In today’s competitive marketplace, retailers are looking for any advantage they can get over their competition. It’s essential that you create a great customer experience in your store, and a lot of this comes down to how you display and arrange your products. Visual merchandising is a way to encourage customers to buy certain products and maximise your sales.
What is visual merchandising?
The meaning of visual merchandising revolves aroundhow you arrange products in a retail environment to maximise sales. Often, the process starts with a floor plan, because this is the easiest way to see the space you have and the journey that customers could potentially take through your store.
Visual merchandising is about more than just the store layout. It’s also about how you display products to catch people’s attention. Signage plays a role in this, but it goes much deeper, because you can’t put signs all over the store – as it would confuse your customers.
Visual merchandising starts at the front of your store (even outside the front door and in your windows) and continues throughout the whole store. When done right, it can result in sales benefits for retail managers and business owners.
Benefits of visual merchandising
When visual merchandising is done correctly, it can lead to more sales, and most importantly, sales of the products you want to sell. Of course, you’d love to sell everything, but retail generally works in cycles. So, you’ll have special offers, stock you need to move quickly and products with a higher profit margin that you want to sell more of. That’s where visual merchandising paired with a strong retail inventory management system work hand-in-hand.
The benefits of visual merchandising include:
- Help to sell more of your big-ticket items
- Move seasonal stock quickly
- Encourage shoppers to buy more than they intended
- Enhance the customer experience by making it easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for
10 Visual merchandising tips
Now that you understand the importance of using visual merchandising to increase sales and improve the customer experience. It’s time to start! These 10 tips will help you become a master of visual merchandising and boost your sales in no time.
1. Highlight the items people want, not need
When most people go shopping, they’re looking for a particular item. These are the items they need, but they’re not the products that should form part of your bold displays. In all likelihood, your customers are going to buy what they need. You want to draw their attention to items they want, encouraging them to purchase more than they came in for.
You might have noticed that grocery stores put common items like milk and bread towards the rear of the store. This is so that customers need to walk past a range of other products, specials and displays before they grab those essential items they actually need.
2. Utilise the front of your store
When customers first enter a store, they’re likely to be more susceptible to product displays, because nothing else has caught their attention yet. So, if you’ve placed the more expensive items, products with a higher profit margin, or simply items that you want to market more than others at the front of the store, you are more likely to grab their attention.
You can even use the area outside the front door to capture people’s attention. If you don’t like leaving your merchandise outside, you can use window displays. This form of visual merchandising focuses on attracting new customers, rather than appealing to the ones already in your store.
3. Use an advanced retail POS system
If you use an advanced retail Point of Sale system such as Square for Retail, you can gain incredible insights into your inventory management. For example, you can access reporting on items that are suddenly becoming more popular and create a special display for them. You could even find out which products sell better at different times of the year, and plan your rotating displays accordingly. These types of retail analytics are invaluable when setting up your visual merchandising.
In addition, Square for Retail gives you greater control and knowledge of your inventory, so you’ll always know when it’s time to re-stock and avoid missing out on potential sales.
4. Use lighting to your advantage
Special displays are great, but you need to find a way to make them stand out. One way to do this is with the creative use of lighting. If there are brighter sections of your store, this is the natural place to set up your displays. Alternatively, you can even use additional light sources to highlight certain products throughout the store.
5. Clearly display prices and discounts
When setting up a display, it’s essential that you clearly display the pricing and any other relevant details about the cost of products. If people have to search around for a staff member and ask for a price, they’re far less likely to buy. Remember, visual merchandising is also about making things easy for your customers.
Clearly display the prices of individual items, and in the case that you’re offering a percentage discount off everything in the display, make it eye-catching with bright, bold signage.
6. Regularly change your displays
To use visual merchandising successfully, you need to regularly change your displays. Most stores rotate the focus items in their displays on a monthly basis, or even more frequently. Not only does this allow you to explore the success of different product displays through your Square Retail POS system, but it also exposes customers to more of your great products.
In addition, if you have regular customers, product displays become less effective if you leave them up for too long, because they’re no longer eye-catching once a customer has seen them before.
7. Include one unrelated object in a display
This may sound a little strange, but in your product displays, try to include something unrelated to catch people’s eye. Hear us out. If there’s something in a display that seems like it shouldn’t be there, it piques a customer’s curiosity and draws their attention to the display as a whole.
You can also try using semi-related items to draw more people to a display. For example, if you run a shoe store and you’ve got a special on kid’s sneakers, why not put a cute toy in the display? It will be the first thing the kids notice, and this brings their parents right to the area you want them.
8. Group displays to encourage sales
Think of imaginative ways to group items together to maximise sales of related items. For example, use your Square Retail POS system to find your best-selling items. Let’s say you run a clothing store and the most frequently purchased items are men’s board shorts. Armed with this data, you can create displays featuring board shorts, beach towels, swimwear, thongs and other summer-specific items.
9. Use interesting signage
Visual product displays are great, but not all stores have the space or luxury of setting up eye-catching, bold displays all through the store. So, if you want to draw your customers’ attention to certain items on your regular shelves, use signage to direct them. You can even take them on a journey through the store by using a simple sign inside the door, for example, ‘20% Off Cookware in Aisle 3’.
Don’t be afraid to use bold colours, interesting shapes and other imagery in your signage to really catch people’s eye.
10. Capture all of the 5 senses
Finally, the very best visual marketing doesn’t just appeal to the sense of sight. There are numerous ways you can improve the shopping experience with the other senses. Slow, calming music, for example, often encourages customers to take their time and spend longer in the store. Pleasant smells have also been shown to trigger positive memories which is great for repeat purchases. You can even allow customers to sample your products. For consumables like food, this captures the sense of taste. For other items, allowing customers to touch is also a positive experience.
With all of these tips at your disposal, you can turn your store into a visual merchandising sensation. Keep your ideas fresh, keep trying new things, and track your progress through your advanced retail POS system. The only way is up!