Most consumers know what to expect when they go store-hopping on a quest for a new appliance—row upon row of large white, chrome and obsidian boxes gleaming like some sort of post-modern Stonehenge under the relentless glow of fluorescent lighting. While this is a time-honored method for displaying large items like dishwashers, stoves and washing machines, it doesn't exactly replicate the products' intended final destination—the consumers' home. In fact, some shoppers are overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing their next major purchase in this kind of environment.
However, other consumers are diametric opposites, preferring to see a wide variety of products in one location before making a purchase. Indeed, the Stonehenge display method is a space-saving and efficient way to showcase massive numbers of products, designs and brands in a minimal amount of space with only moderate store design costs.
There's no right answer. And the answer that worked five or even three years ago, may not work today. The common theme for the successful appliance retailers interviewed for this story is keeping in touch with customer preferences and overall design trends.