E.A. Davis is located in downtown Wellesley on Washington St. next to Blue Ginger. The store was founded in 1904, and still runs today in the same mom & pop shop fashion. EA Davis sells high end brands typically classified as “East Coast Prep” .
This location is perfect for the store since it carries mostly prep wear, which is the main fashion in Wellesley. However, the exterior does not match the store. It is a very plain concrete building and does not display what the interior would be at all. This is not a free standing site.
EA Davis has a Free-Form layout (boutique layout) since there the products are not clearly laid out in a “grid” or by departments. In this store there is an assortment of fixtures and aisle that are not symmetrical. This also helps the store become more cozy and inviting for the customers. They can easily browse different sections instead of having to sift through merchandise in order to find something they like (as in a place like TJ Maxx.) Also, all of the merchandise is clearly on display which again, helps eliminate the stress of “treasure hunting.”
This company is over 100 years old and originates in Wellesley. Due to the nature of the style of clothes, the design of the store is timeless as well. They do not require renovation since it is a very classic look, just like typical prep wear. It is the merchandise that is emphasized and actually becomes decoration for the store. If they were to add more, it would quickly become too cluttered. However, they can modify the exterior of the building if possible. It may be hard since it is not a free standing site (connected to Blue Ginger.) But they do have great window displays which helps make up for the lack of building appearance.
There is a mix of highlighted and natural light. There are florescent lights which give customers a great look at the merchandise and sky lights for more natural light. The lighting is consitant throughout the whole store.
There are a lot of straight racks at EA Davis. These are very versatile and allow the store to display products along its ample wall space. However, this is not the most effective method since it is hard to differentiate products from each other. These racks are mostly against the wall or are free standing. In addition to the straight racks, there are a few four-way fixtures. These help promote different brands since they display products from specific designers. For instance, these feature fixtures are used to display similar styled, pink, women’s vineyard vines products.
EA Davis uses a free form floor plan, also known to some as a mixed floor plan. Because EA Davis has almost all types of store displays (gondolas, shelves, 4 ways etc.) the store has a very unique look. Typically a free form floor plan is used in more boutique type stores, which works will for this high end neighborhood store. Usually this type of layout will draw customers to the back of the store, here you can access the second level. I think that the flow of the store is very apparent and the floor plan works very well.
EA Davis has a very flexible store layout, especially since it is not a corporate chain store. Since it is a “mom and pop” store, there are no restrictions like Plan-o-Grams. Instead, they have the freedom to customize. And since it is a Free-form layout, they can make changes like moving different sections across the floor.
E.A. Davis uses a free form layout which is good for intimate environment and browsing. However, Personal selling becomes crucial and this plan reduces amount of merchandise that can be displayed. As mentioned before, the store is organized by department/classification, then by lines and designers, then by color and general cohesiveness, ie. summery, bright dresses on the right and dark and winter clothes on left. Coats and Business wear is on the left and those are destination goods rather than the array of dresses which are shopping goods. Men's accessories such as ties, bow ties, and pocket squares are organized together on gondolas Basement is furniture and interior design and organized by type. Swatches are in one area, knick knacks are in another, and gift wrap and ribbons are kept together.
As a general rule, the best merchandise should be in the front right side, an area called the strike zone. Currently, children’s merchandise is there. This should be switched with women’s clothes because their target market is grown women. Other departments are properly located such as, men's merchandise which is upstairs, so it is farther away from the door, but this is a good thing because men typically do not like to be bothered when they shop so it has less traffic. Also this is demand/destination merchandise so it can be in a further away location from the door. The Interior Design studio is in the basement, but again this is demand merchandise that is highly personalized. It is good to be away from the rest of the store so customers can focus.
Store is sorted by brands, brands area is recognized by a large sign or logo most products are organized by brand name and people recognize the clothing. There are no signs indicating prices, or that clothes are sorted by size. This makes sense it does not go with the atmosphere of the store.
Feature areas are common in EA Davis– specialty brands have obvious freestanding displays with larger more visible signage, ex. Above is a large colored vineyard vines sign, there is also a large cut out of a pink whale (their logo) featured among the clothing
EA Davis has some theatrical effects in the sense that everything looks very much on display at all times. For this reason they also never use circular rounds as the type of customer who comes in to this store is looking to spend time looking at the merchandise and not rush. Similar colors and types of clothing are grouped together to attract the shopper’s eye. For example above the same sweatshirt is featured side by side in various colors with matching hats.
Although there is a lot of merchandise in the store, it does not feel overwhelming and the store is still very easy to navigate through. The flow of the store is very obvious and the space around the clothing displays have plenty of room.
The store makes very good use of wall space, there is not one exterior wall in the store that does not have something hanging on it. Even the wall space of the second floor balcony has pictures and artwork hanging. EA Davis does a very good job of not just hanging the merchandise but switching up the ways in which they are displayed hanging, also with a combination of folded products.
E.A. Davis currently evaluates their profitability on a square foot basis by comparing different lines, designers, and seasons. They also use a sell-through analysis to compare the actual and planned sales. E.A. Davis aims to have a 70% sell through of full retail price merchandise. This is already a fairly sophisticated way to evaluate the profitability of space, however there are other things that should be considered into the profitability such as the gross margin on a per square foot basis, and consideration of the contribution generated by the merchandise.
E.A. Davis currently assigns merchandise to space first by classification (men, women, home goods) then by line. They try to create a cohesive layout where adjacent categories make sense, ie. Not having nighties next to handbags. They should consider allocating space based on maximizing profitable categories, and balance with potentially low-profit categories that bring customers to the store or purchased by platinum customers. They should also think about allocating more space to categories with high inventory turnover. This would result in a better GMROI, return on merchandise investment, and more space for more merchandise means less stock outs.
Visually appealing how customers shop/how retailers would like them to shop achieve strategic and financial objectives
E.A. Davis uses category adjacencies well, the girl’s clothing leads seamlessly into the women’s merchandise with very similar styles. This is not a surprise as the store mainly takes that into consideration when assigning space and arranging the merchandise. However, the demand merchandise of the store (women’s clothing) is just outside the strike zone. The strike zone currently has children’s clothes. This may or may not be a good thing if their target market is mom’s with young children, but considering while I was in the store they offered me an internship working on a project to adjust their target market to younger, college-age women, I would say the strike zone is misallocated. E.A. Davis uses a variety of fixtures such as straight racks, four way racks, and gondolas, as well as several home furniture pieces. This is a strategic move because it makes the store environment more like shopping at home, and also advertises their interior design department. The store’s presentation is primarily idea-oriented, there are frequently complete outfits on display to show how certain merchandise items look combined. They also employ a pseudo-color presentation style where bright, color saturated dresses were grouped together and adjacent to darker, earth tone dresses. In fact, the same dress in two different colors were separated in the store because one was orange and one was brown.
Retail Management Final Project: Store Analysis of EA Davis
STORE EXTERIOR “In general, is the store layout, design and visual merchandisingtechniques used consistent with the exterior of the store and location?”Next to Blue Ginger on Washington St.in downtown WellesleyStyle consistent to location Matches the Wellesley style Lots of prep wear and furnitureExterior does not match store Plain and bare
STORE AMBIANCE Is the store’s ambiance consistent with the merchandise presented and the customer’s expectations? Consistent ambiance Cozy and comfortable Intimate Better shopping environment Merchandise clearly displayed and organized
DESIGN Does the store look like it needs to be redesigned? Do you think it needs a face lift, update, remodel or renovation?A timeless design, correlates to clothing styleFine furnishingMerchandise is the emphasis and designExterior is very plain, however will be hard to modify Not a Freestanding site
LIGHTING Notice the lighting. Does it do a good job in highlighting merchandise, structuring space, capturing a mood, and downplaying unwanted features?Highlighting merchandise Mix of white light and sky lights More natural feelSolid lighting, consistentAll items are well lit and easy for customers to see
FIXTURESAre the fixtures consistent with the merchandise and the overall ambiance of the store? Are they flexible?Most items are on display Uses short straight racks perpendicular to wallMatches what target market would want No unorganized straight racks of random merchandiseVery flexible Similar infrastructure across store Merchandise can be moved
FREE FORM FLOOR PLAN What type of layout does the store use? Is it appropriate for the type of store? Would another type layout be better? Gondolas, shelves, 4 way displays, wall displays, counter Combination of many different floor plans, moves traffic toward the back of the store.
LAYOUT FLEXIBILITYTo what extent is the store’s layout, design, and merchandising techniques flexible? Very flexible Mom and Pop store, no restrictions from “Corporate” No Plain-o-grams Free-form layout increases flexibility Can move sections throughout store
METHODS FOR ORGANIZINGWhat method(s) has the retailer used for organizing merchandise? Is this the "best" way? Suggest appropriate changes.• Organized by department, categories, and designers
DEPARTMENT LOCATIONSAre departments in the most appropriate locations? Would you move any departments?Strike ZoneMen’s and Interior Design
STORE SIGNAGE Evaluate the store’s signage. Do they do an effective job in selling merchandise?Category Signage– particular department or sector of store
FEATURE AREASHas the retailer taken advantage of the opportunity to sellmerchandise in feature areas?Freestanding displays- newest, most exciting merchandise
THEATRICAL EFFECTSHas the retailer used anytheatrical effects to help sellmerchandise?Everything is very much “ondisplay” – similar colors andpatterns are grouped togetherVery attractive to the eye
EMPTY SPACEEvaluate the retailer’s use of empty space.Good use of negative space, maximum amount of merchandise beingdisplayed without being too overwhelming
WALL SPACEDoes the store make creative use of wall space?Highly utilized, every exterior wall is used for hanging displays
PROFITABILITY OF SPACE Ask the store manager how the profitability of space is evaluated; for example, profit per square foot. Is there a better approach?Square foot of comparative salesBy line/designer and seasonSell through percent- 70% of full price
MERCHANDISE ASSIGNED SPACE Ask the store manager how space is assigned to merchandise. Critically evaluate the answer.ClassificationLine/ Designer
PLAN-O-GRAMS Ask the store manager if plan-o-grams are used. If so, try to determine what factors are considered when putting together a plan-o-gram.No
TECHNIQUES FOR SPACE PRODUCTIVITY Has the retailer employed any techniques for achieving greater space productivity such as using the "cube," down-sizing gondolas and racks, and minimizing non-selling space?Category AdjacenciesDemand MerchandiseFixturesPresentation