Coxsackie Antique Center

Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow

The Fine Art of Booth Arrangement

One important element of selling is booth arrangement. An inviting booth attracts customers who linger and enjoy your merchandise. But achieving that look is no simple matter of applying a few rules of thumb. Nonetheless, we see a wide variety of booth layouts at the center and begin to get a sense of what works and what doesn't. So we shall now offer some simple (maybe even simplistic) principles for you to contemplate the next time you come to visit your merchandise. Let us take a tour of the Center.

The first booth we encounter is The Tunnel. This is a booth considerably longer than it is wide. The dealer lines it with tall, dark, but not necessarily handsome furniture along both sides. Smalls are piled on the floor or on top of the pieces, leaving little access to the booth. Customers come up to the entrance and peer down the tunnel, seeing most of the merchandise from a sharp oblique angle or from a distance. That minimizes the attractiveness of the items in the booth and decreases the likelihood that customers will enter and linger.

The second booth we encounter is The Dungeon. This booth is also lined on all sides with tall pieces of furniture that cut off the light from the windows and ceiling leaving the interesting smalls in the booth cloaked in shadow. The dim light fails to highlight the colorfulness of the merchandise leaving an impression of drab mediocrity. Customers look into the booth but see nothing bright and cheerful to draw them in.

The third booth is The Warren. This booth has no organizational principle. Merchandise is placed in the booth at random. Then more merchandise is place around and on top of it. Then more merchandise is place on top of and in front of that. Then a large chair is placed in the middle of the entrance to the booth and a bunch of widgets are scattered around the base of the chair. Customers look into the booth, see a really interesting whiz bang on the back wall, but can't figure out how to get over to the wall to look at it, so they shrug and walk on to the next booth.

From the warren, we progress to Brown Gargantua. This is a booth filled exclusively with large pieces of furniture. It looks as barren as a desert. There are many fine pieces of furniture lined up in neat rows, but there are no smalls on the furniture to make it look homey and friendly. Everything is brown. There is no color to attract people into the booth. Even if a customer is looking for a piece of furniture that is in the booth, they don't see it because it all blurs together.

We then progress to the Land of Lilliput. This booth is the opposite of the gargantuans. Here there are nothing but smalls. There are pieces of furniture, but they are all marked "for display only" and have no price. The average price of items in the booth is $1.50. Customers stop and linger, carry out large handfuls of items, and owe $7. This booth sells a lot of merchandise but still only breaks even.

The final booth is The Garden of Earthly Delights. This is a booth that sells. The items are arranged in a "U" shape so you can enter, walk through it and come out the other side without having to back out the way you came in. There are large pieces of furniture, but they aren't lined up in a row like a line of Pickets. None are set out at the front edge of the booth where they can block sight lines into the booth. They are set back along the wall where they can be seen completely as customers approach the booth. Shorter pieces are set out in the middle of the booth. The closest window is in the next booth so the tall furniture is placed along the other edge of the booth. In one corner where the light is weak, there is a floor lamp, and on the table in the center of the booth, there is a table lamp. The smalls are arranged on what-not shelves and on furniture and tables. Brightly colored items are scattered about the booth to draw the eye to obscure corners. It one corner is a cluster of yellow items to draw the eye of those who like yellow. It won't appeal to everyone, but those who like yellow will notice. The booth has a wide variety of items, from glass to linens to ceramics to paper to kitchen items. There are no display items in the booth - every item is for sale. The booth is crammed full of merchandise (more, even, than in the "warren") but customers still come in because the booth is bright and colorful and accessible.

There is one complicating factor. Please be conscious of the effect of your arrangements on adjoining booths. When you're arranging your booths, consider sight lines for your items and adjacent items. Don't block the visibility of the next booth.

We will be glad to assist you in booth arrangement if you want us to. Our staff has many years experience selling in this environment. They have "an eye" for presentation that you should take advantage of.

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