The importance of visual merchandising

Gary Peeling, managing director of Where The Trade Buys, looks at how retailers can enhance sales with an effective visual merchandising strategy.
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Although some retail chains are currently shutting stores and cutting staff numbers, the retail industry is not dead. But how can your brand continue to turn a profit in tough circumstances?

Browse this visual merchandising guide for the retail sector and execute a successful visual merchandising strategy to boost sales and footfall throughout 2018:

Visual merchandising is the designing of a shop floor to deliver a more engaging and exciting consumer experience to boost sales. However, there’s a science behind how certain arrangements work and others don’t. According to chief executive officer, Bob Phibbs, of The Retail Doctor: “Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers.”

But how do you effectively implement a strategy that boosts sales, footfall and even customer loyalty?

How you display the products you want to advertise is critical to a good visual merchandising strategy. Firstly, don’t overcrowd your stands or shelves and create a clear focus for your customers. Apparently, focal points enhance sales by 229%!

Heard of the ‘Pyramid Principle’ or ‘Rule of Three’ method? The former states that you make a triangular display and put the largest product in the middle to guarantee that the presentation looks interesting to a wandering eye. The latter helps you produce ‘attractive asymmetry’, which people take more notice of (over symmetrical displays).

Global retail sales will reach $27.73 trillion in two years – how will your brand get a portion of this growth?

Rather than using visual merchandising to sell needed items, go for luxury or ‘treat purchases’. We use our emotions to make purchasing decisions, according to a study by Raj Raghunathan and Szu-Chi Huang, so use your newest, high-end products as part of your visual merchandising displays to boost the chance of high-cost conversions.

“Things that are easy to look at will be passed over, and things that are too outlandish will be offensive to the eye,” according to Jessica Clarke, a retail merchandiser. Contrasting colours will attract a customer’s attention – think red and green, or blue and yellow. However, avoid using lots of different colours together in one presentation, as this may compel people to look away.

As new stock comes into your store, make sure you keep tweaking your visual merchandising displays. Otherwise, your shop will start to look boring and stock will seem old.

Change your visual merchandising presentations every four weeks and give customers the perception of an innovative brand that is constantly looking for new, on-trend products to offer.

A decompression zone is located a few feet inside the main shop entrance and is thought to lift a shopper’s mood and get them used to a store’s surroundings. Customers won’t feel as energised for shopping if they’re feeling negative or distracted. So, a decompression zone will assist in taking your consumer from the busy outdoors to a calmer, more pleasant environment – just make sure to make your decompression zone a minimum of 10-15 feet, created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside, and enhanced with specialised lighting.

Gary Peeling is the managing director of Where The Trade Buys.

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