As some high street stores are well aware, operating within the retail industry can be testing. The good news is that with the right approach, retail chains can weather the storm. One way of boosting sales and bringing in customers is through the art of visual merchandising. Visuals are key to catching the eye of a potential customer and coaxing them to enter the store!
Where The Trade Buys, service providers of postcard printing, have put together this handy guide to tell you more:
Why do we use visuals?
Understanding visual merchandising is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. The visual merchandising process involves strategically designing the layout of an entire shop floor — right down to the shelves and product displays — to provide a more engaging, exciting and ultimately profitable consumer experience.
There is more to visual merchandising than just putting products in a certain place just because they look good there. There’s actually a science behind why certain presentations, structures and even colours deliver a better experience than alternative arrangements. It has been proven that a strong visual display can raise turnover and strengthen your brand, inspiring customer loyalty in the process.
As the Retail Doctor’s CEO, Bob Phibbs put it: “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.”
A successful visual merchandising strategy could help you avoid a similar path that was suffered by Maplin and Toys R Us.
Tempt your customer with their wants, not their needs
Retail sales are on the rise with global retail sales predicted to hit an amazing USD 27.73 trillion by 2020. This provides plenty of scope for brands to maximise their profits and get a share of this growth in the next few years. The first step to achieving effective visual merchandising are the products you will use to attract consumers. A handy piece of advise is to opt for what you think your customer wants — not needs. According to a study by Raj Raghunathan and Szu-Chi Huang, emotional responses are influential in our purchasing choices. This is the reason why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire.
Tempt your customers by displaying your luxury items. Using banners presenting promotional offers for luxury items alongside these displays will get the customers to take notice — and buy!
Group products together
Grouping products together can affect the effectiveness of visual merchandising. Exposing shoppers to the maximum number of products is one of the tactical methods used when brands carrying out visual merchandising. However, take care to ensure the displays don’t look crowded and cluttered.
Utilise a variety of different display furniture best suited for displaying the products you are merchandising. Keep focal points as a priority when planning where to direct your customers – it has been reported that they boost sales by as much as 229%.
Implement systems such as the ‘Pyramid Principle’ and the ‘Rule of Three’. To set up the Pyramid Principle, create a triangular display with the biggest item in the middle, and the smallest on the outside. This set-up ensures the display looks attractive to the eye and not flat and boring.
Another effective visual display method is the ‘Rule of Three’. Within this, you create attractive asymmetry that shoppers will find engaging. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal meaning they pay less attention if presented with it. By placing product in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance. This forces the eye to take look at each product individually, rather than the display in its entirety — a perfect way of effectively advertising each item.
Be clever with colour
Stylist and retail merchandiser Jessica Clarke, gives the following advice on using colour in visual merchandising: “Things that are easy to look at will be passed over, and things that are too outlandish will be offensive to the eye.” And this goes for colour. 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.
Take note of the decompression zone
The area of a shop found just a few feet inside the main entrance is known as the ‘decompression zone’. Psychologists believe that this area elevates a shopper’s mood, acclimatises them to the store’s surroundings and prepares them for the shopping experience.
An effective decompression zone should help your consumer make the transition from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are some tips to set up an effective decompression zone:
- Minimum of 10-15 feet.
- Based at shop entry with a full view of store.
- Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside area to signal new atmosphere.
- Use mannequins, attractive stands and specialised lighting to highlight your newest ranges.
Customers can also be targeted by the journey they take around the store too. Research has shown that 98% of people turn right after entering a store, so using your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store will create a smoother customer journey – and higher sales in the process. Alternatively, you can position your best products at the right of your decompression zone.
Consider all of the senses
As well as the focus on visuals, it’s important to take into account the other four senses. Reportedly, 75% of emotions come from smell with our moods enhancing by up to 40% when we detect pleasant aromas. If you run a fragrance, soap or food retail establishment, are you harnessing the power of smell effectively enough when it comes to merchandising?
Carrying out marketing tactics that appeal to the smell can trigger particular memories and feelings for customers. If you run a bakery and want to evoke a feeling of home cooked warmth and cosiness, make sure your customers can smell your products baking from the kitchen as soon as they set foot inside by setting up the area to waft aromas into the main shop.
Likewise, products such as soaps and toiletries should be placed strategically around the shop floor to avoid scents from clashing unappealingly with one another. 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.
Review your strategy regularly
Keep your visual merchandising up to date with changing times. Move existing presentations as new stock comes into prevent customer boredom. Changing displays regularly makes it look like you’re constantly replenishing your stock and bringing in new and wonderful items that simply shouldn’t be missed. Similarly, promotions and seasonal goods only last for a certain time so changing displays frequently will avoid the impression that your brand is behind the times or lazy and will give the impression of innovation instead.
Shopping habits are always changing, however, and retail experts predict that shopping is forecast to change towards becoming more of an experience. Visual merchandising ensusre that your shop offers something consistently engaging, keeping consumers interested. If you haven’t already, why not start planning out your shop’s next visual merchandising campaign today?