June 4, 2007

An Architect Confesses!

You have probably read my views on the trouble with architects. (See Disasters article.) They tend to make their design more important than the merchandise.

Now here's confirmation in print from an architect who agrees with me and has seen the light.

The following is an excerpt from the May 2007 issue of Visual Merchandising & Store Design magazine featuring an interview with David Kepron. He is a principal at the Philadelphia based architecture firm, SPG3. Kepron earned his architecture degrees from McGill University in Montreal and is an active member of the American Institute of Architects.

What has been your biggest challenge as a designer?

"Early on, it was understanding that store design wasn't all about me, the design and the architecture. I had to learn to let go of a series of messages learned in college that, as an architect, I should be saving the world from itself. I've learned to see the customer, the merchandise and the brand as the stars and that the things I design play a supporting role in their show."

How do you measure the success of a store design?

"When walking in the store, if the customer can understand the product assortment, navigate the space with ease and have the brand environment resonate in a corporeal way, while the cash register rings constantly, then you've got success."

Kudos to Mr. Kepron. I'm thrilled to see that there are some architects out there who do understand what their role should be in retail design.

June 3, 2007

Productivity Zapper: E-mail Overload

Are you or your employees in the habit of constantly checking your e-mail?It's become the all-American pastime for many of us. But it's more harmful to our productivity than you might think.

Download this excellent article and talk about it to your staff. I have instituted the solution the author suggests in my office and have noticed a significant gain in our productivity and ability to focus.


The Low-Information Diet: How to Eliminate E-Mail Overload and Improve Productivity By Tim Ferriss

It's Monday morning and your To-Do list for the day is lengthy. You turn on your computer, log into your inbox, and spend the next six hours starting, stopping and backtracking, your To-Do list untouched. Tim Ferriss offers immediate solutions to improve your productivity and quiet the constant information interference.


June 1, 2007

Is Your Dispensary Suffering From Poster-itis?

Talking about overload I recently paid a visit to three offices that I designed some years ago. The owners were all very happy with the design and the increased growth and profits they were experiencing.

But two out of three dispensaries were suffering from "poster-itis"—too many posters standing all over the place. There were posters on the shelves, posters on the dispensing tables, on top of showcases and even on the floor!

All these posters made the dispensary look cluttered and crowded. Clutter is the enemy in the dispensary and poster-itis is usually the main culprit.

Posters on the floor or on top of showcases or displays are an absolute NO-NO! This does absolutely nothing to help you sell frames. So if you are guilty, lay down the law to everyone who works in the dispensary—no more posters on the floor!

The only place to use posters is on a shelf next to the brand of frames depicted. Here is the rule: You may only use ONE poster per shelf. Spreading multiple posters across the same shelf is another NO-NO!

Now if you don't care about selling more higher priced frames you can ignore this advice. If what you are after is a dispensary that looks like a bargain basement, go wild with the posters. Jam them in and don't leave an empty spot anywhere. It will look cheap and communicate to patients that they should expect bargain basement prices.

There is only one cure for poster-itis: Take them ALL out! Then pick out only ONE per brand name and put it back in next to that brand of frames.

The dispensary will probably look bare to your eyes when you get all those posters out of there, but believe me, the patients won't think so. Less posters means less distraction for the patients. They will be able to focus better on the frame styles and colors without a jumble of posters vying for their attention.