merchandising

Understanding the importance of visual merchandising in retail

Over the last few years, stores on the high street are facing countless troubles that has left many of them in financial difficulty — some even going into administration leading to a mass loss of jobs around the country.

The use of visual merchandising has become an integral process for retail businesses around the world. However, the problems dominating retail in 2018 make executing a successful visual merchandising strategy especially important if you want your retail brand to survive and prosper.

To discover more, we take a look at how you could implement a successful visual merchandising strategy to increase sales for your brand.

Conducting visual merchandising

There’s a lot more to this process than placing products on shelves, you must consider the entire shop floor and position products accordingly.

There’s a science behind why certain presentations, structures and even colours deliver a better experience than alternative arrangements, and it’s been established that a strong visual display can raise turnover and strengthen your brand; even inspiring customer loyalty in the process.

CEO of The Retail Doctor, Bob Phibbs, stated: “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.”

Know what your customers want

Did you know that by 2020, global retail sales are expected to rise to $27.73 trillion? This shows that there is a lot of room for improvement if you’re a retail business.

If you want to fully understand your customer to help with product placement, there are a few things that you can do. A tip here is to go for what you think your customer wants — not needs. According to a study by Raj Raghunathan and Szu-Chi Huang, emotional responses are influential in our purchasing choices — which is why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire.

If you want to experience any success with product placement, it’s essential that you put your latest products front and centre. You could also use banners alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of — and buy!

A focus on group displays

Grouping products has often split opinion for retail businesses. A recent report found that exposing your shopper to the maximum number of products is a tactical method when carrying out visual merchandising. However, don’t make your displays look crowded. Utilise different display furniture, such as mannequins, racks and shelves — whichever suits the product you’re merchandising — and bear in mind that focal points boost sales by a reported 229%, so ensure that you effectively direct your consumers when they enter your store.

There are areas that you could look at to improve. The Pyramid Principle dictates that you create a triangular display, with the biggest item in the middle and the smallest on the outside — which ensures that your display doesn’t look flat and boring. Instead, it will catch the eye, as the products seem to ‘fall’ down towards the viewer. Equally effective is the Rule of Three. Within this, you create attractive asymmetry that shoppers will find engaging. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal — which means they pay less attention. By placing product in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance that forces the eye to take in each product individually, as opposed to the display in its entirety — excellent for effectively advertising each item.

Creating a breathable space

Decompression zones are becoming more popular as customers demand a space to break free from products. This area of a shop is found just a few feet inside the main entrance and is believed by psychologists to elevate a shopper’s mood, acclimatise them to the store’s surroundings and get them ready for the shopping experience.

An effective decompression zone will help transport your consumer from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are decompression zone tips:

  • Minimum of 10-15 feet.
  • Based at shop entry with a full view of store.
  • Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside area to signal new atmosphere.
  • Use mannequins, attractive stands and specialised lighting to highlight your newest ranges.

Research has suggested that 98% of customers turn right when they enter a store, depending on layout of course. Why not use your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store for a smoother customer journey? Or, try placing your best products at the right of your decompression zone, if this is the most likely route consumers take.

Considering the senses

Although this guide focuses on visuals, you must not ignore other senses. Reportedly, 75% of emotions come from smell and our mood is meant to enhance 40% when we detect pleasant aromas. If you run a fragrance, soap or food retail establishment, are you harnessing the power of smell when it comes to merchandising?

Believe it or not, a particular smell can initiate a memory or emotion. If you run a bakery and want to evoke a feeling of warmth, cosiness and home-cooking; ensure that your customers can distinctly smell your products baking from the kitchen by setting up the area to waft aromas into the main shop. Similarly, if your brand specialises in soaps and toiletries, place these strategically around your shop floor to avoid clashing aromas. For example, put all the citrus products together to evoke a sense of energy and rejuvenation and keep these far away from lavender and camomile scents, which are more relaxing.

Making changes

A major part of tactical visual merchandising is moving your presentations as new stock comes in. Don’t let customers get bored of visiting you — keep changing things up and you can make it look like you’re constantly replenishing your stock and bringing in new and wonderful items (even if you’re not).

You must keep ahead of the times and make sure that your shop floor stands out against competitors. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.

It’s all about the experience. With visual merchandising, you can ensure that your shop offers something engaging to keep consumers interested — so why not start planning out your shop’s next visual merchandising campaign today?

This article was brought to you by Where The Trade Buys, postcard printing specialists.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/uk-retail-sector-sales-ms-house-fraser-trouble-online-amazon-business-rate-a8367081.html
https://www.indiaretailing.com/2018/07/16/retail/shop-windows-that-stop-the-art-of-visual-merchandising/

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