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Dressed to kill

Stores in the twin cities are taking to visual merchandising as a crowd pulling mantra


SHOPPING MALLS in the twin cities turn into snowflake spectacles drenched in white — snow, silver and rest of the wintry look. Mannequins sport a polo neck and a muffler to go with it. A Santa cut out, the goodies in the corner of the window, . a well laid out table with wine, et al and a decked up Christmas tree entice you. And you come out with hands full of bags and the why-do-people-buy-things-they-don't-need ringing in the back of the mind. Helping the malls make the commercial kill is the `silent selling tool' a.k.a visual merchandising.

With VMA (visual merchandising arts) offered as a subject in international schools, new group of professionals are absorbed as display designers and stylists, to compel prospective customer to stop, look, and to buy.

"It is a part and parcel of retailing, based on season, festival, promotion in store and new launches. The whole store works on a theme and wears an autumn winter and Christmas party look with Santa and gifts. Virtual merchandising is measurable. You can track how sales have changed with the display," says Samir Agrawal, unit head, Shoppers' Stop, Hyderabad. Fabric drapes and mannequins are some of the evergreen visual merchandising elements. The new trend is the usage of solids. White square blocks are passé as façades of windows take brighter tones.

"About 52 per cent of the target is youth. And the emphasis is on party wear. Focus is still on kids and also on parents as to what they can wear for the New Year party. Thus we ensure that the display is trendy and youthful," says Ranjan Acharya, store manager, Pantaloons.

But behind all the efforts to map a shoppers mind for buying patterns, one segment that does not get affected by the pizzazz of retailing is the shopaholic. "I don't think of a time I saw a window and walked in. Does it make an impact? I walk in frequently to pass time," says one. Nevertheless, a well dressed up window makes for a pleasant frame commuters would agree.

SYEDA FARIDA

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