Walking around any retail store, the average shopper is probably unaware of just how much preparation went into every detail they see. From the shelf that holds a pair of Nikes, to a window prop showcasing the latest Calphalon cookware, right down to the business card holder next to the cash register, every part of the in-store display has been meticulously planned, sourced and executed. Ali Newton, a millennial and strategy and marketing manager for The Display Centre, can certainly appreciate this undertaking.
The Display Centre has been supplying display equipment to businesses like Disney, Nike and Vivienne Westwood for more than 25 years. “Retail moves fast,” said Ali. “We supply over 4,000 products, but there are always new and exciting items to add. As part of our business strategy we are constantly innovating and finding extra ways to customize products to help retailers convey their brand.”
Ali’s role involves all aspects of marketing, from writing helpful blogs on merchandising, to creating and maintaining The Display Centre website, social media and managing their team’s trade show presence. With so many products to move for retail giants and boutique shops alike, time is of the essence for Ali, who is often running multiple products and campaigns at once.
“Collaboration is of the utmost importance in this role. My first few retail jobs at Madhouse and Blockbuster, before and during college, taught me the importance of having a close-knit team. Even now, although I’m the sole marketer at The Display Centre, cross-discipline teamwork is key to keeping important projects moving on schedule.”
So how does Ali manage all the different moving parts? “I have a few different tools in my toolbox. Some of them are more old school while some are a bit more tech heavy.” Because her role can vary so much, she uses a multitude of different tools, including Moz for web analytics, Piktochart for creating graphics and Yoast to help with SEO.
One of the most rewarding aspects of her job is helping retailers find the items they need to help sell more. Ali is a contributor to The Display Centre blog, where she posts helpful articles on merchandising and retail. “It’s always a really great feeling when someone says that they implemented something from a blog post for their latest display. It can be quite exciting writing the articles – sometimes I know it’s going to be really useful and I can’t wait to have it finished.”
The content that Ali creates to help retailers comes from a mix of experience, research and passion for the industry. “I read a lot of books; Visual Merchandising by Tony Morgan and No Fail Retail by Regina Blessa are my favorites. I also keep up to date with what’s happening in the field through various blogs. Pinterest is my favorite place to look for inspiration,” said Ali. “My psychology background also comes into play, having read papers about attention and how it is split. This comes in handy when writing about capturing attention in window displays, as I can draw in some really interesting research.”
Even with an array of tools and resources at her disposal, it’s still the team environment that Ali emphasizes as being critical for success as a retail supplier. “We have a fantastic team here and all of us are dedicated to helping retailers get exactly what they need for their shop. We pull together as a team and frequently achieve fantastic results that has our customers really excited too – particularly when we create bespoke shop fittings for them. There is a real sense of achievement when one of these retailers gives us their feedback and we can see that they are as excited as we are (if not more!).”
Looking to help foster teamwork at your company? Learn how Adidas brought together a world-class community to collaborate and increase sales.