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9 Visual Merchandising Ideas for Retailers

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Recently many of our clients have been asking for key visual merchandising fundamentals for the ever-changing retail market in New Zealand. Upon researching credible overseas sources, we have located an excellent blog featuring 9 Visual Merchandising Ideas for Retailers that we believe will be beneficial for you all!

9 Visual Merchandising Ideas for Retailers

Posted on June 21, 2018AuthorGeoff Hineman

Traditionally, visual merchandising (VM) has invoked visions of window displays and mannequins. Much has changed in recent years and VM is an effective sales tool that extends far beyond clothing. Today, VM addresses all facets of your retail location, from storefronts, to in-store displays, to department-specific designs.

While the approach to VM has evolved, the goals remain true: craft a better shopping experience, promote customer loyalty, and generate more sales.

No one sets out to create a blasé product display. That said, the display itself is just one element of bigger picture: your retail environment.

When creating a new product display, realize that it is one cog in a bigger machine. The ability of your display to motivate customers also depends upon how it connects with the rest of your store.

To emphasis that point, Dunne and Lusch (2005) state that your store’s overall environment is a key element, given that 70% purchases are unplanned purchases or impulse buys.

That said, each new display should start with a holistic approach that considers a number of factors in your retail space, including:

  • consumer density
  • visual cues
  • lighting
  • scents
  • colours
  • music

To that end, we are going to look at nine different ideas to help bolster your visual merchandising displays.

1. Think Beyond the Four Seasons

It’s easy to fall back on spring, summer, fall, and winter for basic themes. Still, there are hundreds of different VM themes you can use throughout the year. If you are currently working with four themes, go back to your calendar and stretch it to six. If you can switch up themes monthly, that would be impressive, but it would also take a significant amount of work. Also, if your business makes a substantial sum around the holidays, you’ll want to dedicate November and December to that theme.

If you can come up with six themes, that lets you freshen up your look every other month, which is very manageable. For timely inspiration, look to holidays, such as:

  • Halloween
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mothers’ Day
  • Dads and Grads
  • Teachers’ Day

2. Support Your Theme with Variety

As the old saying goes, “variety is the spice of life.” It is also the spice of VM.

If you have a good theme idea, you can use it year after year. The key, however, is to spice it up with some variety each time you do it so that the look and feel don’t become antiquated.

One way to implement variation is with schemes, which act like sub-themes. For instance, if your theme is Halloween, you can create one display based on a Haunted House, one on Pumpkin Carving, and one on Halloween Party. These three different schemes create variety within a single theme.

3. Dare to be Strange

Don’t be afraid to shake things up. If you are doing what everyone else is doing or playing it safe, your displays will get lost in a wash of mediocrity.

People like new and different—something that makes them take notice. Try combining different ideas to see what new hybrid ideas arise. Feel free to brainstorm and create a whole palette of ideas. What about oversize props? Actual trees, flowers, or plants? Moving displays? Character actors?

4. Remember Basic Design Elements and Principles

Whether you decide to really mix things up or keep it more conservative, basic design principles will go a long way to ensuring cohesion in your displays.

As a quick refresher, the elements of design are:

  • line
  • shape
  • form
  • size
  • space
  • colour
  • value
  • texture

The principles of design are:

  • novelty
  • variety
  • harmony
  • unity
  • balance
  • proportion
  • emphasis
  • contrast
  • rhythm
  • pattern

No matter how bold or reserved you decide to go with your design, it should always have a focal point that guides the peripheral elements of your design.

It’s okay to be outlandish. It’s not okay to be sloppy.

5. Make it Dynamic

Consider making your displays interactive with elements, such as printed materials, digital content, text signups, and more. As society moves more towards digital socialization, these types of elements garner responses that otherwise staid displays don’t.

First, think about what types of multimedia elements would work best for your display. Would a monitor with a talking head that describes the products be enough? How about a kiosk where a user can mix and match items in your display?

Remember, you are often trying to capture the attention of a customer that will have his or her head buried in a phone.

6. Keeping Up Appearances

No matter how nice your display is, if it is couched in a retail environment that is unkempt, it simply won’t matter.

It starts with your storefront, which include awnings, signage, banners, and landscaping. Then move to your entryways. Is everything clean and well-maintained? Does anything need basic touch-up work?

Once inside, focus on areas where customers will be interacting the most, such as racks, shelves, showcases, POS material, and more. Are any of these items broken or just a little long in the tooth?

Could your walls use a fresh coat of paint? Are display posters outdated? Are any permanent displays gathering dust?

Always be proactive in these areas. Keeping everything fresh will help to shine a spotlight on your displays.

7. Be Generous with Signs and Graphics

Is your sales floor so big that customers, upon entry, wouldn’t be sure which way to go to find the products they need? If so, this is a good opportunity to provide directional signage.

Customers usually only have a certain amount of time to linger in your store. If they spend all of that time looking for what they need, they are less likely to make additional unplanned purchases that come from having time to browse. In addition, when applicable, throughout the store, consider having graphics that show people interacting with your products. This personalizes products and makes it easier for customers to see themselves interacting with the products, too.

8. Make Room

Smart floor planning is the first step; no one like crowded aisles. Beyond that, however, consider the height of your ceilings.

In general, 10-foot ceilings are ideal, but if you have room to go higher, you should. If you are capped below 10 feet, you should work to maintain proportion. This can include using shorter shelves to increase customer sight lines.

Further, ceilings lower than 10 feet can make customers feel crowded. So don’t overstock your shelves. This can reinforce that feeling of being crowded and lead to discomfort among your customers.\

9. Ambience Matters

You can affect customer moods in a number of ways, including scents and lighting. Naturally, you will want to pick elements that are consistent with your brand and customer tastes.

In Conclusion

When you see someone running a marathon on television, you don’t see the changes in diet and training that made this feat possible. The same can be said for your store. If you want your displays to really resonate with customers, you need to consider all of the other elements of your store that your customers may not be consciously looking at. Keep it clean.

Keep it coherent. Never be afraid to be bold or try new things!

Source: http://blog.specialtystoreservices.com/2018/06/21/9-visual-merchandising-ideas-retailers/

Amongst this blog some of our favourites were - ‘generous with signs & graphics’ ( be sure to check out our signage & ticketing section to assist with your displays - https://www.surestyle.co.nz/signage-ticketing/) and the golden rule to bear in mind how the finer details working together will create an experience that will ‘wow’ your customers.

For further visual merchandising ideas, visit our Pinterest Board ‘ Visual Merchandising ideas’ https://www.pinterest.nz/surestyle1668/visual-merchandising/ Keep an eye out for more overseas insights and blogs on our Surestyle Blog: www.surestyle.co.nz/blog/


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