Visual merchandising creates an impact and makes an impression on every guest who visits your business. Anything the customer can see from the outside of the store and throughout the interior can work to optimize the retail space. From storefront displays to signage and overall floor plan, effective visual merchandising works cohesively to reflect the brand, engage the customer and increase sales.
What are the best ways to employ effective visual merchandising? Consider a combination of techniques that can increase the customer’s product awareness and desire to purchase.
1. Create Displays for Target Customers
The customer’s journey begins with discovery, then moves into option comparison before the final conversion and sale. Setting the tone for your target customers using visual merchandising is a key element in taking them from discovery to sale. Who are your target customers? That’s an important question when designing displays. Aim to appeal to their lifestyle or the lifestyle they desire.
2. Less Can Be More
A visual assault on the senses overwhelms the customer. Too many items and clashing colors results in a display that looks like a toddler tossed all the toys on the floor; the result is chaos. When overwhelmed, customers tend to walk away.
Avoid clutter and chaos in displays. Instead, focus on spotlighting a single item or a few related items to create a coherent theme/story.
3. Tell a Story
A story for your visual merchandising display helps both during the design process and makes it easier for the customer to connect with the product(s). The story can be specific to a single display or be made to flow through the entire retail space by using a singular cohesive theme from display to display. Begin the latter at the storefront with the main window or space near the entrance.
The narrative doesn’t have to be complicated and can be something as tried and true as “back to school” or “summertime fun.” Rely on color and signage to keep the story/theme cohesive. This may be as simple as using the same color backdrop or keywords in the signage.
4. Be Specific With Signage
The display may showcase the items perfectly, but if the signage fails, it all fails. Avoid wordy signs — too much information gets ignored.
Try the five-second rule: You should be able to easily read the sign in five seconds or less, absorbing its meaning without any confusion. If your message needs to be longer, consider a series of signs incorporated aesthetically into the overall visual merchandising theme.
5. Window Displays Attract Foot Traffic
Display the new and more valuable products in the window or nearest the entrance to attract foot traffic. First impressions do make a difference. A passer-by won’t be interested in a storefront that appears dark, dirty or neglected.
The front windows need to be kept clean and the display well-lit or lit to create an emotional impact. Sometimes, however, minimal lighting works best for specific designs. Again, signage should be clear, concise and connected to the theme/story of the window.
6. Sales Team Knowledge
Every member of the sales team needs to be knowledgeable about the items curated in the visual merchandising displays. This is especially important for interactive displays. If a team member can’t answer a customer’s question, confidence falls and the potential to lose the sale increases.
7. Analyze Weekly Sales and Change Displays
Your visual merchandising is another touchpoint in the customer’s decision journey. To be effective, it’s important to analyze weekly sales and determine if and how displays are affecting sales. Old displays become invisible to regular customers and look worn to new ones. Keep it fresh to increase potential for conversions.
To increase sales, visual merchandising must engage the customer, while reflecting the brand. It should tell a story, appeal to the senses, and act as a reminder for secondary purchases — such as painter’s tape to go with a gallon of paint. Effective visual merchandising has the power to increase sales — playing a key role in final conversion.
Bonus Tip #8. Audit stores for merchandising compliance
60% of promotional displays are not executed properly! You have spent months perfecting your merchandising displays and following the tips above, but you still aren’t seeing the sales results you hoped for. Creating a merchandising checklist and auditing your stores for merchandising compliance to ensure proper execution can increase sales by 193%! Every merchandising promotion execution should be followed by an established merchandising audit process.
Photos go a long way, especially when you’re executing a merchandising program. Having visuals to communicate what to do and what not to do make it easier for you and your team to execute perfectly.
For example, when it comes to adhering to product displays, including photos to show how your store/shelves should look, along with images of what not to do will go a long way toward achieving your vision.
Unsure about what to include on your merchandising audit checklist? See our examples below.
More ways to improve your visual merchandising standards and boost sales:
- 5 Retail Merchandising Trends to Watch Out for in 2019
- How to build a store merchandising checklist
- 6 Ways to use Visual Merchandising to Drive Social Shares
- 5 Lighting Techniques For Visual Merchandising to Increase Sales
- The purpose, scope and methods of merchandising audits
- Conduct a merchandising audit in 10 step
- Merchandising Checklist for 2019
- CPG Merchandising Checklist
About the author:
Yana Voldman is Strategy and Business Development Manager at UDIZINE, established in 1995 with the vision of creating a range of display fixtures that match functionality to retailers’ needs to produce display and signage products that not only perform but have a strong aesthetic appeal.