Retail Details with Carole Vallières: Great Design Sells

In the first of a new series of interviews called Retail Details, HGO publisher and editor Michael Knell chats with Carole Vallières, director of commercial design for Mega Group about the role interior design plays in the success of an independent furniture, mattress and appliance store.

The interview is a follow-up to a story published in the Winter 2022 edition of the HGO Merchandiser (click here to read) where Carole expanded on her role as the creative mind behind the design concept for the many of the group’s  well-regarded store interiors, including  Wiens Furniture & Appliances, a BrandSource authorized retailer in Niverville, Manitoba and  Ameublement BrandSource Sévigny in Thetford Mines, Quebec.

“My role is to make the product stand out,” Carole said during the interview, which was held during the group’s member conference this past October. “It’s about making sure that the product is well presented.”

Vallières is also quick to point out there are real and distinct differences between interior design, interior decorating and merchandising.

Interior design is about the cube – the space the store inhabits. “I take care of that space and make sure the traffic flow will be easy throughout the entire space,” she says, “making sure all of what you want to show in your store is accessible visually. I create the maze for the consumer to go through. The interior decorating will then dress that space.”

The interior design will make sure the retailer uses his available space to its fullest potential while the decorator selects the colour palette those entering the space – be they employees or customers – will see.

“The merchandising will then decide the selling strategy,” Vallières continues, adding the designer creates a grid “and the merchandisers indicate what SKUs (stock keeping units) are going to be placed within the grid.”

This is the first of three episodes of Retail Detail to be presented over the coming weeks. Future sessions will focus on two other important elements of modern furniture, mattress and appliance retailing – digital marketing and sales training.

Click here to view Retail Details with Carole Vallières.

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