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The point-of-sale has been the subject of redefinition for many years: not only as the last link in the sales distribution chain but also as a way of promoting both brand and product with great persuasion possibilities. A product, a bargain offer, must not only be proposed but presented with an appeal that stimulates their purchase. Moreover: the point-of-sale must welcome, guide and entertain consumers, encouraging them to return. This is why visual merchandising techniques are becoming more popular in both retail and mass distribution, with an increasingly varied customer base prepared to be seduced by new, creative messages.

The COIN group was one of the first points-of-sale to put itself forward as a fashion reference point, constantly sending messages in which visual merchandising played a leading role. This is proved by the recent winning of the “Visual Award ’98”, a company award sponsored by the Italian Window Dressing Federation and presented by Dr. Antonio Mela, head of the Coin commercial area.

This year the experience accumulated over the years was finalised by the Coin ZIPCODE project, a department in Coin shops mainly aimed at young people and offering “trendy” clothes. Coin Zipcode, in fact, is full of famous fashion brands – Levis, Dockers, Energie, Miss Sixty, Gas, Diesel, Melting Pot – and leisure/sportswear brands – Champion, Nike, Adidas, Everlast – as well as the Coin group collections including the “Zipcode Freedom & Music Wear” private label.

The Zipcode space, in its turn, is divided into four sales areas – dance, pop, rock and hiphop – according to the type of music broadcast in the area. Giorgia Voltan, head of the “Zipcode” project, says: “We have created all the conditions that young people like: music, colours, shelving and floor. We then tried to give each of the four areas a precise identity, spreading them with panels, ‘road signs’ and various articles suited to the musical subject. The young people come here to buy youthful clothes and the environment must suit their way of living and feeling”.

Lighting plays an important role in this context: 4 Clay Paky V.I.P. 300’s identify the “music” areas, typifying each with a different graphic design, colour and movement. The effect is produced by diachronic gobos specially prepared for Coin in four colours and projecting the words “dance”, “pop”, “rock” and “hiphop” onto the walls. Thanks to the use of rotating mirrors, 3D quadruple magnification prisms, flow effects and wind the texts are made to “walk along” the walls, floor and ceiling. They thus “enfold” the customers, clearly defining the boundaries of the different areas and, at the same time, contributing to the interplay of visual images which is the basis of the Coin Zipcode project.

Display Line lighting products, which include the V.I.P. 300, are used in the same way by other important points-of-sale: Benetton Playlife, Levis Store, Longoni Sport and Telecom of Spoleto all have V.I.P. units showing the brands sold by the companies or giving essential information to customers in lights. The V.I.P. 300 has two electrified guides to which up to three accessories among those available in the catalogue can be easily fitted: fixed and rotating mirrors, prisms and effects of all types offer unlimited light interplay possibilities, creating the messages and visual stimulation that the Coin group considers perfect for its environments.

The first COIN ZIPCODE centre was set up inside the Coin store in Piazza 5 Giornate in Milan. This was not a random choice: the Coin store in Milan is one of the largest in Italy, on 9 floors each covering about 600 m2 per floor. With its environment and infrastructure totally renovated in 1998, it currently promotes initiatives or highly interesting events every 2-3 months. The last two were “Being and Well-being”, on the subject of health and ecological cosmetics, with consultancy sales, and “New Age”, with a relative conference on the subject. The store’s top floor contains the Globe Restaurant, owned by Coin and also open in the evenings (when private parties and special events are often organised). It can be accessed directly by the two glass lifts used to reach the sales floors by day.

The Zipcode project, which covers the whole of the 6th floor, is a truly “with-it” place. Dr. Ms. Segalini, manager of this area, says: “Coin Zipcode is currently a very important part of Coin’s activities to which we have given a well-defined identity while still staying within our traditional communication policy. We have worked very hard to establish these image and customer acceptance objectives, providing the shop with numerous attractions over and above mere sales”.

“There are numerous reasons why management likes the Display Line” Dr. Ms. Segalini continues “since it is a very elegant line of products which fits in perfectly with any environment. It is neither bulky nor unpleasant and its small size means that it can be put anywhere. It is a highly efficient tool in increasing visual merchandising everywhere, able to provide both clear and creative visual information”.

The Coin group has points-of-sale throughout Italy and many of them will contain a Zipcode area just like Milan’s Piazza 5 Giornate model: the same “music” areas, the same interior design and the same video information systems. “Consolidated tradition in the Italian mass distribution system, coherence and innovation in its advertising policy and obtaining the “Visual Award ’98” gave the Zipcode project a success for a brand that redeveloped without losing its historical features” Dr. Mele concludes “By using such efficient techniques Coin represents a valid reference point for the present and future of visual merchandising”.