Visual Merchandising: Where do I start?

The need for effective Visual Merchandising has increased tremendously since traditional stores have to compete with the fierce online shopping phenomenon. Here are some of the essential Visual Merchandising tips used to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase, therefore boosting profit margins.

As every business has a target market and ideal customer, it is smart to tailor a solution to those. But you have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any.


1. Knowing your customer demographics will give you the upper hand.

Visual Merchandising (VM) is a sales and marketing strategy. It isn’t done haphazardly. Retailers must align their visual merchandising to their customers and the environment. An example of this is a retail store whose biggest customer type is a money conscious person. The store has large basic signage with red writing, there is nothing fancy about it. This attracts the money conscious, no frills buyer – it is not aimed at the high end market. Knowing your customers is extremely important aand will most definitely help in the way you merchandise your products.


2. Keep it clean and clutter free!

Time after time I see retail stores getting it wrong when it comes to housekeeping. It is so important to keep the entire store clean and free from clutter. Shoppers who walk into an untidy, jumbled mess are likely to feel uncomfortable and walk straight back out again. Believe me, I have done exactly this on more than one occasion! I can’t stress enough how crucial this tip is, so having a checklist of the daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks can really help to stay on track. If you would like a free copy of my checklist, contact me here!


3. Use signage and ticketing effectively

It is essential to get the signage and ticketing right in a store. Make sure signs are clear, precise and not overused. They are great to publicise a sale or new product, so strategically placing them to be easily seen is the key. Price tickets must also be clear and precise and placed where the customer can easily identify which product it is relating to. If products have no price tickets, many shoppers won’t bother to track down someone to ask the price, therefore this results in the loss of a sale.


4. Spend time on displays and change them often

It is essential to take the time and plan the windows and displays in store. Use props to help tell a story, create a theme (eg; holidays, seasons, etc..) and encourage potential buyers to come in. Make sure to change the windows and displays often to let shoppers know what’s new in the store, tempting them to come in and spend money.


5. Apply the elements and principles of design to create something great

As a VM specialist, I love good use of colours, lighting, balance, space, shape and contrast. When these elements of design are brought together the right way, the aesthetics of the store will create an environment that shopper’s will not only want to come into, but they will stay and spend more! Using colour is a terrific way to draw attention. Bright colors are more likely to attract potential customers, rather than bland, washed out shades. Colour can be used on walls or brought into a display using products and props. Using lighting is another way to create an inviting atmosphere and can also help focus on a particular product. I could go on and on about this, but that could be a blog post on its own!


6. Make the most of impulse buys

Use “discount” bins throughout the store to encourage impulse buys – everybody loves a bargain! Display items which have a higher profit margin in a “hot spot”. For example, at the end of an aisle where it gets high exposure and will attract attention. The checkout counter is literally a gold mine if set up correctly… It should be easy to locate, visible to customers, and must have small items displayed to encourage last minute impulse buys.


I hope you have found these tips useful. It is vital to offer customers a shopping experience that is engaging and inspiring. Customers need to be encouraged to buy more of the products you want them to, hence increasing your sales and profit – after all, you are a business!


If you are interested in improving your store’s profitability and would like to organise a personal consultation to discuss your Visual Merchandising and Customer Service needs, get in touch here.

- Jacinta