blog: news + information from “the home authority”

Knowing Innovation: Martin M. Pegler, Retail Design International, Professor, Author

Monday, February 11th, 2013

By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator

At the International Home + Housewares Show in March, the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center will present 21 educational programs, every hour beginning Saturday morning and ending Tuesday afternoon. At the Theater, located in Room E350 (near the entry to the Level 3 Lobby), experts in new product development and launch will discuss critical and timely topics in our industry. Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to the presenters with a series of blog stories. Be sure to mark your calendars for these exciting programs!  Check regularly for updates on the schedule of Show events.

All You Wanted to Know About Visual Merchandising But Were Afraid It Would Cost Too Much
Monday, March 4 2:30 – 3:20 pm

Martin Pegler

Martin M. Pegler

With more than 50 years in the field, hundreds of articles and 80+ books to his name, Martin M. Pegler is the leading voice in the field of visual merchandising and store design. His subjects range from retail design to café and restaurant design, supermarket, and specialty food stores to shop exteriors and streetscapes. He is a contributing editor for Retail Asia, a Singapore-based business magazine and POP Today, published in India. At the academic level, his textbook—Visual Merchandising and Display—now in its 5th edition—is the most widely used textbook on that subject in colleges around the world. Until recently a full professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, he is also a popular lecturer in the U.S., in Latin America, Europe and the emerging Pacific Rim countries.   His seminars are well attended by young people anxious to learn more about visual merchandising, display and store design trends.

Martin has been honored by PAVE (Professionals for the Advancement of Visual Education) with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions to the field. For the last several years he has been on PAVE’s board of directors and served on their Education Committee. In 2001, he was selected for the New York state’s Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching.  He is an inductee in the Visual Merchandising / Display Industries’ Hall of Fame and an elected member of the Society of Visual Merchandisers, of which he has served as secretary / treasurer for the last 10 years.  In 1995, Martin was made an honoree member of KODEA, the Korean Display Society, and he has served as advisor to them.  He received a Lifetime Achievement award from the International Housewares Association, which also named its annual top award for display/ visual merchandising for him. He received a honorary gia award for Lifetime Achievement from the International Housewares Association, which also named its annual gia award for display/visual merchandising for him.

Martin, what inspires your passion in your work?

Because there is ALWAYS something new developing—and I enjoy finding it and interpreting it.

Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?

I was asked! Also I’m like the proverbial “fire horse” who has been forced into retirement—I still respond to the “fire alarm” and feel young, frisky and ready to go. I feel that I have fresh answers to old questions and enjoy showcasing the year’s new gia-winning stores.

Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.

Retailers are always looking at how much something will cost them—especially if it’s something that they can’t sell—and neglecting things that will help them sell. Good visual merchandising does NOT cost money—it takes time, effort and reasonable intelligence. Of course—talent and creativity help but are not necessary for BASIC, every day, sensible visual merchandising. I hope to show the audience just how simple, logical useful—and profitable to both the shoppers and the retailer it can be.

gia retail 2c 2726 copyGood visual merchandising is not something that changes with the winds of fashion.  It is not complicated and not an added expense.  Actually, good visual merchandising can save the retailer money in time and effort. Trends, as in “trendy” or “new,” have little to do with good visual merchandising.

Good visual merchandising is presentation of the product, at its best, in the store — easy to locate, easy to see, easy to select, coordinate or combine with other products, and eventually, easy to purchase.  It means products arranged by category or use, by color and/or pattern, by price, or any logical combination of the above.  Visual merchandising is logical, orderly and takes confusion out of shopping.  It creates a sense of harmony and color-control in the store.  It simplifies the on-the-floor stock inventory.  By all means add any new “trends”, techniques, devices or gimmicks, if you can see them helping to clarify or enhance the visual merchandising.  It is a “science” that is combined with an “art”.  The “art” is display.

Display is that something extra that helps make the visual merchandising unique, special and more effective.  It is what makes your pots and pans, cutlery and candles, dishes and glassware yours and yours alone. It is the “come-on,” the lure.  The attraction, the theatrics that lead and keep the shopper focused on the product presentation.  It is what leads the shopper into your store and to the product — it explains as it entertains.

You’ve presented in the Innovation Theater many times. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?

Saying hello to people who have never heard me before and surprising people who are coming back for another dose of Pegler on visual merchandising and display.

How does the Innovation Theater help you spread your message?

I hope that I will have an audience of retailers who already know the value of what they bring to the retail scene. Also, I always enjoy the opportunity to illustrate good visual merchandising, accented by displays from past and current gia (Global Innovation Award) winning stores. This presentation will be the first showing of this year’s top five gia retailers, the gia 2012-2013 global honorees.

What kind of impact can the speakers of the Innovation Theater have at the Show?

That depends upon the speaker—and how well he or she communicates the message.

What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals face in the housewares market?

Keeping fresh—new and of the moment but still keeping the values of the past that have been successful.

For retailers, “trends” — the changing interests, the new fashion colors, new designers, new looks — do matter in product presentation.  They make the products meaningful and underscore their newness.  The only real mistake a retailer can make in following “trends” is to pick the wrong ones to play up for his clientele and his products.  Always remember to tie in with your customers — their interests and community — and with the products you are presenting.

What is the best advice you could give someone trying to get into your area of expertise?

Go ahead and DO IT!! Make things happen!! Shake up the old trees and let new fruit fall out.

Thank you, Martin. Your passion is infectious! We know that you always pack the house with an enthusiastic audience of your fans. The retail world looks forward to hearing the voice of legendary “fire horse” every year! We await your program at the Innovation Theater on Monday March 4 at 2:30 p.m.

For further questions, contact Martin directly at

Retail Design International

Leave a Reply:

five + 4 =

Register Show Badges:

Attendees | Exhibitors | News Media

Reserve Discounted:

Hotel Rooms | Airfare