House of Fraser may have taken a hit recently, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more opportunities to increase your sales.

Visual merchandising has been around for a while. 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. This guide will give you the tips you need to succeed.

The importance of visual merchandising to the retail sector

The process of visual merchandising involves strategically designing the layout of an entire shop floor — including shelves and product displays — to provide a more engaging, exciting and ultimately profitable consumer experience.

It goes beyond just making your store look pretty. 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.

According to chief executive officer, Bob Phibbs, who runs The Retail Doctor retail consultancy firm in New York: “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.”

 

Sp, how do you boost the capability of visual marketing at your retail location and avoid falling into the difficulties that the likes of Toys R Us and Maplin have suffered?

Highlight the wants, not the needs

By 2020, global retail sales are anticipated to hit USD 27.73 trillion, so there’s clearly scope for your brand to maximise its profits and get a share of this growth in the next few years.

Place you newest, most high-end products in your focal visual merchandising displays to attract the customer looking for a treat purchase and enhance your chances of high-cost conversions. You could also use outdoor signs alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of — and buy!

Group displays

How you put together your items is paramount to the achievement or disappointment of your visual showcasing methodology . 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.

You should also incorporate the ‘Pyramid Principle’ or ‘Rule of Three’ method when grouping products for a display. 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.

Colours

Contrasting colours at the opposite side of the colour wheel can help grab attention — think black and white or scarlet and jade — but creating a multi-coloured display of uncoordinated colours may turn people away.

Creating a ‘decompression zone’

Another tip for making a charming shopping experience for your customers is to convey the ideal decompression zone . 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.

Nobody wants to browse a shop when they aren’t in a positive mood. 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:

  • At the front of your store with view of everywhere else.
  • Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside area to signal new atmosphere.
  • Minimum of 10-15 feet.
  • Use mannequins, attractive stands and specialised lighting to highlight your newest ranges.

Studies show that the majority of people will turn right when they first enter a store. 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.

Taking more senses into account

Although this guide is about visual merchandising, that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the other four 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?

Distinctive smells can enable shoppers to remember a particular feeling or memory. 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.

Rotating your stock

Change is good, and your customers will always welcome it when it happens. 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).

Stay on top of seasonal and nationwide trends and events — don’t give people the impression that your brand is behind the times or lazy. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.

According to predictions, shopping is expected to transform, leaning more towards ‘the experience’ rather than simply buying. 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?

 

 

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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