Business Ideas

Bettering in-store retail sales through strategic visuals

Although many of our favourite brands are closing their doors on the high street due to signs of struggle, there is actually plenty of room for brand progression and we’re going to tell you how.

Ever heard of visual merchandising? This is how retail businesses survive. 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.

The significance of visual merchandising

When it comes to visual merchandising in retail, brands are expected to properly design the entire layout of the shop to a fun and unforgettable standard. 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.

CEO, Bob Phibbs, from The Retail Doctor stated: “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 demands from your customers

Research has suggested that in the next two years, retail sales on an international scale are expected to hit $27.73 trillion — highlighting the room for potential brand growth.

Know which customers you want to attract and know what they actually want from your business. 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 secure high conversion rates, you must place your latest products front and centre. 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!

Displaying products as groups

For visual marketing, grouping products could be a good avenue to go down. 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.

There are methods that retailers are known to use across their sector in terms of product placement. 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.

The importance of colours

Colour has never been more important for retailers. 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.

The importance of a decompression zone

If you want to create a smooth shopping experience for shoppers, a decompression zone could be a good avenue to go down. 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 won’t shop if they feel uncomfortable. 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 shoppers turn right when they enter, so this could be used to your advantage. 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.

Acknowledging all senses

You must focus on what’s visually pleasing, but you can’t afford to ignore 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?

Scent is another area that you could possibly look at. 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.

Adjusting to display

Don’t be afraid to challenge convention, you should always be looking at ways to improve 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).

By switching up your store, you’ll remind customers that you continue to stay ahead of the game and on top of competitors. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.

This article was provided by Where The Trade Buys, who provide retailers with life size cutouts.

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