The high street has undoubtedly suffered over the past few years with stores closing left, right and centre — with the likes of Toys R Us and Poundworld falling into administration as of recent. But there are still methods to ensure greater financial benefits!
For retail businesses, visual merchandising has led to a lot of sales. However, the problems dominating retail in 2018 make executing a successful visual merchandising strategy especially important if you want your retail brand to survive and prosper.
To find out how you can benefit from visual merchandising as a retail business for the new year, we’ve created an insightful guide that will ensure greater financial results.
The importance of visual merchandising
You want to create a memorable experience for your customer and this can only be achieved by a focus on visual merchandising — such as product displays.
Come up with a strategy that has an entire meaning behind it. 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.
Bob Phibbs, from The Retail Doctor in New York made one comment: “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.”
The customers perspective
Over the next few years, there are plenty of opportunities for retail businesses to take to ensure greater custom and continued retention. Did you know that by 2020, global retail sales are predicted to hit US$ 27.7 trillion?
Think from the customers perspective, what products do they want to see? 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.
If you want to increase profitability, position your newest products central — using life size cut outs of the product to capture the attention. You could also use banners alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of — and buy!
Grouping your product displays
Merchandise visualisers are renowned for grouping products together. 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.
If you haven’t already, you should consider the Pyramid Principle or even the Rule of Three when it comes to product positioning. 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.
Making use of colour
“Things that are easy to look at will be passed over, and things that are too outlandish will be offensive to the eye” was one comment from Jessica Clarke. 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.
A clear shopping zone
All customers look for a decompression zone when it comes to shopping. 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.
People want to feel good when they shop. 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.
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. Did you know that 98% of people turn right after entering a shop?
Taking advantage of the five senses
Visuals are important, but so is capitalising on other senses. 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?
When looking at smells for example, if you run a bakery 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.
Change is good
You should constantly be looking at innovative ways to switch up your store. 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).
People look for a great experience. 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?