Creativity in Presentation Is a Good (and Necessary) Thing

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Many years ago, not long after I joined Vision Monday, on one of my first visits to a meeting of independent eyecare professionals, I apparently had made an egregious mistake.

I was (I thought) having a discussion about the latest trends in eyewear and how presentation was organized in an office. I asked an optometrist how he merchandised. The room silenced. I got a terribly cold stare. I felt the need to slink away immediately.

Heresy.“Merchandising”? A word that retailers used. A word that didn’t apply to doctors, or their offices, or their practices which were about eye health and, certainly not selling.

In fact, the word dispensing was new to me. I’d spent many years covering consumer trends and had only heard the word used in reference to pharmacists, so, alrighty then, I learned something.

But the bigger point here is that “merchandising” really shouldn’t have been considered a dirty word then and it’s far from that in today’s business environment.

Actually, merchandising is essential. Fundamental. In boutique-y retail environments and yes, in modern, technology-driven health care environments. You can look up the definition, check it out on Wikipedia. Merchandising, display and store design are all related.

It’s the belief in the important role of merchandising, design and display, along with the effectiveness of marketing—particularly in today’s competitive world, which led us at Vision Monday to develop D.A.R.E. The philosophy of The Dispensing and Retail Excellence Awards are to recognize leadership in this area.

VM’s 2nd Annual D.A.R.E. awards offer just a glimpse of some of the really exciting eyewear and eye health messaging ideas that are out there.

Consumers respond to retail environments even as they seek superior customer service and expert eye health and eyewear advice.

Let us know what you think about the role that clever store design, creative graphics, and, yes, merchandising, plays in your daily retail and dispensing business. And consider taking part as we expand the concept of D.A.R.E. next year.

maxelrad@jobson.com