Understanding and Optimizing Visual Merchandising Displays
Visual Merchandising in the retail business is a kind of advertising, a practice used to optimize the presentation of products and services that highlights the best of the lot the company has to offer. The purpose is multi-prong.
The store decor is designed to not just bring more footfall into the store, but also to make them stay longer, engage and interest potential customers, and motivate them to make a purchase.
Sometimes it is subtle, other times it is loud. It all depends on the concept you’re going for.
The various elements that go into creating successful visual merchandising, especially in brick-and-mortar outlets, are lightings, color combos, placement of products, displays, cleanliness, and orderliness of the store design.
Here, we’ll go into various things you should consider to up your game.
1 - Interior Decor of Your Retail Outlet
When we talk about how effective your interior decor is, we often refer to the overall vibe of your store. Taking into account everything from the color of the walls to the placement of your counter.
The feel of the store must suit and match the needs of your target market.
It needs to capture the attention of walker-bys from the sidewalk or outside the mall, have a big sign to catch their attention, or factor in strategically displaying an assortment of interesting items, products, booklets, or brochures to provide consumers with an inviting, welcoming, and positive in-store experience.
2 - Optimize Your Store Layout
The layout of your retail outlet, including its displays and decor, should increase engagement and time in the store, help consumers easily navigate their way around products they are interested in, be orderly, and improve conversions even as they’re walking towards the cashier counter.
The most effective store layouts are grid layout, racetrack layout, and free form layout. These common retail store layouts have been proven to encourage consumers to increase their time spent in the store.
This is particularly important if you want to have a leg up against your competitors after the pandemic is over.
3 - Displays and Mannequins
After walking past the entrance, which is also called the transition zone, consumers walk in with some form of expectation. Your retail outlet displays and highlights like mannequins have the important task of drawing your customers further into the store to browse.
Piquing their interest by sticking to either proven techniques or trendy designs, you should understand the mindset of your customers when designing the retail outlet.
If you’re displaying large items, be sure to keep them off the floor as much as possible. Generally, consumers are turned off by cluttered stores with no sense of direction. Consumers also display disconnection with unrealistic mannequins used in clothing stores.
4 - Point of Purchase Displays
Point of Purchase (POP) displays are generally printed or digital displays placed near or next to merchandise and products it is promoting. This is what you will usually see next to the checkout counter or where most consumers are doing some major cherry-picking.
Point of Purchase displays often make use of as many of our senses as possible, be it visual, touch, sound, smell, or storytelling. They are also put at a convenient height, position, and at eye-level to bring attention to the brand or special offer.
Vendor Shops are actually what we call a 'store within a store' where a section of the shop is set apart to provide different or promotional goods. These POP vendor shops need their own POP Point of Purchase displays to bring customers' attention to it while they're bobbing along in the store trying to make a decision.
5 - Shelving Displays
Studies have shown, time and time again, that the physical environment and decor of a retail outlet contribute significantly to the communication and interaction the store has with its customers in retail.
When the shelves like wall panels are properly placed, customers are more willing to part with their hard-earned money, even if your products are premium priced, when consumers take your environment to heart.
That is one of the reasons restaurants, malls, and hotels are willing to invest in providing their customers and clients with exceptional shopping experiences. The way furniture and shelves are set either increase or decrease customer satisfaction. Clutter, as we’ve mentioned before, is a no-no.
So, be sure to get into your customers’ heads when designing the store, place items that you think they like or want in prominent places or where they’re more likely to find them will encourage them to stay in your retail store longer and make them spend more in one outing.
6 - Poster Displays
When designed and placed properly, poster displays, especially ones that are placed either at the doorway or near products you’re trying to highlight, can be used to capture the attention of exactly the kind of people who would find the said product appealing.
They’re also more focused on ONE benefit and ONE offer, so it targets your ideal customers and encourages a positive response. The poster has, after all, one clear message and no distractions.
Poster displays are, most of the time, also portable and reusable. When designing your poster display, always include:
- Catchy headline
- Quality image
- Direct messages
- Call to action
- An irresistible benefit to consumers
7 - Music and Scent
If you’re in the business of selling candles, restaurant, cafe, bakery, perfume, beauty products, women-centric products or even entertainment, music and scent plays a pivotal role in attracting the right customers.
35% of customers who enjoy the music you play in your retail outlet tend to stay longer and 14% of those tend to spend more.
“Just as interior design is part of the in-store experience, music has become an important competitive tool for business owners” - Sounds Like Branding, Uncovering the Musical Myth
The absence of music, as it shows, can have a negative impact on your in-store customers. Silence isn’t very enticing.
However, you would need to know the kind of music your customers like to listen to in the background while they’re walking around in your retail store by profiling your target market.
8 - Window Displays
For many retailers, the window display is the ‘one-up’ they have over their competitors or even against the rising number of eCommerce businesses. There’s only so much customers can figure out when they’re walking past your stores, so when they DO walk past your store, within the first few minutes, opinions are forming in their brain cages.
‘Whoa...what is THAT?’
‘Oh, that’s interesting. Can we go in and have a look?’
‘Hhhhmmm...shall I pop in?’
‘Wow, this is going to look so good on me at the cocktail party. Shall I have a look?’
What window displays do it to:
- Help attract new customers
- Create the first point of visual contact
- Entice customers into the retail store
- Create a brand story
- Complement other ongoing or online marketing efforts
So, if you’ve not considered prepping up your window displays properly to do the above mentioned, it is time to do so.
9 - Graphics and Photography
This is one of the most effective outdoor marketing techniques for retail outlets who wish to bring attention to their stores in a high footfall area.
But first, the exterior of the store must be enticing.
Comparing a store with a barely-visible signboard with one that replaces old signs with new, stimulating signs, the latter tend to fare better over a long period of time.
Make no mistake about it but the exterior of your retail outlet also has the task of selling what you have in store. First, it promotes a brand image. Second, it brings attention to the window display. Third, well...a walk-in. If you have buntings or poster displays placed around your retail outlet, all the better.
It has an interesting way of attracting attention from potential customers who have been to your store before AND curious onlookers who have previously caught sight of the signs and posters. See it enough times, their curiosity might get the better of them.
Ultimately, that’s the job of your marketing materials.
12 - Seasonal Displays
Creating and designing the right seasonal displays in your store not only require a little bit of investigation but it also takes time, effort, money, and spending a lot of time in the think tank.
What most retailers do is to highlight holidays and seasonal periods that their customers are most likely to be in the mood to spend. They then mark the dates down and come up with a game plan well in advance.
The standard ones are Valentine's Day, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and many more. These seasonal promotions put your customers in the automatic mood to splurge right off the bat. When you change things up during these important dates, it shows that you’re highlighting products and services that are more likely to be of interest to consumers.
So, be sure to put the right products on display at important points in your store or highlight them as a part of your window display. It will go a long way.
Get Your Displays Right and Maximise In-Store Sales
The method, nature, and techniques used for merchandising displays vary from one industry to another, but at the end of the day, it predicates sales. It is designed to increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance your brand.
To promote your products and services not just prominently and efficiently, you actually need to coordinate everything from marketing, advertising, and right down to sales strategies.
If you think you don’t have the chops to design your displays efficiently, take it from W. Rae Cowan who penned Chain Store Age Executive. In many instances, smaller specialty stores rock the merchandising display game much better than large, international brand names.
It all boils down to how much more small retail outlets understand and relate to their customers. Because they’re more niche in their marketing, they are better able to create a feasible and enticing ambiance, just the right kind of environment for their loyal customers.
This explains why small hole-in-the-wall businesses or bars tend to thrive on the continued business of loyal customers. It's because things are familiar, and yes, everybody knows their name.
Contact Us for Consultation
If you’re looking for a reliable display and shelving company in Malaysia, you’ve come to the right place! Give us a call at +603-61566222, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our showroom in Kota Damansara, Selangor and let’s give your retail outlet the oomph it needs to close sales with simple changes to your store.