Drive in-store performance with these 10 visual merchandising tips
Visual merchandising covers everything your store makes use of to attract customers - using eye-catching displays, effective signage and captivating offers. But it’s not just about getting customers in to your store, the real science of visual merchandising lies in driving your sales performance and creating a strong identity for your brand. Read on for 10 tips in improving your sales with more effective visual merchandising.
1. Effective space planning is key
Whilst packing as much product per square metre in as possible may sound like a good idea from a sales perspective, it doesn’t make for a particularly great in-store experience - especially in stores with high foot traffic.
When planning your retail space consider how many gondolas, mannequins, racks and backwall displays you have and how they can be placed in a manner that feels appealing for a customer to browse. This helps from a fixture cost planning perspective as well as maximising the valuable retail space that you’re paying for.
2. Think about the customer experience
The customer experience is all about how a prospective customer makes the decision to enter your store to their feelings browsing until they exit - and make a purchase.
Think through the eyes of your customer and understand their wants and needs to create more relevant, effective VM displays. For example a customer in a high-end retail store will expect the store to give off a luxurious feel and make them want to imagine how their home would look with the inclusion of your products.
3. Keep your brand identity consistent
A brand identity is how you retain your loyal customers and create an impression in the minds of new shoppers. Your visual merchandising has a huge part to play.
When changing your VM displays, make sure your brand identity is complemented by the way you present your products. From signage to methods of display (tabletop etc), think about the way your customers perceive your brand when merchandising new collections.
4. Rotate and keep your VM design fresh
Loyal shoppers return to your stores. If these loyal shoppers aren’t seeing anything new when coming back, they will be less likely to make another purchase.
A fresh VM design also helps you to experiment with more creative ways of displaying your products and helping you to identify what makes your brand stand out in the eyes of shoppers.
5. Capitalise early on trends, holidays and themes
Many stores will rotate their visual merchandising displays when it comes to specific holidays or capitalising on modern trends in order to bring in shoppers and drive sales with a specific angle and story.
Make sure you plan your VM efforts well in advance of holidays to maintain a competitive advantage and allow more time to create a better product collection - and ensure you have all of the necessary fixtures and signage to create the best display possible.
6. Keep on top of compliance
Compliance feedback is all about how your in-store teams communicate the execution of new visual merchandising displays to your head or regional office. It’s especially important when you have several stores to keep track of.
By giving your in-store teams the tools and proper guidelines to follow, VM takes less time and is easier to execute. But it’s important to see the final display and highlight any discrepancies - or replace products that are out of stock to ensure best in-store performance.
7. Ensure you have effective signage and PoS material prepared
Signage helps sell your products. When planning your upcoming collections, ensure you have prepared all relevant brand signage to draw the customer's eye to certain fixtures and displays and place it in areas that allow the products to be the focus. The signage should complement the display rather than taking away too much attention from it.
Depending on your brand style, whether you're value-oriented or appeal to a more aspirational shopper, ensure the way you promote offers and deals enhances your image to create a more positive customer experience. A high end store should promote the products and brand story rather than the offers and vice-versa.
8. Use technology to simplify the whole process
Visual merchandising benefits hugely from the use of technology to help plan and merchandise your collections in ways that are both attractive, and can help drive sales performance in the most efficient way possible.
From using data about your products to automatically create collections based on colour, price or season to creating a 3d mockup of your store, there are lots of visual merchandising and retail planning software tools out there to help make your VM efforts more efficient and less time-consuming (like MockShop).
9. Tell stories through your displays
A story can be abstracted into four distinct elements: who, what, why and where. Use the concept of storytelling in your displays to capture the imagination and excitement of shoppers.
When it comes to VM storytelling, who refers to the shopper’s personality, what refers to the products you’re selling, why refers to why they should be interested what you’re selling and where refers to your placement, design and layout. Combine these concepts for a powerful effect when creating your displays. For example a display with Valentine's Day gifts should help customers create their own personal story using their imagination.
10. Use colour for great effect
Colour is one of the most important tenets of designing a great VM display. As such, it's incredibly important to follow colour design concepts to create the most attractive look possible.
When designing a display, choose products that coordinate with each other in regards to colour - whether they are all different co-ordinating shades or a complementary palette. Subdividing products in your displays by colour also gives off a great look and can help increase ticket value by increasing up-sells.