There’s no denying that the high street is experiencing a struggling period of its life — with countless stores going into administration as a result.
If you’re a retail business, you’ve probably used the visual merchandise strategy. 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.
With the help of Where The Trade Buys, life size cutouts retailer, we take a look at how you can boost your retail sales through an effective visual merchandising strategy.
Using visual merchandising in retail
Visual merchandising takes a lot of planning and time to implement, as you want to make sure that all areas are completely perfect before revealing them to your customers — while also understanding the importance of an engaging experience.
You must ensure that your designated product space looks good. 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 a retail consultancy firm in NYC commented: “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.”
Differentiate wants and needs
Believe it or not, retail sales internationally are expected to increase to $27.73 trillion by 2020 — highlighting the opportunity for excellent growth if you’re able to satisfy your customer needs.
Understanding what your customers want is crucial for success. 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 benefit from high conversions, place your most recent products in a central location. 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!
An insight to group displays
Group displays are becoming more popular for visual merchandisers. 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.
Did you know that there are some methods retailers follow when it comes to visuality? 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.
Determining the correct use of colour
Jessica Clarke, a visual merchandiser made on comment on the 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.” And this goes for colour. 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.
Introducing a ‘decompression zone’
Believe it or not, shoppers want a space that allows them to remove themselves from the chaotic shopping experience. 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 care about their 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.
Use your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store for a smoother customer journey as 89% of shoppers turn right upon entrance. Or, try placing your best products at the right of your decompression zone, if this is the most likely route consumers take.
Understanding each sense
Visual merchandising is all about the looks, but you should consider other senses too. 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?
The sense of smell holds a lot of power too. 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.
Switching things up
You must also welcome change on your shop floor. 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).
Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation. Promotions and seasonal goods only last so long — don’t give people the impression that your brand is behind the times or lazy.
Start focusing on the experience your customers have. 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?