“Visual merchandising” is a key term in retail which often causes ripples of anxiety. We all understand the importance of achieving a great visual merchandising strategy, but there are certainly some queries regarding what it actually consists of. In it’s rawest form, visual merchandising is an approach to attracting, engaging and motivating a consumer towards making a purchase. It is not the store architecture, but it is a physical storytelling, boasting a strong brand identity in-store. It’s not easy, but it is achievable and throughout this post, we’ll discuss the 5 steps to approaching the ideal VM strategy…
1. Think of the windows
It’s no secret that window displays are pivotal when it comes to visual merchandising, they are the first touchpoint for consumers and as blank spaces, they offer a playground for creativity. Many retailers take advantage of the holiday season to really amp up these window displays (think Liberty at Christmas) or make a considerable effort during events such as Chelsea in Bloom. However, there is always the case for expertly showcasing your brand within merchandised window displays. Look to Selfridges for window merchandising which excels on a large budget, but also consider the simple but impactful window displays which focus on eye-catching branding, storytelling props and a focal point to draw attention.
2. Colour is crucial
Colour has many functions in visual merchandising, from causing emotional responses in a consumer through to simply drawing the eye to a particular area. Plenty of research can be found on the impact that colour has on the human brain, which has often been undertaken when a new brand emerges, but it’s equally as important when it comes to visual merchandising. Are you looking to stimulate and excite or calm and soothe? Think of this when it comes to your overall intent, avoiding a swath of colours which only cause confusion. Take lessons from interior design themes which focus on what a consumer wants to see, but never forget your brand.
3. Consider merchandise exposure
The ideal situation is one where the customer is exposed to as much merchandise as possible by the way a store is set up. If you’re in control of the store architecture, the floor is already open to your brand to really engage these visual merchandising moments. However, when this isn’t the case, there still remains an opportunity to expose consumers to an optimum volume of merchandise. Consider three exposure elements which are crucial in VM: wayfinding signage, primary & ambient lighting and eye-level displays. Concise exposure is key.
4. Have a hotspot on your display
Hotspots can increase sales by 229% so make sure that a display has been designed to draw the eye of the customer to a specific point. Remember that the hotspot will always be the product that you’re trying to sell, as opposed to another visual element of the display. It’s key to avoid customer confusion so that someone approaching the display has no idea where they should be looking. When you’re creating the display, make sure the focal point is clear - and visible for your customer, not placed too high, and can be seen when approaching from both sides of the display.
5. Never forget to tell your story
Lighting, colour, hotspots – they are all important physical attributes of a brand when it comes to visual merchandising. However, these installations must tell a story which line-up with the key principles of your brand. Merchandisers should be looking to master the art of storytelling, creating a world which consumers can fully engage with. Think of the right setting, the curated product selection and the mission statement you want to make and set yourself apart from other brands with next-level visual storytelling.
Successful visual merchandising is no easy feat, but it is achievable with concise guidelines. We can help your business to master the art of visual merchandising simply and efficiently. Contact our team to find out more about how this could work for you.