If we had to describe what visual Merchandising is, we could summarize as: the art of promoting and display products within a sales space. It is all about the subtle art of mixing aesthetics and efficiency, two critical parts in the retail industry. If visual merchandising is clearly more visible for the layman in luxury and fashion retail stores, it is clearly a significant and efficient tool for mass market retailers in order to promote products and increase sales revenue.(see: Apple, excellence in visual merchandising)
Are seduction and efficiency two compatible concepts? The answer with visual merchandising is clearly yes! Obviously, the more your store window is attracting the more people will want to enter your store, spend time, and buy…
As we have just seen before, visual merchandising has a key role in the retail business. It combines and maintains consistency between:
A visual Merchandiser (people in charge of visual merchandising) is responsible of the overall appearance of the point of sale. He often has a high degree of flexibility and masters multiple different skills: styling/design, technical, sales, legal (sometimes) and even recycling. Besides, he also masters marketing and has an extensive knowledge and experience of combining the right products with the right moment. A visual merchandiser is a multi-skills expert with a developed sense of observation who is able to work closely with all other services.
Now, let’s see visual merchandising application scopes.
Attracting shoppers’ attention is a difficult art. But retailers have long improved tricks to do so: the store window display and staging.
Performing a good window display involves time and specific skills. However, it is still the best way to attract passing-by potential customers.
Store window can help you:
Beyond the window, there are numerous techniques to combine aesthetic and sales efficiency : store layout and design, signage, lighting and special displays.
Here you are, your customer just entered your store and you can let your store magic begin. In order to happen, you have to guide him through the whole shop. Keep in mind two objectives during your customer journey:
A good floor plan must go through all the hot spots in your shop. Probably one of the best examples of customer journey conception is IKEA. Even if we think that the customer is guided too much, it has proved to be drastically efficient.
Design and signage are also key in an efficient visual merchandising. A well designed, no non-sense, sales floor will help you display your products more simply and efficiently. Type of shelves, type of materials, deco but also colors and floor signage are a must.
In a nutshell, while conceiving and implementing your store layout, don’t forget that “retail is detail” . A visual merchandiser must pay as much attention to the global layout than to all other details like product labelling, cleanliness and replenishment.
When a visual merchandiser decides to refurbish a store, whether it is the overall layout or some of the shelves, he must be in the customer’s shoes or more literally, in the customer’s eyes. Because you don’t really know in advance the height of the people who will visit your store and because a child or a 6’3” person won’t see the store space the same manner, there are merchandising basics you should respect:
When a new customer enters a store, he is expecting a different, surprising, inviting, and creative layout. He also expects an efficient organization (particularly true for food distribution). In this sense, a visual merchandiser must combine originality with preservation of the brand basics. He has to mix creative and innovative ideas to display the products in a smart way while keeping the overall value proposition attractive. Moreover, because customers are demanding and easily get bored, displays must be reorganized frequently in order to reenchant the customer experience on a regular basis for recurring and loyal customers.
A good display is thus key to improve your sales revenue.
Cockpit-Labs tips: If you want to find new ideas, glamorous displays or fun concepts, don’t hesitate to go beyond retail stores and visit museum, theatres, restaurants or architecture masterpieces to immerse yourself into these «signs of the time»…