Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Call of the Mall - 1

Call of the Mall is the latest book from retail store design expert Paco Underhill. Like his earlier Why We Buy, the book is witty and entertaining while providing well-researched tips on successful store design. The new book focuses on the design of malls, but most of the content is directly applicable to individual stores too.

I'm going to provide a series of my favorite tips from Call of the Mall. I hope they will encourage you to go out and buy both of Underhill's books. Every retailer should own them.

Parking ... the design of mall parking lots is awful broad expanses of asphalt. Necessary evils in the eyes of developers. Why not make those huge lots more of an asset with open-air markets? "Peddler's wagons" are common at the similar huge parking areas outside NASCAR races. Are you making the most of your space outside your store?

A small hardware store in the middle of the tiny town where I live uses the sidewalk in front of their store very effectively. Every morning they put out a seasonal selection of lawnmowers, bicycles, tillers, sleds, and even fresh produce. The ever-changing displays attract attention and draw shoppers. It keeps the entire storefront fresh and promotes the hottest seasonal merchanise ... and they pay nothing for the extra square feet of selling space.

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