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Vandana Verdia

Present Designation:
Marketing Manager US Channel Marketing & WW Retail Services

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, USA


ThinkTank: What led you to pursue a career in Visual Merchandising?

Vandana: I was a design graduate of Interior Design & Fashion Design. This seemed to be the perfect blend of both and retail was a sunrise industry in India back then.

ThinkTank: What are the primary responsibilities of your job?

Vandana: Primary focus is on plannogramming, store set-up, vendor management, communication project status/needs, cross-group collaboration between different divisions at MS to secure product/content for specific needs. Retail facility and cross group collaboration.


ThinkTank: What is the typical process you go through for implementing a display?

Vandana: Being in the software business, it predominantly needs to highlight all MS products.

ThinkTank: Where does India stand today when one talks of visual merchandising?

Vandana: Like I mentioned, retail is a sunrise industry in India and with India's rising economy, retail & visual merchandising has achieved a lot, but has lots more to achieve on international standards.

ThinkTank: Where do you see the future of visual merchandising going?

Vandana: I do see India emerging as a leader in retail & visual merchandising likewise.

ThinkTank: Could you name me a few stores that have really stood out in terms of clever visual merchandising in India or even abroad?

Vandana: India, not too many. Abroad, Nordstrom, Mango amongst a few.


A chance to get noticed in the industry. A chance to show your creativity. A chance to participate and win display awards every month. (submit your entries at [email protected])
Category: Party bags
Courtesy Bob and Susan Negen | WhizBang! Training, Phone: 616-842-4237, Fax: 616-842-2977,
To sign up for your FREE Tip-Of-The-Week, Visit:

Tip #123 Give Your Holiday Legs

One of the keys to running a profitable retail or service business is to minimize losses during your slow months.

Hey, any knucklehead can make money during the holiday season, but it's your profits (or losses) for the entire year that shows the real picture of your performance.

So, while you want to “make hay” during the holiday season, you also want to give your holiday shoppers reasons to come back during the long, hot, slow days of summers.


These “bounce back” certificates are an incredibly easy way to give your holiday season “legs” and to get your holiday shoppers back into your store during the slow months.

You can give away one certificate that's good for the entire holiday period. Or you might consider giving three away, one each for the months of May, June and July.

But make sure that every single customer gets a gift certificate handed to them (not stuffed in their bags) and then told, “Hope to see you again this summer”. Personalizing the gesture will dramatically increase its effectiveness.

If you want to create gift certificates quickly and easily try Microsoft Publisher. This program has six gift certificate templates you can customize for your business using your company colors, logo, and personalized massage. Just print them up on your office printer and you're ready to go.


Learn Visual Merchandising in 5 months


IRDC Heads to Seattle
Save the Date: Sept. 3-5, 2008

The eighth annual International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) is scheduled for Sept. 3-5, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle.

Stay in touch with conference happenings by signing up for the IRDC e-newsbrief at
There are always the bizarre, attention-grabbing exaggerations, including absurd fashion outfits. In Paris, John Galliano shows life vests and helmets as survival gear for today's urban shoppers.

NeoCon World's Trade Fair
Save the Date: June 9-11, 2008

NeoCon, the largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors in North America, returns to the Merchandise Mart June 9-11, marking its 40th year.

Encompassing 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space and 10 floors, NeoCon boasts more than 1200 exhibitors showcasing thousands of cutting-edge product introductions. Over 130 CEU, LU and CFM/MFP accredited seminars, keynotes, luncheon programs and panel discussions will take place, as well as exciting networking events to celebrate the design industry. More than 50,000 industry professionals are expected to attend. Visit to pre-register and save time and money.


GlobalShop 2009
Save the Date: Marc. 23-25, 2009
Sands Expo, Las Vegas

GlobalShop 2008 in Chicago was a success!
GlobalShop - where retailers and brand managers go to find retail design, in-store marketing, and technology solutions.

Be a part of GlobalShop 2009 in Las Vegas - the city that plays hard also knows retail! With some of the newest and most dynamic retail locations, Las Vegas is certainly the ultimate place to experience consumer-oriented retail.




ISBN #: 0-944094-58-9, Price: $45
by the Editors of Signs of the Times

Now more than 50 pages longer than the previous few editions, Sign Gallery 6 presents the latest Signs of the Times competition winners, honorable mentions, and others in this expanded edition of electric and commercial signs. Presented in nearly 400 full-color photos, here are uniquely designed and fabricated signs of all kinds: electric signs and channel letters, neon signage and graphics, digital displays, painted and vinyl signs, carved, routed and gilded dimensional signs, digitally produced banners, large-scale wall murals, architectural sign systems, vehicle graphics, entry monuments and more. Sign Gallery 6 has the photos and the commentary that will help anyone design and fabricate more eye-catching and effective signs, the kinds of signs in demand every day, "the world's best signs.”


ISBN #: 0-944094-59-7,
Price: 439.95
By the Editors of VMSD

A brand new edition of this popular series, with 300 full-color photos of 41 projects from the Institute of Store Planners ISP/VMSD Store Design competition. Included are new and renovated specialty shops, department stores, kiosks, restaurants, service retailers, supermarkets, mass merchants, and showrooms. The types of stores and merchandise include intimates, shoes and electronics, airport newsstands, college campus stores, and auto dealerships. Chosen by top retail professionals for excellence in store planning, visual merchandising, innovation, graphics and lighting, the projects in Stores & Retail Spaces 9 will provide the ideas and inspiration to help anyone plan and design a successful retail setting.


ISBN #: 1-58471-124-8
by Martin M. Pegler

Good display attracts attention, excites the shopper, reinforces the store's image, and makes the shopper come in and spend money! For anyone who is creating displays for a street window, a storefront inside a mall, or a strategic location within a store, this new edition of Store Windows 16 is filled with hundreds of good ideas to inspire and ignite great design that doesn't have to cost a lot of money. The best displays from around the world have been chosen fror this new edition, based on creativity, idea value, and cost-effectiveness. Filled with more than 400 photos, Store Windows 16 is the idea book for visual merchandisers everywhere.



Leather Mannequins
Siegel & Stockman

Siegel & Stockman, manufacturer of the handmade Haute Couture Form, has introduced leather headless mannequins and an extensive line of forms to its collection.



"Sky" Mirrors
Baltimore Display Industries

“Sky” mirrors swing from the ceiling and retract. Available in several shapes, sizes and finishes. Baltimore Display Industries




By Glenda Shasho Jones

A cataloger's job of presenting merchandise is second in importance only to selecting the right merchandise. Readers decide in seconds whether they're going to continue to read about a product or move on. The amount of information readers comprehend “at a glance” isn't limited by their brains; it's only limited by what we put in front of them. Even those interested in a product will skip over it if they don't understand it or they're not “sold” on it.

What and how you show product in your catalog makes all the difference in the world. The following list contains the most frequent mistakes made by catalog merchandisers.

Mistake No. 1: Mediocre or Poor Photography

There's no excuse for low quality photography. Your shots should be technically excellent, whether still life or on-figure. This quality affects everything down the line, including color quality and print photo reproduction.

Lighting is a critical factor in making your photos top quality. It can romance a shot, but it can also kill a sale if it's so dramatic that you can't see the product. Lighting for dramatic colors (e.g. black and white being a common challenge) is an art.

Aesthetics make a big difference too. Merchandise can come to life when shot at the right angle.

Mistake No. 2: Busy Backgrounds and Surfaces

Sometimes, in the effort to warm up a shot, create a sense of place or simply add drama, creative talent on the set (art directors, photographers and stylists) set up shots that backfire. Why? Complicated backgrounds actually take readers' eyes away from the product, the very place you want readers to focus. In some cases, art directors are so excited about a great location (or simply want to justify the expense of traveling) that they make the background as important as the merchandise, when they should be directing the photographer to blur out a background.

Still life shots quickly can get complicated with busy backgrounds and too many props. When busy backgrounds are used too often, they create spreads where eyeflow goes out the window and readers are encouraged to just turn the page or abandon the book, since their eyes don't know where to go.

Backgrounds can be very important. But when in doubt, leave it out: Simple is almost always better.

Mistake No. 3: Disorganized Presentations

Customers respond best when you give them an organized presentation. This doesn't mean that every spread has to be in a grid format, but it does mean that there should be a flow to pages that naturally takes readers' eyes to features, sub-features and less important products, in that order. Copy should be secondary and easy to match to products. Elements that pull the eyes away from the product can also be a problem, whether they be type treatment, color, icons or other less important elements.

Mistake No. 4: Weak Selling Efforts

Catalogers must use a variety of elements to be their salespeople. Work hard to show customers why they should be buying something. This is especially true for complicated, performance-oriented or expensive products.

Frontgate, for example, realizes that an expensive barbecue grill needs a lot of romancing, in terms of call-outs, bullets and microscopic shots. Staples does the same hard work when selling office chairs. And while fashion apparel is sometimes “just a great shot,” many apparel catalogers have learned that they need to show inset and magnified shots of product details to enhance sales.

Mistake No. 5: Lack of Product Detail

Ask yourself the following:
Do you think your customer has no need to see the length of the hem in a photograph?
Does your art director argue that “pulling back” ruins the shot?
Do you try to sell appliances without showing all the features?
Do you show luggage closed because showing it open would be “ugly”?
Does the copywriter try to comfort you by showing you that the information is in the copyblock?

If you think you can get away with avoiding these and other details, think again. People don't read. They have to see it in the art. Use copy for reinforcement and supporting additional information, but not as a replacement for product detail that's integral to a purchase.

Customers take in a huge amount of information in a split second, and if there's a piece of critical data missing such as a skirt or pant length, important waist detail or fabric close-up, you're upping the odds that customers will turn past a garment in which they otherwise might have been interested. Even if customers aren't conscious of why they're not stopping, the decision to stop or continue on is made in seconds.




Signage’s Collection is a collection of 344 Photos by Indrani Soemardjan, available on FLICKR.COM.


This collection started from collecting peculiar prohibition signage’s in Singapore and slowly expands to other unique and weird regulatory signage’s from around the world (so far it includes Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, and Malaysia). Although this collection is still mainly regulatory signage’s, it also has other funny signages.



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