A good visual presentation will draw in the customer with a shopping mood into your store
Visual Merchandising (VM) is everything the customer sees from the way you products are arranged inside your store outlet and how your visual collaterals are positioned from your window displays down to the counters where your customer pays for the merchandise. VM creates an image you desired for your business that results to bringing attention, interest, desire and action to buy on the part of your customer. VM dictates the overall atmosphere of your business – the way you communicate your brand message, and the manner on how you will sell your product.
How your store visually aligned to what you are selling depends on whether or not your customer enters your store. While advertising, prices and promotions are important, VM gives the final push whether he buys or not. The appearance of your store announces what can be expected inside. An excellent visual merchandising attracts attention, creates interest and invites customers into the business.
When planning for the best visual merchandising, consider the following hotspots. Remember the three major goals of your store: motivate the customer to spend money, projects the image of your business, and keep your expenses to a minimum.
Visual merchandising includes window displays, signs, interior displays, and any other special sales promotions taking place.
Customer will require split second to capture their attention. It is necessary to have strong stopping-power visual to tell what your business is selling. In less than 10 seconds, your window poster and merchandising will effectively communicate your message that will create interest and invite customers into your store to purchase the goods.
Retail outlets like The Body Shop, M&S and Bench master the art of putting the best front in the window displays. The Body Shop for instance carried a theme throughout the display. Every seasonal promotion such as the Valentine’s Day, the poster conveys a message of what are the best products for that specific occasion. The window table at the bottom of the poster carries the products with A6 cards announcing discounts and bundle promos. Bench on the other hand creates awareness of happenings in fashion world and up-to-date with the dynamics of the market constantly by highlighting the clothing merchandise displayed with the most up-to-date celebrity endorsers.
There are certain things, which you need to take care while proceeding with the process of displaying your products. These components when combined together in a proper ratio will make a successful outcome:
- A window poster announcing the current promotion is mandatory. The poster is the first thing the customer sees when deciding if they want to enter the store. It reflects the store’s main offerings and showcases the newest products that it offers. It is necessary that your window poster contain a message strong enough to catch attention. Then all the interior displays and in-store merchandising come next to appeal to the customer.
- For non-clothing products, a window bed or promo table supports the message from your poster. Mannequins are still the best tools for merchandising clothing products. Put product highlights on the window bed with supporting display cards or tags. Be careful not to crowd too much merchandise as customer might find it difficult to determine the message and what products are being promoted.
- Miniature spotlights to accent price cards and specific focused items. A compact footlights will help relieve shadows at the bottom of vertical displays
- VM is essential to have themes for all retail display, “ to capture peoples imaginations.” A good theme display makes a visual presentation come together, and will draw in the customer with a shopping mood into your store.
TRAFFIC GENERATOR ANNOUNCEMENTS & SIGNAGES
First time customers tend to remember your store’s entrance, which provides the first and last view of your store’s interior. A properly designed traffic generator like banners or easel standee will bring additional mileage to other products which you might want to push, or simply an additional support to window message.
Signage in the gondolas and rack fixtures is a critical part of your point-of-purchase promotion. A promo strip card or A6 card are excellent addition when you arrange your products. It communicates a sales message to the customer can make up for lack of sales personnel.
Consistency plays an important role to maintain the image and identification. The design concept to be used in your banner, easel standee, and promotional cards will be more effective if an attempt is to carry the colors and graphics throughout the store, and all promotional collaterals including advertising materials.
Visual merchandising actually centers how your products should appear in the display area. Your products can be effectively displays on variety of fixtures available such as gondolas, tables, cubes, mannequins’ racks, display cases and other manufactured point-of-purchase displays. These fixtures should present your products to the customers and act as your silent salesperson.
The pre-requisites of arranging the merchandise in different categories: Generally, customers look to the center of racks/gondolas first, then right, and finally left. Focus products are best displayed at the eye level shelves. If products are arranged in one table, hero product should be highlighted by elevating it using an acrylic rise or should be located on the center or starting from the left area. If possible, allocate a sample product from the range and allow customer to test and feel the item.
Packaging should be balance on display, and allow enough space for product to breathe. Organize the product according to use, never mix other category or different items on that particular arrangement. Other method of acceptable merchandise arrangement is by color. People think of colors in a rainbow pattern and they are very comfortable in that kind of presentation.
Promotional product should be located at the area with the highest customer traffic. Consider presenting the promos on entrance area or areas where you can attract the biggest attention.
Higher priced items require fewer fixtures because there is less stocks. Use T-stands to create an illusion of space. Use a starter gap in which an item is missing, so the customer will not feel like they are messing up a neat display. When your items begin to show broken sizes or assortments, these remaining items should be moved to the bottom shelves of the gondola.
Small and low-priced products should be arranged in an acrylic bowl or line up in a small rack near the counter to allow impulse buy or last-minute additional purchase.
Your visual merchandising approach should complement your other strategies. The content of the display should complement the in store environment and other marketing strategies. If you have a specific logo, the colors of the display can reflect the same color of the logo. For example, in all McDonalds outlets, The Ronald McDonald statue is of the same color, red and yellow as in their logo.
Your store cleanliness is the foundation of an inviting a successful visual merchandising. A beautiful display can be ruined by a cracked sign holder or an unclean racks or shelves. Constant and regular cleaning schedule of fixtures and products is required.
The success of your business requires a distinct and consistent image that should be created in the mind of the customers that will infuse your product offerings. Visual merchandising can help create that image that will lead to successful sales. It does not only communicate the store image, but also reinforces your business advertising efforts and encourages impulse buying by the customer.
THE PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN USED IN VISUAL MERCHANDISING
- Balance – involves the equilibrium and weight of elements between two sides of display. Example, when planning a VM, if several small objects are more exciting than the large object, they will overpower the large item or a large expanse of empty space will call attention to a single object placed within
- Proportion – is the ratio of parts to the whole display. It is a comparative relationship of distance, sizes, amounts, or parts. Each item may look normal when isolated, but if it is inconsistent in area of dimension with neighboring items, it seems out of proportion. Each peace of merchandise must be considered in relationship to all the other merchandise.
- Rhythm – or flow involves measurement of organized movement; a self-contained movement from object to object, background to foreground, or side to side. The rhythm in display should lead the viewers eye from the dominant object to the arrangement of accessories.
- Emphasis– it is the point of initial eye contact. It is the formulation of focal point, with all else in the display subordinate. There should be emphasis in all displays. This can be by virtue of the focal point’s size, color or position.
- Color – contributes significantly to people’s impression of a display, as well as store’s overall appearance. It catches the eye and make people pause and look.
- Lighting – is essential in calling attention to merchandise in a display. A shopper’s eye is drawn automatically to the brightest item or area.
- Harmony– a coordinating umbrella principle that can cover and incorporate every other principle. It is agreement in feeling and consistency in mood – without harmony, the observer is uncomfortable and will not be enticed to purchase the merchandise
NOTE: This article was published in the Masigasig Magazine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justine Castellon is an independent brand strategist, a business writer and founder of The Market Place 2.1 and Company. She provides creative thinking and interpretation of consumer and market insights. You may reach her Justine.firstname.lastname@example.org | Follow her at www.twitter.com/marketplace21