Catch the new age shopper, says Guru Martin Pegler

Hundreds charmed by Pegler's talks at POP Asia 2005

"I have heard speakers before

me, who only talk about brands, brands, super brands, mother brands, sub brands…. But the question is, how do you make the customer buy the brand? That's the job of visual merchandising."

With this, Martin Pegler, the Guru of visual merchandising, began his workshop at POP Asia 2005. And needless to say, he had hundreds of participants sit up and pay attention.

For the uninitiated, Martin Pegler, is one of the world's leading voices in the field of visual merchandising and store design. In a career spanning 50 years, he has published over 50 books and is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He has also been inducted into the Visual Merchandising/Display Industries' Hall of Fame and is an elected member of the Society of Visual Merchandisers.

After two days of power-point presentations, video clips and other high-tech paraphernalia, Pegler's presentation was starkly different with just a few note cards and a good old slide-projector. "But I can assure you that the information is all new," he joked.

And that it was. To begin with, he identified the 'new shopper'. Pre-teen girls, teen boys shopping in groups, metrosexual men and people in their 20s and 30s - all belong to the 'new shopper' club. "But the last group is a little nebulous, because it also includes people in their 40s and 50s, who want to belong to this group," he remarked.

His point was: One can't really define this group by age, as it functions more on attitude. "And when you can't find a suitable descriptor, just call it lifestyle," quipped Pegler. There is also another group that is the new shopper, 50 years and above. "And they are alive and around, and very much willing to spend," he remarked with a grin.

Given this fickle brand loyalty, clutter and shortening attention span, retailers have to make sure that customers are entertained, feel wanted and special. With the aid of pictures of the swankiest and the most successful stores from around the world, Pegler illustrated his point.

In the process, he also talked about how colours, textures, display and design play an important part in influencing purchase decisions. "Curves are in," he said, pointing to a few shots of Selfridges. "A circular space includes people, curves are easy on your senses and you can put your customer at ease with rounded corners and smooth textures."

With more large-format stores and departmental stores coming up with similar merchandise and displays, the only way to create a differentiator is by providing a shopping experience that is unique, warm and friendly, he observed.

Later, Pegler also fielded questions from the participants with élan. Given that the young marketing and retail professionals were furiously scribbling notes and listening to him keenly, Pegler's impact could well change the way our retail chains look in the future.

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© 2005 agencyfaqs!