Shoppers Have Short Attention Spans

Merchandise looks stale to shoppers after eight weeks on the floor. That’s the verdict of a study on shopping behavior recently conducted by Wiese Research Associates, Omaha, Neb., for Meridian Advertising, Troy, Mich.* That means stores that sell fashion products must update stock frequently.

To keep jewelry displays looking fresh, retail analysts offer the following tips:

  • During holiday seasons, change the jewelry in your main visuals weekly. For example, if you deck the store all in white but incorporate red visuals (such as ruby jewelry) as focal points, change the pieces every week.

  • During the rest of the year, change your displays every two to four weeks. You have only 20 seconds to grab someone’s attention, says Liz Chatelain, president of MVI Marketing, Paso Robles, Calif. “Most consumers are bored with displays after six weeks,” adds Pam Levine, president, Levine Design Group, New York.

  • Keep display props clean and merchandise orderly so customers can focus on individual pieces.

  • Keep displays simple … or not. “Provide a variety of jewelry,” says Matthew Chesal, design director of Gerald Fried Co. Inc., Tonawanda, N.Y. “If you go car shopping and all you see is blue cars, and you want red, you’ll leave.”

  • Let your displays reflect your overall image. “If you don’t have a backdrop or message (in your store or displays), then you’re just another jeweler,” says Levine.

  • Survey customers to learn their likes, dislikes, and buying habits. Offer them incentives such as gift certificates in exchange for filling out a one-page survey.

* Methodology: This survey was not jewelry-specific, but its results reveal important general retailing trends. Consumers were queried about mass merchants (Wal-Mart), department stores (Macy’s), midline stores (Kohl’s), power retailers (Best Buy), and specialty stores (Disney). Telephone interviews were conducted with 800 consumers from December 26, 2000, to January 4, 2001. Research focused on actual behavior, not intentions.