Localization is a powerful concept that retailers can incorporate into their visual merchandising efforts to better engage the local base of customers that provide the majority of sales. Some retailers, such as college bookstores and co-ops, already use localization to a great extent in both their day-to-day and special event marketing and merchandising. Creating a tie with the local community is often easier for smaller businesses because the owner, and not just the front-line employees, live and work in the area. Localization means different things for different companies, depending on what they sell and the type of area they're located in, but a few guiding principles will help a wide range of retailers benefit from some connections with the community around a business. Visual Merchandising and Store Design recently cited localization as an enduring trend – one that many businesses should consider using if they aren't already.
Here are just a few basic ways retailers can start localizing their in-store displays and related efforts:
- Feature an assortment of exclusively local goods: This approach can work whether a business is selling goods made in the local area or the finished products offered to customers involve a component sourced from the surrounding community. Such a display can either include the local products themselves or an example of the local piece used in manufacturing, along with the actual item that's up for sale. Identifying the local piece of sales and pairing it with a store display fixture, whether jewelry made by area artisans on the wrist of a mannequin or locally grown produce on a small display table, helps to grow the connection with customers.
- Offer something unique: Caldwell Partners pointed out that the rise of localization in the retailer market space isn't a new concept by any means. Before the availability of reliable cross-continental distribution, all retailers sold a majority of locally produced items because there was no other way to source products. Modern-day businesses don't have that problem, but they can appeal to that stronger sense of community by having some products locally sourced, whether they're sold directly or incorporated into final offerings. Having this sort of local connection, and making a point to display it, helps businesses by cross-promoting other small companies in the area and creating a sense of community in the local business realm.