7 Visual Merchandising Tips for Your Retail Space

These 7 visual merchandising tips make the most out of your retail space

Retail locations depend on the success of visual merchandising. Visual merchandising gets customers in stores with window displays.

Great visual merchandising also keeps consumers in the store long enough to make a purchase. How are today’s successful stores and pop-up shops making the most of retail space? Take a look at these 7 visual merchandising tips that make the most out of your retail space:

1. Ignite the Imagination with Product Grouping

Products grouped together can put a customer’s imagination to work. A store window can group together items by use, price, size, type, or by color scheme. For example, group together a heavy winter jacket, a pair of snow boots, a knit cap, and a sled. The sled would make window shoppers pause to look twice. Try replacing the sled with something more offbeat like a surfboard.

This is not one the most innovative new visual merchandising tips, but it still proves successful. Product grouping is enticing because it shows instead of tells by igniting consumers’ imaginations. They’ll be likely drawn to further explore the store for the products grouped in the display. Shopify suggests using the rule of three when creating a grouped products. The rule of three entails arranging items in groups of three to create balance and symmetry.

2. Engage with All the Senses

Although visual merchandising focuses heavily on aesthetics–hence its name–directives can also capitalize on the opportunity to engage with all the senses. How will customers feel when walking into the store? Where are those feelings driven from? Business 2 Community points out that customers browsing a site’s online products can only observe with their eyes. But when they enter a store they engage with all five senses.  

  • Hearing – Music affects how customers interact in a store. Try a playlist with a slower, softer beat to lessen customers’ pace as they mill around the store floor.
  • Sight – Use visual cues (lighting, color, balance) to direct a customer’s attention to specific products and displays.
  • Touch – In-store consumers have the ability to touch and feel textures. Avoid putting items out of arm’s reach and put them in the line of sight.
  • Smell – The sense of smell is more strongly associated with memory and connects with shoppers on an emotional level. According to Ad Age, scent has the strongest impact when it comes to enhancing consumer behavior. There are even companies that engineer scents to put customers in the right frame of mind.
  • Taste – If you’re selling food or drink products, create a sample table of seasonal favorites.

3. Support with Signage

Signage informs consumers of sales and promotions. It also directs people to different areas of the store. Where do you want them to head? If the store is clearing out low inventory products, usher them that way.

Signage also supports grouped products. For instance, announce a recently published cookbook with a large store sign. Group the same cookbook with one of its popular recipe ingredients.

Create signs that are short and to the point. They should be easy to read and match to the store’s theme. Promotional signage isn’t the only type of signage support. Signage supports clearly defined store departments or areas with larger than life images of products at work. It serves as a visual opportunity to lend to a store’s unique brand identity.

4. Create Hierarchy

Contrasting heights and depths grab customer interest. Varying heights can fuel interaction among shoppers and products. For instance, fan out items on tables at hip level.

Put baskets can on the floor and fill them with items easy to sort through. Large lights can hang from the ceiling in precarious manners. Position props or plants can on high podiums. And racks can be strategically placed.

From the ground up there is room for the eye to wander and pique interest. Use the pyramid principle if you’re struggling with creating a visual hierarchy. The pyramid principle makes items look like they are cascading in the line of vision.

Consistency is one of the most important visual merchandising tips

5. Make Your Store Instagram-Ready

Half of visual merchandising is getting customers to stay in the store long enough to make a purchase. The other half involves getting customers to enter the store.

One of the most valuable visual merchandising tips is to make your store Instagram-ready. “Instagram is the ultimate visual tool for brands, retailers and even new start up stores to get their brand message further, wider and more global, making their store a must-visit destination,” reported WGSN visual merchandising editor, Claire Dickinson.

Encourage shoppers to post photos to Instagram by promoting hashtags and creating unique displays.

6. Refresh Displays and Layouts

Walking into an outdated store is like seeing a car with a red Rudolph nose tied to its grill… in March. What customers see, smell, feel, and hear is their direct perception.

Even if it’s not something as drastic as December holiday displays in March, consumers still yearn for stores to stay current. Changes don’t have to be completely night and day.

When refreshing displays and layouts, remember retail brand consistency is key–changes can be as subtle as moving signage or front window displays. Updating displays and store layouts regularly will give frequent shoppers the exciting prospect of discovering something new.

7. Communicate Layout

Store and merchandise decisions are made carefully. Changes are intended to drive shopper revenue. Managers at multiple locations must be given clear instruction on displays and layouts.

Floorsets, visual concept books, style sheets must be made available to managers. A simple way of doing this is to share out visual merchandising folders across teams. Visual merchandisers can track layout success by measuring how change affects revenue. If you’ve found success is one or more of these visual merchandising tips, then find a way to reuse it again.


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