The stores tell their story at Milan Home

The stores tell their story at Milan Home

Milano Home continues its tour, giving the points of sale their say. Ideas and considerations, approvals, suggestions and opinions emerge. These outline, among other things, the modern vision of the role of the store and of those who work in it, the latter increasingly taking on the role of a consultant always ready to serve the customer. The store is seen not only as a place in which to offer an overview of the offer, but also as a space where a warm welcome and positive interactions with customers can generate a fruitful relationship for both parties.


The digital sphere can play an important part in helping the store plant roots in the territory; if used well, the digital shop window projects the image of the store beyond its borders, arousing the customer's curiosity about interacting live with the merchant and perhaps finalising the purchase.


As for the products, the most sought-after ones are those that are sustainable, innovative, original and handcrafted. Items that must be able to meet the expectations of an increasingly informed and demanding customer. A customer who goes to the store not only to see and touch the object he wants to buy but also to be involved in that emotional journey that is at the basis of every sales process.






Quadrifoglio: “The human component is invaluable”


“Lo store attualmente rappresenta più che mai una ‘vetrina’ indispensabile per le aziende, per pubblicizzare e far emergere i brand contestualizzati in un corner ad hoc dove il cliente prova l’emozione di toccare, confrontare ed immaginare l’oggetto trasportandolo poi nel suo ambiente, incuriosendolo e portandolo a desiderare quel prodotto” dichiara Emanuela Capella, titolare insieme alle sorelle Simona e Monica di Quadrifoglio Liste Nozze, negozio fondato a Chivasso nel 1988 “dall’intraprendenza dei miei genitori, Maria e Giovanni, che hanno progettato uno store da sempre innovativo e proiettato al design ed alla qualità”.


"Now more than ever, the store is an indispensable 'showcase' for companies, in which they can publicise and spotlight their brands, by contextualising them in a specially designed corner. Here, the customer experiences the emotion of touching, comparing and imagining the object, transporting it into its own environment, intriguing the customer and making them desire the product" says Emanuela Capella, owner together with her sisters Simona and Monica of Quadrifoglio Liste Nozze, opened in Chivasso in 1988 "by my parents, Maria and Giovanni, who designed a store that has always been innovative and projected towards design and quality".



What is special about the Quadrifoglio store?


"The added value of our store lies in packaging that is always varied because the thrill of a beautiful gift package is beyond compare. In addition, our store aims to present an elegant but at the same time welcoming and atmospheric layout. The colours we have favoured for the display modules are white, neutral and always up-to-date, combined in some areas with iron, which gives a technical and avant-garde feel. The lighting design, a key element for good product performance, has been very carefully thought-out. Our sensations pass through light, so the quality of the light in a store conditions the customer's emotional approach to the product on display.


The physical store will always be useful for not losing touch with reality, since it offers a large assortment, and is a source of advice that can only be given in person. The store must have something unique in this, the era of large-scale distribution and online sales, where homologation is the main backdrop to consumers' choices every day. Our task is to guarantee a Purchase Advisory Service where the human component is invaluable; we have to focus on this in order to have that extra something".



What are the main features of the brands and products you select?


"The brands we favour are those that are dynamic in that they offer products that must be desirable, so they must have very striking packaging. They must be capable of inspiring a consumer who is not engaged or does not intend to buy at that moment in time. The watchword is fun, so we have to attract our customers with products related to design, food, fragrances, fashion without fearing too many contaminations of different genres. In addition, companies must offer fast, lean replenishments that can be monitored in real time, and support us in clearly communicating their message to the end customer in terms of layout".



What is the biggest challenge a store faces today?


"The omnichannel strategy is the first challenge, but at the same time it is an opportunity. Currently, commerce is required to have a multifaceted approach that takes into account consumer needs, technological developments and changing consumer habits. Resilience and innovation will be crucial for merchants who want to thrive in this ever-changing environment, the goal is to facilitate the shopping experience both online and offline.


In addition, knowing how to read the signs of one's time is the essential premise for being able to change course at the right time. In my experience as a store whose main income comes from wedding lists, it was really essential in a period of crisis, when the number of lists was decreasing, to shift the attention to a new area of the wedding industry, namely flower arrangements, which made it possible to 'attract' even those couples who considered the traditional wedding list obsolete, but when beginning to prepare for the event, automatically find themselves inside a store that offers a full service for all aspects of the wedding".



How to relate to customers and suppliers?


"I think the secret is to communicate as much as possible. We can say that, just as the customer must have a reason to return frequently to browse the new products and everything appears newer if the set-up is updated, the same goes for the supplier: they must update their proposal to entice us to build new projects together that are always at the forefront".



How important is it today to meet suppliers and colleagues at an exhibition like Milano Home?


"The trade fair is a fundamental step in the process of choosing the products of the year, in grasping future trends, in discovering new ideas, in exchanging ideas with professionals and colleagues that simply cannot be done via e-mail or social media. The settings in the various stands are a breath of vitality and the perception of space varies, completely immersed in this dimension full of colours, scents, styles from which to take inspiration for the visual interior of the store.


I share the philosophy behind Milano Home, I believe that the synergy between the store and the producers who participate in the exhibition is of fundamental importance if you want to reach today’s increasingly informed, attentive public with their rapidly changing tastes".





Abacanto: “The store must be welcoming and offer a perfect service”


Abacanto home was inspired by the passion for design and the home of Angela Napolitano, owner of the shop in Via Santo Stefano, in the centre of Bologna. The continuous search for original and quality products, both Italian and from all over the world, make it a go-to small concept store for those looking for objects, gift ideas, furnishing accessories and household linen characterised by novelty and the right price. The store is the exclusive stockist of Society Limonta's fine linen collections and also offers the assortments by Haomy; ceramic objects by Quail ceramics; Zenology for home fragrances; creations and collections by designer Ilaria Innocenti; tableware by Bitossi Home; textile objects and items by &Klevering and Moismont for clothing.



What adjective would you use to define the style of your store?


"Eclectic. The intention is to please a very wide audience, from the student who wants to give her friend something, to the older lady who needs an expensive gift. The typical customer is between 30 and 50 years old and is looking for proposals and collections that focus on sustainability: from accessories to objects, from linen to bags and clothing".



What are the main characteristics of Abacanto Home?


"Quality and fair price".



What is the role of a shop today?


"It must offer a flawless service. The customer appreciates that the seller cares about pleasing him. Speedily searching for an item that is currently unavailable and procuring it in a reasonable time, assisting in the choice of the product, proposing the most appropriate solutions means being at the person's side. The store should not be a place to visit, see and leave, it is a place where hospitality is the first element of the potential sales cycle".



What about its relationship with the digital sphere?


"Excellent. If done well, it is of paramount importance. Today, Instagram is the storefront. The more articles you post on the social network, the more those interested in that particular product are likely to visit a store to see it. A few hours after posting, some of them are already here! And believe me, most of the time this is a step that ends with the purchase of the item".



What are you looking for at an exhibition?


"Products that are innovative, original and slightly niche. I look for small businesses, artisans – Italian and non-Italian – who, for example, supply me with home fragrances, furnishing objects that have a well-defined style, quality linen and fabrics".



How do you interact with suppliers?


"I engage with suppliers, I prefer to have a direct relationship with the brand owner rather than the agent".



What do you think of the first edition of Milano Home?


"Given that my perspective is focused on foreign markets, I must say that I have seen new brands here, companies that had not participated in similar events in the past. I found some of my suppliers without having to go to Paris". 





Bonani: “Guiding people to make the right choice”


"I believe that the role of an independent store today is to offer an extra service: the ability to touch, compare products and, above all, receive the advice of expert staff with years of experience", explains Antonella Bonani, owner of the Bonani Asola store specialising in gifts, wedding lists, kitchen accessories and household items present in Asola (Mantua) since 1960.



How has the relationship between customer and merchant changed?


"The shopkeeper is not just a salesman but a consultant to help the customer make the right choice in order to improve their daily routine and, therefore, also their lives. A visit to the store becomes an experience in which you feel listened to, welcomed and you are not only seen as a customer but also as a person".


The result is an interpersonal relationship that cannot be forged when the purchase takes place online. "Unfortunately, the current economy requires us to offer online shopping services," Bonani continues, "and we are committed to being active on the social networks and to make home deliveries, even if this involves management costs that small businesses often cannot bear". 



How do you rate the first edition of Milano Home?


"The exhibition offers the opportunity to look at the products up close instead of in a catalogue, and get to know new companies in which to invest. I appreciated Milano Home's logistical organisation and the presence of corners reserved for high-level companies.


I also believe that the choice to include training sessions with experts in the field was very useful".