Visual Merchandising: How does it affect in-store sales?

How does visual merchandising 1

The flow of content:

Let’s start by discussing, What is Visual Merchandising?
Who is your target audience?
What does your audience expect?
Factors and merchandising techniques that affect the most:
Benefits of Visual Merchandising
What to do and What Not to Do
Successful Examples of Visual Merchandising
Let your Sales Reports Guide you
To end with….
References

Visual merchandising means a visual display of the store.

When you enter the store, you’ll most likely first get attracted to visual displays at the store. This can include aspects like window displays, décor style, fixtures, and many others that give a visual identity to the store.

Today, many retailers follow visual merchandising culture in their store to maintain a good brand image – using effective graphics and visual arts with the aim to increase per square foot traffic to the store and boost sales.


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But, there are both positive as well as negative ways in which your visual merchandising affects your in-store sales. Hence, as a retailer, you need to choose the correct type of store layout to increase sales per square foot.

 

Let’s start by discussing, What is Visual Merchandising?

The practice of visual display of your goods and products in a manner that highlights its unique features and benefits, along with the optimum utilization of the retail space and floor for the ultimate goal of boosting sales – Is called Visual Merchandising.

Visual merchandising takes charge of the store’s beauty and features the goods in a manner that seems attractive to its customers. Also, introduce regular sales campaigns to play with the store’s floor, increase productivity, and boost sales. 

“My company is an extension of me, so when I designed my stores, I wanted people to feel that they were in my home.”
– Tory Burch, Founder & Creative Director, Tory Burch

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Who is your target audience?

It is crucial to recognize your target audience. No sales strategy or visual merchandising can help if you don’t acknowledge your audience. As said by Philip Kotler

“There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.”

Here are a few pointers that you can use to target your audience:

  1. Remember: Not everyone is your target audience
  2. Check the demographics of your target audience: Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Location, Spending Power, and Interest
  3. Deal with the ‘W’ theory –
    What: What is your product?
    Who: Who will benefit from your products?
    Where: Where should you locate, nearby residential or not?, and
    When: When is the best time to start?
  4. Rely on Survey forms and Feedback forms, trust them, and religiously follow them.

 

What does your audience expect?

Customers want the product to express itself on their own. To capture their interest, the product’s visual display needs to be attractive and self-explanatory. The audience loves glamour, show stealer, bright and beautiful display, and most importantly, care and concern towards them. As rightly said, 

“The thing is, I don’t want to be sold to when I walk into a store. I want to be welcomed.”
– Angela Ahrendts, former SVP of Retail, Apple Inc.

Here is a short video explaining what your audience expects from you. Watch out for the self-explanatory video of audience needs!

 

Factors and merchandising techniques that affect the most:

1. Color

Color is considered to be the key component of visual merchandising that can influence consumer’s choices.

Firstly, it will help your store attract attention and encourage consumers to step into the store quickly.

For example, if your store wants to primarily attract customers, then using colors like red and orange at the entrance tend to stand out and draw the eye, while cool colors like blue and green will keep your store calm that can be used in the interiors.

Secondly, color can also create an emotional effect on customers, which can portray a good meaning about the products you offer.

Few tips

  • If your store is new in the market or you are looking to increase sales per square foot, use vibrant colors like red, brown at the entrance – adding some meaningful designs that will make consumers curious to know about your offering and divert them to your store.
  • If you are nature-friendly, willing to create an emotional impact or want to have more focus on products, use dull light colors like green, blue, or white. This will evoke feelings of excitement as well as keep consumers’ attention focused on the primary color and products used in the display.

2. Fixture and Fittings

Another important aspect of visual merchandising display that affects in-store sales, is the fixture and fittings. A level of elevation up or down in your fixture and fittings will create a bad effect on your sales per square foot.

You may have multiple displays set in your store, but with inaccurate fixtures and fittings may annoy your customers, which in turn will directly affect sales.

Therefore, it is essential that you first create a theme and then arrange the fixture and fittings for your store.

Few tips

  • If you have an apparel store or a candy shop, then it makes sense when you display products on shelves that are of eye level or slightly above.
  • This will offer the best position to display the product as it directly catches the customer’s eye, making them stop to look at it.
  • For those who sell products that can be paired up – like shirts, trousers, shoes, it will be an effective idea to arrange fixtures and fittings keeping them close to each other which will save customers time and effort to walk around the store in order to complete the outfit they require.
  • You should also focus more on displays located close to the tills, as this can be your highest sales-generating area. Having a proper display in this area will encourage customers to add items to their shopping cart along with their initial purchases.

3. Signage

Signage will act as a salesperson, hence being an advantage it can open doors – bringing in more sales opportunities for your store.

Infusing proper signage is crucial in your visual merchandising display, as this will allow customers to comfortably reach their desired destination or location by following the display given on it.

By doing this, your customers will not have to wait for a salesperson who may be busy attending other customers. And, making customers wait, means you will automatically lose sales and reduce customer service.

Ensure you install proper signage for your store that should attract customers’ attention within 10 seconds since they enter your store.

Few tips

  • If you have a store dealing in computer accessories and phones, and if you stock them on shelves or racks with no display, your customers will have to go to each rack and check products from close. Now, if they land at a wrong rack with no salesmen available, they will get annoyed and tired of roaming around your store and, in the end, leave your store. Therefore, create a theme and organize products infusing proper signage to allow easy and quick reference to your customers.
  • If you are a big store selling multiple products, then without signage, your customers will get lost. You may be having the product the customers are looking for, but just because they could not find it, you lose a sale.Ensure that you create proper signage installed at various parts of your store that will help customers easily reach out to the product they intend to purchase.
  • If you have a store selling creative products handmade pots, then infusing funky signage at the entrance using creative phrases will attract customers’ eyes and divert them to your store.

This way, you increase brand value and sales for your store.

4. Lights

Lighting is the most important aspect of visual merchandising display. If done correctly, it will aid in selling the merchandise, and if not, it can create a negative impact, even if they are worth hundreds of thousands.

You should maintain a proper proportion of lights and shadow in your visual merchandising displays because excess in either of those may hide product details or may even change the color of the products.

This will create an entirely different appearance of your product, and you lose sales.

Therefore, retailers should ensure the use of proper lights (spotlights mostly preferred) to focus on key areas or key products to make more sales and business for your store.

Few Tips

  • If you want a calm and relaxed generating lighting, then the color fluorescent is an ideal and cost-effective choice for retailers.They offer the best color rendering effect and are available in various colors that can generate cool, warmth, or any other desired effect.
  • If you have a store selling apparel with dim lighting all over, it may cause retailers to shop less. This is because your dim light creates stress in their shopper’s mind, who will not want to wait for long in your shop.

Instead, arranging for spotlights in your display area will throw more focus on the product and make them look rich, vibrant, and tempting, encouraging the customer to buy the product on-the-go.

5. Window display

A store window is ideal for bringing in new customers as well as existing customers, which allows you to display products that are newly arrived, best-selling products, promotional products, and even create a brand image.

Ensure you focus more on this aspect of visual merchandising and frequently update them if you want to increase traffic and sales for your store.

The smart way is to create different themes for different windows that portray different stories based on whatever theme is inspirational at that time.

Few tips

  • It is always suggested to be unique with your window displays as consumers get attracted more to the ones they have never seen before.Research thoroughly and, if possible, consult other retailers having the same interest and come up with a unique one. The best ideas may come out from what they have tried and tested.
  • If you have a furniture shop and arranging a window display that makes it easy for customers to envision how the same product could be set-up in their own home will allow you to convert those window shoppers to actual customers in no time.
  • If you are selling apparel, then using mannequins to showcase your clothing will give customers an idea of how they would look in it.

This way, allowing customers a visual using the products will more likely influence customers’ purchase decisions on-the-go.

6. Conceptualize cool Product Groupings

Inspire your buyers by product groupings.

Product grouping is the idea of clubbing products that compliment or connect with each other. For example, a pocket square with a suit. All that coupled with a shoe, an umbrella, and may be a wallet too.

Keep thinking. Let your dreamy mind take over with a dose of business sense.

Few Tips:

  • Use some sort of gimmick for the build-up. Let your customer halt at that point and gaze it for a while and maybe take selfies too.
  • Think with respect to a particular theme. This will help you bring together the stuff you actually would want in that cluster.

7. Music – The sensory gratitude

Many retailers do not pay attention to this one. Maybe because it is not Visual. But imagine what a great EDM, pop, or some particular hook in some song pumps your mood up in no time.

With all the factors above, music can really have a hypnotic affect.

Few Tips:

  • Set your music library concerning the core theme of your store. If you are selling stonewash jeans or some cool cowboy hats, some country music may help.New age things may have you playing more Pop and EDM.
  • However, beware that you just cannot download any Maroon 5 or The Weeknd chart-buster and play it. Public performance of copyrighted content may land you up in trouble.
  • There are sites where you can buy cool music for your store and play it without any restrictions. Seek help from your circle to create that freshening playlist.

 

Benefits of Visual Merchandising

While we discussed the techniques of visual merchandising display, we need to understand the benefits as well! Well, we can’t just follow the crowd in the blind, right! We need to do our own study. So, let’s find out how this will benefit us.

  1. Bring in more customers: Visual Merchandising always attracts more customers. So, showcase your best products, make it attractive and beautiful, bring in those people who are window shopping, and show them your store!
  2. Increases Brand Value: The more attractive your store looks, the more customers prefer visiting the store. This way, your brand value increases as well as awareness. No wonder, in a short time, people have started knowing your name!
  3. Sales Growth: You know, right, when customers walk-in, it clearly shows that they have an inclination towards your products. Well, when your brand is increasing its value and customers are increasing, there is no surprise that your sales will grow. Just give it a try!
  4. Create a Good First Impression: Imagine, if you are invited to a friend’s place, and the house is not upto the mark. You wouldn’t want to revisit them or would prefer meeting them elsewhere. In the same way, if you are inviting customers over to your store, make sure the store is beautiful and attractive. Remember: First Impressions matter. As right said,

“First Impression is the Last Impression”

 

What to do and What Not to Do

When we talk about techniques and target audiences, our ultimate goal is to attract customers. We need to make sure customers feel welcomed, and we make a picture-perfect impression of our store. So, here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts that can be handy in times of tough calls!

DO’S

  • Display your best products 
  • Showcase your USP
  • Keep changing your display products
  • Keep a check on your displays
  • Show your creative side

DON’TS

  • Don’t display small or tiny products
  • Don’t go overboard with decorations
  • Don’t be repetitive
  • Don’t make it clumsy
  • Don’t be unsophisticated

 

Successful Examples of Visual Merchandising Display

To understand visual merchandising better, let us discuss a few of the best examples of visual merchandising techniques used by these major-league brands.

  1. Nike: Nike, a brand famous world-wide for its shoes and sneakers. Their display products keep changing and always throw a bold statement. Just like their tag line, ‘Just Do It’, Nike also shows the same in their visual merchandising. They showcase various colors, decorative walls, and products complementing them. What else! They promote athletes and sports in their displays.Visual Merchandising NikeImage Courtesy: http://descaparatismo.com/
  2. Everlane: Everlane, a brand that believes in Exceptional Quality, Ethical Factories, and Radical Transparency. They believe in their product and uniquely highlight them. They do not showcase anything but their product. With plain white walls and simple yet attractive decor, they bring life in their stores through their product range.Visual Merchandising Everlane
    Image Courtesy: Everlane.com
  3. Swarovski: Swarovski showcases its products, and highlights only them. They use optimum lighting, focus lightings, and minimum wall decor. Their sole purpose of this visual merchandising is to bring customers attention to their product, and nothing but their product.Visual Merchandising Swarovski

Image Courtesy: retaildesignblog.net

 

Let your Sales Reports Guide you

Visual merchandising display for both your offline and online retail store is one aspect to acquire customers and increase sales. However, before you fully immerse yourself in making your store visually attractive, take a close look at your sales reports and inventory levels, preferably weekly. To do that you can utilize the talents of an inventory management system.

A right inventory management system will give you real-time updates regarding your stock count, the status of your purchase orders and most importantly, an insight into your bestselling and less selling inventory. Armed with this information, you can modify your visual merchandising efforts at your store, keeping the showstoppers up front and slow stock at the back, and update your displays accordingly.

 

To end with….

There are many more components of visual merchandising display. Hence retailers should research and plan well as the initial reaction of the customers to a store layout will be a deciding factor as to whether the company will gain more customers or lose customers as a result.

Retailers should pay close attention to the above factors as they are the most important ones that you should consider in your visual merchandising if you want to boost sales for your store.

Thanks for reading. Godspeed!

Hey! If you would like to add. Do let me know, would love to make it more informative.

 

References:

Want to know more about Visual Merchandising, take a look at these useful links:

Guide to Attractive Window Displays

50 Best Visual Merchandising examples

Guide to Visual Merchandising

Learn more about Target Audience

Boost Retail Sales by Visual Merchandising

Ankita Bora

Ankita Bora

I write to express and believe that words are powerful. Long drives and traveling are my weekend goals. I write poems when I am happy and enjoy a solo outing. My mind works best when I am by myself at a cafe with a tall glass of cold coffee and sandwiches. I dance in the rain and heat never bothers me. For me, winters are the worst! I laugh when I cry and bring a smile to everyone close to me. Content Writer at Orderhive, I present knowledge on technical aspects on weekdays and on weekends I write for myself.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Derek Dewitt Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people underestimate the impact that attractive, full displays can have on customers. I like that you mention using red and other colors to pique interest in the store because I think color palettes are overlooked in the business. I had no idea that more plain, natural colors like green, blue, and white could be used in contrast to help customers focus elsewhere. Really great advice, thanks for the help!

  2. Avatar Jennifer Fernando Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Awesome post. Thank your for sharing such a nice article.

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