How does color play into the current consumer consciousness for home furnishings?
There is an inherent human tendency to be drawn to color. Intrinsic to our visual experience, color is part of the stimulation we feel and is a vital factor in consumer purchasing decisions. We would urge retailers today to address the strategic use of color in their product selections and believe it is important that they be mindful of creating visual excitement in their stores. Historically when the economy is uncertain there is a concern about the longevity of a color and some consumers have a tendency to play it safe with neutral shades. This is especially the case with products that are higher priced or take up a larger amount of real estate such as furniture and floor or window coverings. However, introducing some unexpected splashes of color or unique color combinations to play against these more neutral hues will attract and engage the eye, excite the imagination and ultimately tempt the consumer or client. Color is, in fact, the catalyst that can spark the sale. In an environment where consumers are cutting back on their spending, it would be a mistake to overlook this fundamental element of human psychology.
How is the current retail climate influencing color management practices?
Color plays such a critical role in a product’s success, and is one of the most challenging and time-consuming steps in the design and manufacturing process. With production increasingly taking place in geographies remote from the site of initial product design, it is essential that color choices be communicated accurately in order to ensure on-time product delivery. Managing the timeline of the color development process more efficiently allows for greater flexibility so that color decisions can be made later in the design or production process. In this current retail climate, it has become much more essential for companies to shorten their color development timelines by working with color specification products that meet their needs for an enhanced color management solution and provide quick and easy access to colors and digital data for fast turnaround, cost efficiencies, quality control and on-time production.
What are you doing to drive business?
Designers continually discover new color inspiration and look to Pantone to help them reliably reproduce these colors in their designs. To ensure that our clients stay on the cutting edge of color, we recently introduced a collection of 21 brilliant neon shades in a nylon format and added 175 directional new tones to our current PANTONE FASHION + HOME color palette. Reflecting today’s global color influences across fashion, home furnishings and interior design, these strategically selected new hues focus on areas of significant market importance and color trend movement. Our new color range includes a broad assortment of nuanced neutrals and mid-tones, a wide variety of vibrant brights across all color families, many complex hues displaying greater color depth and intensity, more subdued and smoky variations of popular colors, and rich, earthy and burnt mineral tones.
What should retailers be doing to drive business?
Consumers need a compelling reason to buy. To drive business you need to create excitement by offering something different from the competition, something that is both special and unique and ties into the customer’s emotional reactions. A product or shopping environment must touch and stimulate their senses, and color plays a significant role in this effort. Whether infusing a basic product with new colors or introducing a novel collection that includes a combination of different colors and print patterns, color quickly sets the mood and easily creates a fresh current look on the selling floor.