If I’m being honest, I was expecting last month’s visit to Scala’s trade fair to be pretty much like previous ones. Sure, it’s a remarkable facility, and the first time visitor tends to come away hugely impressed, but after 40 years of trading I doubt they get to see that many first timers anymore.
I expected clearance offers and new product launches – as there are every time – but I did not expect the merchandising of the showroom by brand to make such a difference to the visitor experience.
When like was displayed with like, the visitor could browse through hundreds of very similar me-too products but displaying an individual brand’s entire stock range in one place – and merchandised as it would be in a retail environment – was an inspired decision. Retailers could be seen adding whole ranges to their product mix rather than single lines. And with so many brand representatives being present to advise and guide, the Scala showroom became a standalone trade show for the four days.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the whole experience was the effort Scala has put in to creating in-store furniture to display many of its ranges. Retailers could pick and mix their brands and instantly visualise what the result would look like in their stores. If there were any first time visitors there who were planning to open a shop, they must have felt like they’d won the lottery.
It’s not just first timers interested in shopfitting though; over the last few months we have heard of several adult retailers who have taken advantage of the current High Street gloom to move to a better position within their town centres, with very encouraging results. And anyone else thinking of doing the same would be well advised to consider adopting the Scala option, not least because they’ve already come up with a mainstream look and are offering it to you virtually free of charge (though conditions apply, obviously).