There’s no denying that the high street is experiencing some trouble, with the likes of House of Fraser heading into administration and closing its doors for what looks like the foreseeable future.
Today, visual merchandising is one of the most influential focus areas for retailers wanting to boost their own 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.
Looking into the benefits
When it comes to strategically heightening visual merchandise, retailers must consider much more than their stations across their shop floor, including shelves and product displays which could lead to a more memorable experience.
You want your shop floor to look more than ‘nice’. 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.
Highlight the wants, not the needs
Estimates have shown that by 2020, global retail sales will hit a high of $27.73 trillion which opens up doors for many retailers across the globe.
If you know anything about your customers, make sure you know what they want. 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 ensure conversions, make sure to place your latest items front and centre. You could also use selfie frames alongside these displays to capture the attention of your shoppers and guarantee user generated content that can promote luxury items that you want everyone to know about.
Grouping products with strategic benefits
Has your business ever considered grouping products in one display? 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.
When it comes to product display, you should look into the Pyramid Principle and Rule of Three. 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.
Colour is extremely important when it comes to product displays. 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 area
If you want to ensure your customers return, create a decompression zone. 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.
No one wants to continue shopping if they feel too stressed. 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.
98% of customers turn left when they enter a shop. 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.
Considering the senses
Just because visual merchandise has become a focal point, you shouldn’t hold back on acknowledging the 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?
A particular smell is known to trigger an emotion or memory in a person. 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.
Making regular changes
Once you’ve nailed your shop floor to perfection, it’s your duty to still make changes. 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).
You want to stay ahead of your competitors, and you want your customers to know that you are. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.
Experience matters. 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?