Since time began, vendors have sought to differentiate themselves from the competition – to set themselves apart and stand out from the crowd.

This has never been more important than today, with the vast amount of retail choice on the high street. Market stalls perhaps optimise the need for differentiation better than anybody else, combining the fantastic hand-drawn tickets advertising that day’s special offer or best deal, with the owner of the stall repeatedly shouting out ‘2 PAAAAND a PAAAAND of Nana’ – which is £2 for 1lb in weight of bananas, for those that didn’t know.

What these great traders are attempting to do is to attract people to their stall and communicate the offers and deals they might enjoy – and this is precisely the same thing that John Lewis, Argos, Marks & Spencers or any other high street retailer attempts to do.

The best retail environments create theatre. All the senses of any potential buyer are often stimulated. It could be the smell of freshly baked bread, the lavender and perfume that L’Occitane retail stores brilliantly deploy, or Lush, who famously always keep their front door open so the smell of soap and bath bombs circulates around the passing shoppers. Music and sounds are played to place people ‘in the mood’ to shop and, of course, the visual stimulation through dressed windows, digital signage, displays and posters are absolutely vital in getting that much coveted conversion when the browser becomes a buyer and inputs the 16 digits from their plastic card.

It’s all about theatre, it’s about stimulation, calmness, excitement, drama, tranquility – whatever it is you are trying to create as an environment will impact how the shoppers behave. Selfridges – a benchmark in retail and in-store theatre and stimulation – is about to launch a tribute to the life of Shakespeare with an actual in-store theatre featuring music, arts and drama events. It is no surprise that Selfridges has commissioned this and there is no doubt it will drive footfall, engagement and ultimately increase sales –

Whilst most retailers may stop short of installing life-size theatres, almost all understand the need for great information, communication and display. Our aim at Assigns is to supply graphic display systems that are effective in converting shoppers into buyers, ensuring they’re engaged (in-store) and that the communication is prominent while in-keeping with any retail environment and design.

It really doesn’t matter if the graphic display is a standard requirement, an entirely bespoke project or an adaptation and modification of an existing graphic display system – there’s no drama, only (retail and graphic display) theatre!