Although the death of the high street may be upon us, there is still a lot of opportunity for brands to boost revenue through their retail stores. Don’t be put off with the way some big stores are heading!
When it comes to visual merchandising, this has influenced sales for centuries. However, the problems dominating retail in 2019 make executing a successful visual merchandising strategy especially important if you want your retail brand to survive and prosper.
We’ve created a guide on how you can implement a successful visual merchandising strategy. Want to find out more?
An insight to the retail sector
When it comes to putting a visual merchandising strategy in place for retail businesses, it’s all about creating a smooth customer journey. This includes mapping out the entire shop floor and creating enticing product displays.
There’s a science behind why certain presentations, structures and even colours deliver a better experience than alternative arrangements, and it’s been established that a strong visual display can raise turnover and strengthen your brand; even inspiring customer loyalty in the process.
“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” was one comment from Bob Phibbs from The Retail Doctor.
What do your customers want?
Next year, it’s estimated that retail sales around the world will hit US 27.73 trillion — so there’s opportunities available for you to boost profits, you just need to be clever about it.
What products are most appealing to your customers? A tip here is to go 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 — which is why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire.
One way to attract people to come into your store is put your latest products front and centre; this will increase chances of conversions. You could also use outdoor signs alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of — and buy!
The way you group products will have a significant impact on how your customers perceive your brand. A recent report found that exposing your shopper to the maximum number of products is a tactical method when carrying out visual merchandising. However, don’t make your displays look crowded. Utilise different display furniture, such as mannequins, racks and shelves — whichever suits the product you’re merchandising — and bear in mind that focal points boost sales by a reported 229%, so ensure that you effectively direct your consumers when they enter your store.
There are two main concepts that you should think about when grouping though, but what are they? The Pyramid Principle dictates that you create a triangular display, with the biggest item in the middle and the smallest on the outside — which ensures that your display doesn’t look flat and boring. Instead, it will catch the eye, as the products seem to ‘fall’ down towards the viewer. Equally effective is the Rule of Three. Within this, you create attractive asymmetry that shoppers will find engaging. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal — which means they pay less attention. By placing product in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance that forces the eye to take in each product individually, as opposed to the display in its entirety — excellent for effectively advertising each item.
Selecting colours carefully
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.
Consider a quiet zone
No one wants to feel overwhelmed when their shopping, so always create a decompression zone. This area of a shop is found just a few feet inside the main entrance and is believed by psychologists to elevate a shopper’s mood, acclimatise them to the store’s surroundings and get them ready for the shopping experience.
An effective decompression zone will help transport your consumer from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are decompression zone tips:
- 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.
Did you know that 98% of people turn right after entering a store? This information is extremely useful when it comes to considering a layout. Why not use your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store for a smoother customer journey? Or, try placing your best products at the right of your decompression zone, if this is the most likely route consumers take.
Considering the senses
You really don’t want to miss out on targeting shoppers’ senses either. Reportedly, 75% of emotions come from smell and our mood is meant to enhance 40% when we detect pleasant aromas. If you run a fragrance, soap or food retail establishment, are you harnessing the power of smell when it comes to merchandising?
If you run a bakery for example, and want to evoke a feeling of warmth, cosiness and home-cooking; ensure that your customers can distinctly smell your products baking from the kitchen by setting up the area to waft aromas into the main shop. Similarly, if your brand specialises in soaps and toiletries, place these strategically around your shop floor to avoid clashing aromas. 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.
Switch things up
You may have nailed the perfect look with your shop floor, but you must consistently change it up so that customers feel refreshed when they enter. A major part of tactical visual merchandising is moving your presentations as new stock comes in. Don’t let customers get bored of visiting you — keep changing things up and you can make it look like you’re constantly replenishing your stock and bringing in new and wonderful items (even if you’re not).
Don’t let your customers think that you’re lazy. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.
With visual merchandising, you can ensure that your shop offers something engaging to keep consumers interested — so why not start planning out your shop’s next visual merchandising campaign today?