Dillard's had built an impressive shoe offering at its chain of roughly 330 department stores. But shoppers were having a hard time noticing because the department had become overwhelming and lacked clear direction.
"Their SKUs are vast," says store design consultant Howard Ash, who worked with Dillard's internal visual team to create a new prototype environment. "But they needed to simplify the shopping experience for their customers while also enhancing the visual aesthetic of the department."
So Ash went back to the basics, looking at the environment from the shopper's perspective, how she wants to navigate the space. He divided the department into five easy-to-identify areas - comfort, juniors, women's, salon and Antonio Melani, one of Dillard's exclusive brands.
A fixturing program consisting of neutral-toned, wood, rectangular and round tiered nesting tables creates a consistent flow through the department. Off-white colored insets on the tabletops create a canvas for the product, while brushed metal risers also keep the focus on shoes.
"It's always about enhancing the product," says Ash.
Additional product is displayed in illuminated wall cubbies along the back wall, which is treated with different applications to subtly distinguish between departments. For instance, a richer brown color is used on the wall in the salon, while brushed metals add a hip vibe to the juniors shoe area.
"Our customers are responsive to this new format because it enables us to better represent the vast assortment of footwear available," says Dillard's president Alex Dillard. "Based on these results, we have plans to roll out this design to additional locations."
Client: Dillard's Inc., Little Rock, Ark.
Design: Howard Ash Inc., New York
Furniture: Bernhart Design, Lenoir, N.C.
Lighting: Juno Lighting Group, Des Plaines, Ill.
Wallcoverings and Materials: Ultra Suede, New York
Arpa Laminates Bra, Italy
Photography: Courtesy of Howard Ash Inc., New York