Retail Merchandise Curation

The Art of Merchandise Curation

Courtesy of the Multi-Channel Merchant

Retail Merchandise Curation

Merchants wear many hats within multichannel organizations. They are trend synthesizers, product experts, customer listeners, storytellers and brand-builders. They are often the passionate founders of unique offerings to a targeted niche audience (think Chuck Williams of venerable cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma).

Merchants interact closely with myriad professionals throughout their organizations — marketing, creative, customer service, forecasting, inventory control and research.

But one main task is at the very heart of all they do: the art of curation. A merchant’s carefulness, focus, expertise and intuitive human touch are what help set one brand apart from another.

Most people think “museums” when they hear “curate,” but the word’s holy origins started in the mid-14th century from “curatus,” or “one responsible for the care of souls.” In today’s economy, the metaphor of thinking of merchants “taking care” of their customers in this important way is particularly fitting.

The curation role of merchants is becoming more critical as consumers are inundated by more choices than ever. Barry Schwartz first addressed the perpetual state of overwhelmedness we live in his book, Paradox of Choice.

More recently, Steven Rosenbaum’s book, Curation Nation, takes readers on a broad sweep across many industries to prove his point that “curation is the only way to be competitive in the future.”

All sorts of experiences are being curated these days, from retail giants such as Walmart opening smaller Express stores to Path, The Personal Network space that curates your thousands of Facebook “friends” to 50 of your nearest and dearest. Our overstimulated environments are demanding help from companies and people who care about helping you navigate all the choices.

Read the full article at Multi-Channel Merchant

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