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Sales. An integral part in every retailers calendar, so why so often do they become an excuse for some stores to leave their windows baron and their merchandise shabby?
The word SALE plastered across a window no longer has the same impact as it once did, largely because at least half a dozen retailers will be on sale at any one time in the year. So that sense of urgency, that excitement of an ‘event’ has less impact. That coupled with the rise of online shopping where Australians have become wise to the fact they can buy for less over the internet has again diluted the impact of our traditional sale.
However, markdowns are a fact of retail life and getting ‘clean’ in preparation for new stock is as much part of the calendar as anything else. The way retailers approach the matter of clearance, however, varies widely, and for some – think Harrods – it is a highly marketable event just like any other promotion. And it’s only once a year so still has that prestige status.
So what’s the best way to present a mark-down sale? How can we bring innovation to our windows and visual merchandising? Here are just a few examples of how some stores skin that cat:

Ocado thumb 1The integrated window display at London’s One New Change shopping centre was erected overnight and allows shoppers to purchase groceries on their mobile phones, then have them delivered to their door.
The move gives Ocado its first physical presence on the high street.
The shopping wall mirrors an experiment by Tesco earlier this year in South Korea. Tesco circulated footage of how a shopping wall would work in a subway, prompting consumer excitement.

Net a porter thumbLuxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.com made its first move into bricks-and-mortar last night with an augmented reality pop-up window shop.


It opened two stores, one on Mount Street in London and the other on Mercer Street in New York, that allowed customers to scan pictures of products on the wall using their phones, and buy or win the items.


The stores were open for one night as part of Vogue’s Fashion Night Out event. After downloading the Window Shop application, which has augmented reality technology called Aurasma embedded, customers’ mobile phones were able to recognise product images.

Selfridges thumb 1What can the shop that has everything offer to customers this season but The Museum of Everything.


Selfridges Oxford Street kicks off a two-month exhibition created by The Museum of Everything in its Ultralounge in the store’s basement tomorrow. To mark the occasion it has cleared all of its Oxford Street windows of stock, replacing this with enlarged images and cutouts taken from the show. This is the first time that the department store has chosen not to show any product in its Oxford Street windows and was the subject of considerable debate, according to a spokeswoman.

Target’s collaboration with Missoni, debuting in stores next month, also marks the retailer’s first use of “shoppable videos.” A range of brands have been testing this technology, which enables consumers to click on items within a video; then they’re either redirected to an e-commerce page or able to add the item to a shopping cart without leaving the video. Some videos are visually arresting (Gucci and high-end men’s retailer Oki-Ni), some use music video-style storytelling (Canadian sportswear brand Roots) and others use basic stylist tips.

Bodum thumbThe new concept store is located on the high profile Avenue de Opera and will provide customers with the opportunity to test kitchen equipment inside the store. Experience and involvement were the key concept of the new store, says the kitchenware brand.
“Handling and using the kitchenware is very different from just looking at it in its box. Just as when you buy a new shirt. You want to be certain that the shirt looks good and that it fits you,” said Jorgen Bodum, CEO of Bodum.