Visual merchandising in retail is the practice of presenting services and products to customers in a way that engages and motivates the customer to purchase. As stores reopen and we move into Q4, many retailers are looking for ways to level-up their visual merchandising to welcome customers back and attract new ones.
We know you have a lot going on so we have compiled the best tips/articles/blogs we know of to help you refresh your space and use it wisely to boost sales.
General Tips for Visual Merchandising in Retail
Visual merchandising encompasses everything a customer sees as they move from the outside to the inside of your store. This means you need to optimize your storefront, windows, layout, and displays. The articles below have the tips you need to ensure your merchandising is working cohesively to attract customers and boost sales.
- 7 Visual Merchandising Techniques to Increase Sales – A short and comprehensive run-down of the main best practices for effective visual merchandising.
- In 10 Visual Merchandising Tips for Increasing Event Sales for Shopify. In this post Jen Hasty covers the importance of knowing your customer, color choice, and honing in on the details for smaller venues, trade shows, and booth displays.
- The best visual merchandising does more than present your product in an engaging way, it also helps your customer truly enjoy being in your store. 4 Ways Visual Merchandising Improves Customer Service and Engagement, by Nicole Simms, CEO of Creative Visual Solutions, explains how layout, signage, and technology all play a key role.
Visual merchandising in retail: Store Windows
Your store windows matter. Infact, well merchandised windows can increase sales by 300%! Revamping and keeping windows fresh is an easy way to promote specials and attract attention without spending a significant amount.
- The Trade Group recommends approaching window merchandising by first establishing goals, creating a plan, and monitoring results after execution. They put together 29 Essential Tips to Master Visual Merchandising of Window Displays. This is to help you plan strategically while keeping merchandising best practices in mind.
- 12 Window Display Tips to Captivate Shoppers and Drive in-Store Traffic by retail expert Francesca Nicasio for VEND recognizes your branding and visuals are going to be the key elements that get customers to walk into your store. Nicasio’s blog features helpful examples from retailers succeeding at attracting their target audience.
- 18 Tips to Visually Merchandise Your Brick and Mortar Store Windows by the Retail Doctor reminds you about the basics of good merchandising. This post also includes the essential, but less exciting, work like cleaning regularly and keeping your exterior in good repair. Using an Exterior Area Checklist ensures you make a good first impression. It also ensures your hard merchandising work is what attracts the customer’s attention as opposed to burnt out bulbs or overflowing trash cans.
Creating Displays for Social Sharing
When if comes to visual merchandising in retail, creating displays and products designed for social sharing is all about taking advantage of user generated content to boost your brand awareness and, ultimately, sales.
According to Forbes, 72% of Instagram users report purchases after seeing products on Instagram. Pinterest not only inspires users to shop, a whopping 90% say Pinterest helps them decide what products to purchase! Beyond fashion and beauty, home goods retailers and restaurants are capitalizing on this trend with photograph-ready products, plates, and even entire spaces. Take inspiration from Mariage Frères. They have put thought into product packaging, food, and stores that are all worthy of sharing.
Ready to up your social sharing game? See the tips below.
- 6 ways to Use Visual Merchandising to Drive Social Shares by Francesca Nicasio has both tips and examples. This will help you create engaging displays and encourage customers to share them.
- Thinking about a pop-up? Read 6 Tips to Make Your Pop-up Store Instagram-Worthy by Alexandra Sheehan for the storefront.com. This post focuses on best practices for getting customs to visit and post about your pop-up shop.
- If you are looking for general tips for mastering social media marketing, check out How to Master Social Media for Retail and Win More Customers by Brant Barnhart for SproutSocial.
Cross-merchandising Retail Tips
Cross-merchandising is a fundamental way to increase same store sales. When done well, cross-merchandising encourages customers to think beyond the single item they came into the store to purchase. It increases impulse buying and can help move stock that is otherwise stagnant.
- What is Cross Merchandising? by Meaghan Brophy for Fit Small Business covers the basics of effective cross merchandising. Brophy takes it beyond brick and mortar by including best practices for ecommerce cross merchandising.
- Cross-merchandising by Liz Wells for Talking Retail helps retailers think beyond obvious pairing categories. This post encourages tapping into the knowledge of your manufacturers and suppliers. For example, Mars Wrigley observes a connection between the consumption of hot drinks like coffee and the purchase of gum. Convenience store retailers can take advantage of this connection by placing gum and mint displays near hot beverage stations.
Visual merchandising in Retail: Lighting TIPS
Lighting is an often overlooked yet easy way to boost in store sales. Lighting helps you create the appropriate mood for you brand and store. You lighting design should consist of a number of grids that can be individually controlled. Set up a great base and then incorporate more layers and techniques to take it to the next level.
- How to Set Up Your Retail Lighting in 4 Steps, by Krista Fabregas for Fit Small Business, breaks down the four primary lighting types you can use to brighten stores and boost sales.
- Let There be Light: Retail Lighting Designs to Encourage Sales, by Lauren Ufford for Shopify, discuss the basics of setting the appropriate mood. It also had advice for choosing fixtures and why bulb choice matters.
- When you are ready for the next level, 5 Lighting Techniques for Visual Merchandising to Increase Sales has curated examples to help you think about lighting layers and application.
Visual Merchandising in Retail: Layout
Revamping your layout after COVID-19 means thinking about ways to open things up and declutter. As social distancing remains in place, consider which fixtures are too bulky or overcrowding aisles. Additionally, you should also think about how you can make your best sellers even more accessible. As you reconsider your layout, here are some blogs to help you.
- Kizer and Bender’s Retail Ready: Setting your Sales Floor to Sell! takes a look at required pandemic tools as well as layout tricks to help you adjust to the new normal.
- In Planning Your Retail Store Layout in 7 Steps by Meaghan Brophy for Fit Small Business is a great overview how to for planning your store layout using industry best practices.
- Layout and space planning are a key part of visual merchandising. It is important to carefully plan you space for the health and safety of your customers and employees. Retail Space Planning Amidst Covid-19: 7 Tips to Do it Right, by Francesca Nicasio for Vend, tells you how to maximize your layout for both safety and sales.
Visual Merchandising During COVID-19
- COVID-19 has completely disrupted business as usual. That includes visual merchandising plans and execution. 10 Merchandising Tips for Driving Sales During COVID-19 has expert advice to help you pivot your current merchandising to better suit your store and support your sales goals during COVID-19.
- If you have had to move out fixtures and limit display areas then you need to make the most of your remaining visual merchandising space. Utilizing Customer Data to Make Better Merchandising Decisions In-Store, by Krystina Morgan for Independent Retailer, details how you can gather customer data across social platforms. See what is resonating with your target customer base. Then, use this information to level up your in-store merchandising.
- Even if stores are reopening in some areas, others remain closed or at very limited capacity. This means you still need to pay attention to your “Virtual Merchandising.” Evolving Retail in the Face of COVID-19, by Terry Clark for Retail Focus, discusses how the fashion industry in particular has shifted their merchandising efforts to incorporate interactive content and community building efforts.
Common Visual Merchandising Mistakes
We all make mistakes, but being aware of common errors improves your chances of getting it right. Successful visual merchandising attracts customers, keeps them engaged, and helps them move through your store. Poor merchandising causes you to lose out on both traffic and sales.
- Let’s start with the basics. See Reasons Why Customers are Walking Past Your Store for the most common mistakes (and how to fix them).
- 5 Retail Merchandising Mistakes that are Killing Your Sales covers the importance of spacing, lighting, and signage so your products stand out and make their way into your customers’ hands.
- If 5 was not enough, 10 Merchandising Mistakes Retailers Make that Lose Sales highlights simple changes you can make to improve your visual merchandising and customer experience.
Establishing a Merchandising Audit Program
At Compliant IA, our passion is retail compliance. Our app was created to help retailers better execute their in-store programs, including merchandising. Why? Because poor execution means lost sales. In fact, 60% of promotional displays are not executed properly.
Yet, 86% of retailers agree there is a direct correlation between well-executed merchandising and conversations rates. A whopping 90% of purchasing decisions are based on visual appearance alone. Which is why it is so important that you have a retail audit program to inspect your in-store merchandising and execution. Need a little help establishing or revamping your retail audit program? See the resources below:
- Merchandising Audits: Purpose, Scope and Methods
- Conduct a Merchandising Audit in 10 Steps
- How to Build a Store Merchandising Checklist
- Retail Merchandising – The Definitive Guide
Visual Merchandising Checklists
If you need some inspiration for your visual merchandising inspection checklist, see these examples: