This week I've been working on the cover story for March's FUNWORLD, which will feature the new Las Vegas Springs Preserve. For the story I interviewed the preserve's general curator, Jay Nichols, who has been in the museum biz for 25 years.
During our interview, I was surprised to learn Nichols was part of the team that helped Apple CEO Steve Jobs launch the first wave of the now uber-popular Apple stores. It makes sense, because the products are put on display in a way reminiscent of a museum: they're well lit, unencumbered by surrounding clutter, and sometimes even have their own pedestals.
“That was Mr. Jobs’ intent, that those stores would be different and a cut above,” Nichols said of the store’s uniqueness. “Literally everything in the store is custom-made—there’s nothing off the shelf—right down to the little wire racks. It’s one of the most expensive retail spaces there is.”
The space is a natural extension of the clean, artistic designs of Apple products, which seem to drip with cool; the store has thus become a popular hangout spot at your typical mall.
Granted, the average retail space in our industry doesn't have the budget to be as unusual and outside the box as Apple, but the idea of treating merchandise like displays in a museum struck me as something others could apply to their own operations with a bit of creativity. It seems to me the overriding idea is if you treat your products like they're something worthwhile and special, the store will cultivate that personality and naturally cause visitors to see the merchandise in a new light, too. Obviously you have to have quality items to back that up, but anything above and beyond can't hurt, right?
I'll throw it out to the readers: If anyone has any other retail-display ideas along these lines or has tried something similar, please share them in the comments. And be sure to look for more of my interview with Nichols in the March issue of FUNWORLD.