Visual Merchandising: An Overview
Visual merchandising refers to all of the display techniques used to highlight the looks and usage of the products and services being sold in a retail or digital space. Visual merchandising can include elements of spacing, lighting, and design, and is a term that can be applied both to in-store merchandising and online merchandising. Investing in visual merchandising helps customers have a better shopping experience, serves as a powerful marketing tool for your company and enhances customer loyalty. But it also comes with its downsides.
Featuring the best aspects of a product for the benefit of the customer, to understand the function of the product with a fleeting glance and also to appeal to the tastes of the customer is known as visual merchandising. The major benefit of clever visual merchandising is that it could help get the most value out of products that would be hard to market any other way.
Enhancing the looks and features of a product may be done by great use of space available, lighting in the store, floor plan layout, colour palette selection, three-dimensional displays, product banner alignment and using seasonal design and décor for a physical store.
In digital space, vibrant colours, uncluttered clean outlook, web design, updated features, seasonal design elements etc. used for visual merchandising. Here are 5 facts about visual merchandising that you need to know before you start a retail career.
Make the customer look – Flash news! Window shoppers are the ones who end up buying, eventually. That makes the retail window design the most crucial aspect of visual merchandising that directly affects your walk-ins and therefore your sale. Your store’s display window is your store, your product’s first impression and a dusty ill maintained mannequin is not going to attract your customers unless it is a clueless wizard looking for St. Mungo’s. So, dust and polish that mannequin, be creative and change the seasonal décor on time, add a few fairy lights, for effect, artistic installations, using striking graphics, lighting and even video displays that make your customers look up from their screens.
Encourage the customer to explore – The art of capturing the customer’s attention through visual appeal is just not enough. You have to make that sale. It can be achieved only by creating a positive experience that encourages a purchase. This leads us to goal number 2: to create a positive ambience in-store that makes customers feel good by being in it and encourages them to explore.
Visual merchandising doesn’t just make the customers walk-in but it needs to encourage them to purchase and helps increase sales and gives customers a good reason to come back again, whilst giving your business a competitive advantage.
Reinforce their choice – The customer might not notice it, but too many choices and variations of the same product only creates doubt if they are unsure about what they need. So, be very specific about cataloguing appropriately and ensure the displays are not random, that customer stumbles upon irrelevant products every few feet into the store. This ensures the customer has an easy, pleasant and positive experience.
Human Support – In-person assistance and attention are inevitable in sales. Even with the digital tools, self-checkout assistance and self-reliant options, customers still prefer a human to explain the product specifications or simply to strike up a friendly conversation for assistance, support and sometimes, even reassurance. In the digital stores, it is best to have an assistance or an established responsive customer care response team fosters goodwill and reliability.
Visual Merchandiser – As a visual merchandiser, your job is to enhance the visual image of the store that encourages sales for the store by creating a pleasing and positive experience for the customer. Making the store more attractive and appealing to the customers might sound like a simple task but there are several moving parts, which is why your job as a professional visual merchandiser is important and crucial, in terms of walk-ins, the amount of time a potential customer spends inside the store premises and the resulting sales conversions.
Think of your job as a visual merchandiser as the person who creates magic. You use your high-end and niche design skills to help promote the image, products and services of retail businesses and other organisations. Your focus should be on the key elements such as store exterior and interior, store layout and interior décor and display to create eye-catching product displays and store layout designs that attract customers and encourage them to buy.
Visual merchandising is a comprehensive discipline that involves marketing, operations, design, and sales to create a compelling customer experience and drive sales. Understanding how to use the tools at your reach to fuel the creative aspects of it can be a true differentiator in the retail industry that’s flooded with endless product choices.