What’s Visual Merchandising, never heard of this term, how it exists in Retail?? What Courses people are opting for it? So many questions arise when we come across the important word in Retail, “VM”.

“Visual Merchandising is a term used for creative and innovative displays in Retail….!!!”

Visual Merchandising is all about “Detail in Retail”, the look & feel of the store which gives the best ambiance to customers. The Customer is given all together everything under one umbrella, from a basic apparel requirement to all the accessories used for styling oneself. The customer convinces is seen while placing each merchandise on the floor and during styling the mannequins too. 

Store visual merchandising has a huge impact on customers. Visual merchandising is a marketing practice that uses floor layouts, color blocking, lighting, creative and innovative displays, advanced technologies, and other store related elements to attract customer attention. Its ultimate purpose is to use the retail space to generate more sales. A Visual Merchandiser is the one behind all the magic you see inside the store in form of creative displays.

Visual merchandising is a time-tested retail concept that focuses on enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a product or store to attract customers and increase sales. We customers can’t simply afford to settle for unappealing and ineffective store displays. Its timeless design principles impact shopper’s psychology and drive traffic and sales both in stores and online, it’s to fuel the Retail purchases.

While visual merchandising is an art, it needs an artist to create visually appealing displays. The progression in visual merchandising has also changed the role of a visual merchandiser. The role of the visual merchandiser is to create a story. Visual merchandising is no longer limited to just pure visual display, it encompasses a wide range of techniques that are used across all the sectors but also play a more strategic role from a point of selling.

Coaching the in-store team on brand expectation, maintaining the in-store visual displays including mannequin styling, props, and product. The visual merchandiser also plays a key role in the commercial evaluation of the store and its space mix. Getting presentation right, and making sure stock is optimized and tempting to the consumer’s eye is crucial in any retail environment. The modern merchandiser has to be updated about the trends and adapting to the changing display mediums. 

Visual merchandising is a competitive field and progressing. The new age designer has a lot of scope in the field especially with technology and access to data. No longer is the role of visual merchandisers limited only to just decorating but gather data to create informed strategies to obtain optimum sales value. It blends artistry and data science, helping retailers get their message across faster and with greater impact.

Visual Merchandisers combine marketing principles, retail merchandising knowledge, and creativity to use the space and layout of the store to present the store’s inventory positively. They are professionally trained and may be tasked to manage the following:

  • Window installations
  • In-store displays
  • Interactive displays
  • Shelving
  • Point-of-sale displays
  • Posters
  • Price tickets
  • Promotional/seasonal displays
  • Mannequin styling
   Image Credits : Wowsville

Window displays play a vital role in retail stores. As windows are seen at the entrance of the stores, Customers get ideas about products available in-store, new season trends, upcoming campaigns & much more to add…! Styling of the mannequins in the windows of the stores is done in such a way that attracts more customers, the placement of the mannequins is very important as to highlight the merchandise & to mannequins to become eye-catchy.

Image Credits – Topshop

Mannequin clusters are designed at the store entrance, to give overall a good experience of Categories, New-season trends & Offers reflecting all over the stores. The fixtures are planned in such a way that all customers visiting stores should be able to access all required products & get attracted to the new products too.

Image Credits – Nike

Benefits of Visual Merchandising:

 Reflects your brand: Good visual merchandising helps you to align the in-store displays in-line with the company’s overall brand. 

e.g. – A brand is willing to have a promotional display in all its exclusive stores. It helps to maintain the Brand image and consistency.

·Engages the shoppers: Visual merchandising helps to create first impression displays. It gives customers good and positive vibes for future visits. It invites customers to the store and helps to find the right product as per their needs.

·Increase Sales: The displays in-store, a mannequin styled properly may help the customers know the fashion and trends in the market and the customer ends up buying it. It can also help them discover new products in-store. 

Visual merchandising displays can help your retail business get the results your looking for. 

“Visual Merchandiser can be an Asset to your Team”

Every inch of your store costs your money. However, there are many areas in your store that have the potential to make you money. Additionally, there are ways to ensure you’re making the most money per square footage. Understanding how much product comes along with its value, cost, and how it’s displayed is key in determining your merchandising margins.

5 major elements in Retail can create a huge impact on customer experience to grow in Business:

  1. Color is king: Color is powerful, and it can make or break your visual displays. A retailer might create an erratic display, but if the colors coordinate well, the display can still be a success. Consider using contrasting colors, like black and white, and monochromatic colors–both create intriguing, eye-catching displays. Using too many colors or even more than 3colors than we lose sight of the power of color and its ability to attract the eye.
  • Create a focal point: This visual marketing strategy to create a focal point at the entrance or the prime locations of the stores helps you grab the customer’s attention. It gives the customer knowledge about new products, on-going fashion, and trends and helps the customers to opt for it. The focal point includes a hero, a collection of bold new items to create high impact and pull shoppers towards purchase.  
  • Merchandising tells a story: Use powerful, sales-enabling signage to display the advantages of buying the product. By telling a story, you help the customer better understand the product and enable the buying decision. As long as there’s still a story, the sign can speak for itself. For example, lifestyle graphics are very popular in telling the story. No words, but the image speaks volumes. The merchandiser decides on the theme, the look, and the feel of a store, then evokes a desired effect through the visual displays. 
  • The maximum amount of Merchandise: The brand should expose the customers to the maximum amount of merchandise on display. As much as merchandise the customers see, as many as they end up buying. Consider using a circular store layout, which many retailers use. It’s powerful because it exposes customers to more merchandise than traditional aisles. Where your store does use aisles, place a display in the dead center, so customers are forced to stop and look at the products. But keep displays clean and sharp, and ensure aisles are spacious and barrier-free to prevent deterring customers from products.
  • Use space wisely: There’s a space in all retail stores that is the most underutilized. It’s the section between the displayed merchandise and the ceiling, use it wisely. The open space can help the customers relax and enjoy shopping, as it gives space to breathe in-store. 

Here’s an end to my knowledge about Retail in brief. You must be thinking 

Why I took this topic as my Best to start with is because I have started my career in Retail.

All about me, I am Riya Gupta, was working as Area Visual Merchandiser at BlackBerrys Brand – Men’s Wear with an experience of 4 years & looking forward to many more to come in Retail.

“Creativity is Contagious, Pass it on”

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