daily challenges of the retail environment, I went on the tour hoping to be able to bring back some objective, customer-based insights into what I had seen and then open them up to debate or comment from anyone who felt them to be worth their time. To do this, I can be critiqued in the comments section below or more directly and aggressivley at neilw@millsdisplay.com.au Insight 1 Customer Centricity to the fore Any retailer worth their salt will tell you ‘ Of course we are customer focused, we have this, this and this going on’ but after this trip I would counter that by saying ‘ you may be customer aware, but you are not customer centric’ Walk into most stores in Australia and you know that the staff may be aware of you. In the good stores they will even come over and try and assist, but there is in most cases a sense of obligation to the interaction rather than one of genuine desire to help. Walking into almost any store in Tokyo on the other hand is a completely different experience. You almost get the impression that it is all about you and the fact that you have taken time from your busy day to go into that store is doing them the greatest honour. Right from the first step, the genuinely friendly store concierge that greets you at the door puts you at ease (and in the bigger stores makes you feel less intimidated) and the level of attention given to you by the other staff further in store only reinforces that. No request is ever treated as too small and you never feel as though you have just distracted someone from updating his or her Facebook status either. Then upon leaving you are once again sent on your way with what feels like genuine well wishes. Some people may say, but is that not just good customer service? Yes, it is probably part of it (and more of that in another post). But in my opinion customer centricity is about so much more than just service. In an environment where I am made to feel like the center of the world, I am more likely to forgive the inevitable customer service faux pas’ like out of stocks, etc. and return to that store to purchase again than had I just received transactionally good customer service. Other great examples of customer centricity I saw are;
  • The Nike and Converse stores that allow your buying experience to become deeply personal by tailoring for you to design and customize your shoes before buying
  • The Nike Fuel band craze that swept through the tour group also emphasizes the point. (For more on that see http://tamazing.com/?p=251 )
  • The admittedly gimmicky American Eagle store on Times Square that provides you with your 15 seconds of fame by putting your picture on the massive billboard outside their store for the world to see.
All of these have one thing in common. It’s all about me. The next post – Insight 2 – Customer Service will be up in the next few days
by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

Insights from a World Retail Tour – Part 2

Customer Service Portobello Mushrooms. That was the one ingredient I needed to complete the culinary masterpiece I was throwing together last week and also the one ingredient I was not able to get at the supermarket. So I went over to one of a smaller chain of stores, specializing in produce. Surely they of all places would have it? Unfortunately I was met with “what’s a Portobello Mushroom?” So at this point not only is my dish ruined but I am fully expecting the 20 year old assistant in front of me to say “sorry, if its not on the shelf, we don’t have it”. {Disclaimer: So it wasn’t my culinary masterpiece, I had a list and apparently should know what a Portobello Mushroom is. But none of that is relevant to this story} Wouldn’t you? Isn’t that the level of customer service we have all come to expect these days? Total lack of interest or care, take it or leave it, move along there is someone else waiting etc. etc. It certainly is from my personal accounts, talking to people and reading a lot of opinion pieces on the matter. The presence of good customer service was undoubtedly the one experience that all participants on the Westfield Retail Study Tour shared and agreed on almost immediately. And so was the question ‘Why is it so rare in Australia?” I have no idea why but what I am sure of is that there does not appear to be a good reason why it should be. None of the below that we all saw and experienced seem to be too hard to achieve;
  • A smiling friendly face to greet you at the door.
  • Equally friendly, helpful and engaging staff inside
  • An assistant never more than a few feet away when needed but who is never too pushy or overbearing
  • Knowledgeable staff who seem to want to assist you rather than sell to you. At times you know the desire to assist may be fabricated, but at least it happens.
  • Assistance with finding what you need. (Or don’t really need but feel compelled to buy because of the good service)
  • Warm well wishes as you leave the store, whether you purchased or not
The frustrating thing about receiving poor service is that getting it right seems to be so easy with just a little bit of effort. Effort that if most people are to be believed, will translate into customer loyalty and repeat business. That surely makes it worth it. So what happened to my dinner? Was the service as bad as expected? Well, the 20-year old assistant took out his personal phone, searched ‘Portobello Mushrooms’, realized that they were the same as those on shelf under ‘Swiss Brown Mushrooms’, walked me over, helped me pick them out and wished me all the best. Dinner saved. Brilliant. I'll shop there from now on. This service lark is easy.
by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

Lessons from a chicken shop

Since returning from the Westfield tour I have been paying particular attention to how much Australian retailers tend to spend on their store fit out and how that impacts getting people through the door. Now I have no scientific methods or masses of data to back my conclusion up, but the answers seems to be quite a lot. In all the cities we went to the businesses that generated the most interest or had the most people in had a few things in common, they were either; a) An Apple or Nike Store b) In a tourist hot spot c) Offered a unique product or service d) Had a great fit out and ambience All of these points seem quite obvious, but what struck me about the last one was that stores that were selling relatively inexpensive goods and selling lots of it, always seemed to be those that had invested a bit in their fit out. An obvious case here would be Uniqlo with their multi million dollar fit outs that sell $10 jeans, but as one of the worlds biggest fashion retailers, using them as an example would not be appropriate. Although one of their plain looking stores in London was pretty dead so it may even apply to them. In a shopping centre in Tokyo, there was a few small independent stores that sold trinkets like candles, photo frames, jewelry etc. that had invested heavily in their fit out and seemed to be reaping the awards, in London, the Accessorize chain of stores seemed to pay a lot of attention to fit out and VM and had people lining up to buy their cheap jewelry, In Australia the ‘premium fit out’ model only seems to have been adopted by companies selling a perceived premium product and there are examples that do it very well, Max Brenner and The Cupcake Bakery being two that spring immediately to mind. But what of the other end of the market where the fit out is used to attract customers to a value product? There are some around, such as Supre and one or two others on the basement level of The Westfield in Pitt Street, Sydney but they seem to be quite rare Which is why one that I discovered today was encouraging but also surprising because of it’s line of business, Chargrill Charlie’s Chicken shop in St. Ives. This is a recently opened store and part of a small family owned chain of 5, but the fit out spend would easily rival big chains like Nando’s and from the outside would easily outstrip Oporto’s too. Unfortunately I was not permitted to take photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it but it was impressive. Distressed timber fittings, an eclectic mix of tables and chairs, tasteful décor and hand made signage frames all give it a premium feel and make it a place you would be happy to spend time and money in. It of course helps that their product range looked great and had some wonderful additional offerings not normally associated with this environment, like individually baked apple crumbles, which are a personal favorite. On leaving I notice there is an established ‘competitive’ chicken shop three doors down from Charlie’s, which would normally have been a reason for them to open somewhere else, but the investment that has been made has made that store almost irrelevant and made the choice between where to dine a no-brainer. Something that any store owner would love to be able to say.
by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

M-Commerce – It’s All About Location

Most retailers know they need to take advantage of the amazing trends in mobile commerce. They instinctively understand that smart phones in the hands of their shoppers can be either a huge threat or a huge opportunity, but determining which one depends on the retailer embracing the technology. The problem is, it's complicated and expensive to get right, let alone get wrong. We were recently introduced to Street Hawk, a new mobile app developed in Australia which helps retailers communicate stock items of interest and other specials to opt-in shoppers in the vicinity, and well worth checking out. For information, read the recent articles in inside retailing (http://www.insideretailing.com.au/IR/IRnews/New-app-helps-shoppers-track-likes-5086.aspx) and internet retailing (http://internetretailing.com.au/streethawk-app-drives-shoppers-into-stores.html) or contact Street Hawk's CEO, Natasha Rawlings (natasha@streethawk.com.au)

by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

Making the product the feature of Point of Purchase Displays

Too often in a bid for a stand-out campaign, justified on the basis that the display's first goal is to be 'eye-catching', the product itself is lost in the execution. Whilst it's important that the Point of Sale Display designer is innovative and creative, it's unlikely that they will surpass the innovation and creativity that went into the actual product design. This is certainly true for technology or high value products, as distinct from products where design differentiation is restricted to the packaging. At the risk (no, the certainty!) of being cliche, Apple does this extremely well where their retail displays are all about the product, and there is no detraction whatsoever. (Case in point is the cylindrical piece of acrylic that displays the Ipads and Iphones in-store - no one could claim that they distract the shopper from the beauty of the products they support). As an example, we recently designed and manufactured a series of displays for niche technology products. The brief was to make the product the focus, while still communicating the relatively complex product information integral to buying decisions of these kinds of items. For further info or to find out we can enhance your product presentation or visual communication within your retail environment, contact Mills Display.
by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

The Retail Killer? Insights from a World Retail Study Tour – P

Without any doubt, the most widely asked question, or variation thereof to all the presenters we saw on the Westfield World Retail Study Tour was ‘How do you see e-commerce impacting on your business/the industry?” The answers were fairly narrow in their responses too and “It’s going to be huge”, “We expect quite a big impact”, “We see it as a very important growth channel” and “It’s a great opportunity” would probably sum most of them up. One of the most interesting facts to come out of all of the e-commerce conversations was that most experts agree that e-commerce sales will probably peak at around 20% of all non-food retail spending by 2020. (Which may go some way to explaining why none of the responses were “We are absolutely terrified”) Hold on! Only 20% you say? Judging by some of the doom and gloom media reports we see almost every day, isn’t the rise of e-commerce meant to mean Armageddon for traditional retail? Even if they get it wrong and its 30%, that would still seem a lot less than most would expect given the bad press. And this in light of another statistic shared with us that 89% of Australian consumers still prefer to shop in store rather than online. E-commerce as a complete retail killer? It would seem not. It’ll probably take a nice chunk but won’t kill it. What it does seem to be shaping as the complete killer of though is bad retail. Boring, uncreative, non-stimulating retail that relies on nothing more than old, tired store formats, sale signs and discounts to get people through the door. Because as we all know, if there is one thing e-commerce is good at, it is sales and discounts. Shopping at its core should be an emotional function not a logical, transactional one that leaves you with the feeling of just having made a bank withdrawal. And the good retailers we saw on the tour are getting back to just that, getting customers through the doors using a variety and mixture of creative and innovative methods from store design and layout, VM, theatre and interactivity. In all such stores, in all of the cities we visited, there was almost always a decent crowd of people, engaging with the store and its product and most importantly, spending money. There were a number of examples of this but my personal favorites were watching potato crisps being prepared from scratch in a mall in Tokyo, being able to tap your own mustard into an authentic ceramic jar in Paris, Collette, the curated product store in the same city and buying a personally embroidered peak cap in New York, all of which cost a premium to buy from. But the cost seemed to be the last thing on the minds of the people in those stores, which is surely the ultimate sign of whether a retailer is getting it right or not and a real motivator to get struggling retailers thinking outside of their current box? As always I would love to hear your thoughts on this or previous posts from the tour in the comments section below or feel free to e-mail me on neilw@millsdisplay.com.au
by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

What’s behind the Cross-Merchandising trend?

Supermarkets around the world are embracing cross-merchandising. First, let's look at what it is in a supermarket-context. Cross-merchandising is when you sell one product with a complimentary product from a different category. A perfect example is salsa, fresh avocados, limes, spanish onions and corn chips.   Are there any negatives? Definitely: 1. Difficult way-finding. In the example above, one expects to find corn chips with other snack foods, not in the fresh produce area. 2. Stock duplication. Assuming you get around point 1 by holding the products in the traditional location and the cross-merchandise display, then you have the problem of duplicated stock holding. 3. Space. Cross merchandising is a lot more than stacking the complimentary products next to each other. The display itself is a key ingredient to the success of the promotion. This generally means floor space dedicated to the promotion. Add in the issue of stock duplication, procuring the display, and ouch - it's costly! So why do it? Is it so valuable to sell some corn chips when you're selling avocados for $4 each? The answer lies hidden in point 3.... So let's turn to the benefits: Theatre. The days of supermarkets, and other retailers more generally, throwing as much product into a confined space and flogging it are so far gone, that we should be ashamed to even bring it up (and we are). Today's leading supermarkets involve specialist concessions (fresh pizza, sushi, patisseries, etc). Is their floor space justified by the sales? No way! Do they bring people into the store? Yes way! The same goes for cross-merchandising. How often do we walk past avocados in a supermarket (from our trusty example) and think of fresh guacamole? Rarely, if we're being honest. As we trudge through the store, running down our scrumpled paper with groceries scrawled on it, perhaps a child or two reaching the end of their tethers (and ours), we're probably not in the zone of creativity and experimentation. Someone needs to do the thinking for us. That's where the retailer comes in: by going the extra mile past of having some recipe cards in various locations and giving us appealing presentations of food and groceries that inspire us to try something tastier, healthier, fresher or just plain different. This brings us back to negative point 3. The presentation itself has to appeal. The display is integral to this: on the one hand it can't detract or distract from the products, and on the other hand it must be succeed in bringing the combination to life. The result? More sales of avocados, more sales of chips, and most importantly, more shoppers!

by daniel
Thursday 21 February, 2013

Acrylic: pros and cons

Acrylic is probably the most popular substrate for permanent in-store free-standing displays, counter displays, and brochure holders. There are definitely some draw-backs, being first and foremost, the brittleness of the product. The material has great structural strength keeping it straight/upright over relatively long lengths or heights, but the corollary of this is that it lacks flexibility and malleability. In a store environment, it means that customer knocks (and let's be honest, staff knocks too!) can lead to cracking and edges breaking. Some retailers may also be put off by the material's sustainability. Acrylics are in the same family as PVCs. They are generally not recyclable (a Class 7 plastic) nor are they substantially made from recycled material, and the manufacturing process involves the use of highly toxic raw materials (see this link for more on the properties of acrylic). So why is it so popular? The material is extremely versatile (see some of the images below), highly attractive (its clarity, its edges - particularly if flamed) and it's structural strength (see above). The verdict: for many retail displays, you can't beat acrylic.
by daniel
Tuesday 19 February, 2013

Solid Substrates for Solid Displays

As display designers and manufacturers, we are often set challenging briefs by our clients. Balancing the issues of function, form and cost can be close to impossible at times. A reasonable number of these challenges arise when clients desire some 'body' or substance to their displays. That is, they desire the appearance of solidity rather than a potentially flimsy looking display. This is especially important where the retail client has a premium offering, and the display must be commensurate with the product. Often the attempt to build 'body' into the display can be quite expensive due to the need to fabricate depth. However, every so often the perfect brief meets the perfect substrate. In this case study, we are referring to iconic ladies' fashion brand, Vince Camuto, and that most versatile of substrates, acrylic. Mills was given the brief to design and manufacture shoe holders consistent with the brand image, in a cost effective manner. The solution: simplicity itself. Cut and flamed pieces of 40mm acrylic blocks. The result: the perfect product display. Economical, enhancing the product without being overbearing, elegant, and durable.
by daniel
Monday 18 February, 2013

Loblaws named world’s best supermarket

London-based retail consultancy Echo Chamber (www.echochamber.com) has named Loblaws as the world's best supermarket. Partner and renown presenter (entertainer?) Howard Saunders says: 'This brand new Loblaws in Toronto makes the design of the mighty Eataly look pedestrian and begs the question: is this the world's best supermarket? Our answer is yes.' Even more impressive is that the Canadian-based chain was redesigned by Australia's very own Mark Landini, of Landini Associates (www.landiniassociates.com). See below for pictures (courtesy of Echo Chamber) of a truly unique supermarket environment.

by daniel
Thursday 14 February, 2013

2012 POPAI Awards - Our Favourites

The annual POPAI awards for 2012 were held at a gala event in Sydney last week. This years awards saw the largest amount of entries from across the marketing at retail spectrum, with those from members and non-members being accepted for the first time. The result was an impressive array of entries for the judges to pick and choose from and below we have just highlighted some of our favourites. To be fair, this list could have been twice as long so a full list of the entrants, a description of the displays and the award winners can be found at http://www.popai.com.au/awards/2012. Congratulations from us to all those who walked away with Indians. Corona Portable Bar by Active/Adval Corona's above the line tag is "From a place you'd rather be" and this display carries that message through perfectly. Even in the middle of a trade show hall, with no product to sell or display, it still felt like a place you would want to stand and have a chat Red Bull Formula

One Pit Stop – iCandy Creative

We've all been there, that mind numbingly boring task of filling up your car while staring at grime covered pictures of 2 for $5 chewing gum. So any display that turns that into an engaging experience is always going to be onto a winner. Life size pit crews, grid lines on the tarmac and quality POS all achieve that very well Target Denim Fit Stand – Sumo Visual Group

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we highlighted the overwhelming emphasis on "its all about me" and this display does just that. Step in, get a full body scan and walk away with product suggestions to pick up and pay for. Goodbye change rooms, hello more time for me.

CUB Hot Spot Liquor Display – Advantage Line

A display and idea that gets it's brilliance from its simplicity. When your target customer is a bloke that would rather be barbecuing and watching footy than spending any time in the shops, this display means they are in and out without in no time. All the while while making sure the important stuff like location and pricing details are obvious. The sister product to this that does the same job in cool rooms is excellent too L'Oreal Colorburst Lip Butter Floor Stand – Pop This, Pop That

A display that does everything that it's meant to; highlight a new product using quality POS, position it as premium and make it easy to throw one in the shopping basket. Oral B Touch and Learn Stand – POP Impact

A display that is interactive and engaging in a supermarket environment is tough. This one gets everything right. Digital screens and being able to pick the product up and use it (not fully of course) make it stand out. Even incorporating the practical considerations of moving it with a pallet jack into the design were not overlooked. I overheard someone say "Oral B are the Apple of oral care". Can't add to that really Jack Daniel's Summertime Harley Promotion – id8 Studio

Being a perennial contender for awards is always harder than just winning one or two. The Jack Daniel's displays seem to be there every year and every year they are excellent in achieving their objectives so couldn't leave one off this list Once again, the full list with detailed descriptions is availiable at http://www.popai.com.au/awards/2012

by Neil Webster
Wednesday 13 February, 2013

Fine Food 2012 – An Engaging Experience

Online sourcing, emailed newsletters/trade journals, and targeted search-related advertising have all put pressure on the traditional trade show model, and it's no surprise that many long running trade shows in Australia are struggling (Retail Expo, anyone??) One trade show that continually bucks this trend is Fine Food. As Fine Food Melbourne 2012 wraps up, it's a perfect time to look back on the show and ask the wider question, how can an exhibitor get the most out of their trade show attendance, and specifically, drawing visitors to your display. There are many great articles that humble even the most prepared and proactive exhibitor (we love this post by Steve Blank), but we're focussing here just on your display. A great trade show needs to blend the right mix of brand promotion, product display and functionality. Regular visitors to Mills Display stands in the past will attest to our less-than-ideal result, where we tried to cram a representative of every product across our 3,000 SKU range. The pendulum can swing too far the other way where at best a visitor will make the effort to visit an esoteric, perhaps even surrealist-inspired stand, just to find out what you do (and for every visitor who bothers to do this, imagine how many thousands don't). Fine Food Melbourne 2012 was our most successful show ever. Of course it helps that we can design and build our own stands in house (and we'd love to do the same for you too - just ask!) but the principle is that it's an effort that draws in staff from across the business to a project everyone can get behind. Management to Sales to Design to Manufacturing: it's one of the most rewarding times of the year. The result: an antique refrigerator straight out of a 1950's diner refurbished with LED strip lights, with a clear acrylic side showcasing our brand new and world-beating gravity fed system (Waveflo). Add to that a beautiful fire-engine-red push bike, retro flooring, pre-printed 'capability bags' and a lolly-dispenser to die for (or at least single-handedly alienate the entire Melbourne University Dental School). You know you've created an engaging stand when visitors constantly try and purchase your exhibition displays. The lesson for us is that if you can settle on an engaging concept that your whole company can get behind, generating real enthusiasm and interest, that becomes infectious and will transfer to your staff on the stand and the visitors walking by.

by daniel
Monday 11 February, 2013