Clearly, merchandising and visually displaying products in store is important. It plays a key role in getting the customer to purchase a product and being further informed about what it is that they want to purchase, especially if they didn’t plan to purchase it. And that’s the aim of visual merchandising, getting people to buy products that they didn’t plan to, which sounds quite bad when it’s said like that, but it is very effective!
Claus Ebster (2011) says that visual merchandising is the how the store can communicate with the customers without having to say a word. Usually it’s associated with fashion and how clothes are modelled on mannequins, but it also applies to any store, whether it be the way your cupcakes are displayed or how many boxes of Goupie should be stacked on top of one another.
There are a lot of different aspects to visual merchandising too. It’s kind of like analysing a painting, arranging the colours and the composition of the products that are displayed so that they’re aesthetically pleasing helps change customers minds. Ebster (2011) also goes on to talk about several points to consider in visual merchandising including; making merchandise visible, tangible and easily accessible. It does seem obvious but making sure shoppers can see the product is incredibly important! And people like to touch and look at the product before they purchase it (this is especially the case with Goupie!).
But what are the best ways to merchandise products in a store? That truly depends on the store but imagine yourself as a customer walking into your store for the first time. What do you see, what draws your eye, does anything draw your eye? Think about what parts of your store could look better and what product areas could be improved. “It educates the customers, creates desire and finally augments the selling process. It is an artistic method to ensure that retailers merchandise moves off the shelves faster and is a tool to appeal to the visual sensory elements of the customer.” (Pillai et al., 2011).
Experimenting with different setups and analysing which works best is ideal, but make sure not to make it too complicated, in some situations giving customers less of a choice can make them feel better about their purchases (more information and a case study can be found in Ebster & Garaus’ Store Design and Visual Merchandising, 2011).
We’ve personally found that our Goupie Minis work perfectly when placed till side so that they’re in perfect view of the customer. But here are our top 5 tips when visually merchandising products in store, and they’re based on the 5 Marketing P’s that most books will tell you about:
- Product: What are the features of it and what is the best way to showcase them?
- Price: Try and make the price as clear as possible, sometimes people don’t want to have to ask how much something is!
- Place: Where’s the best place in the store to put the product? Make sure the customers can see it!
- Promotion: Try and target the people that come into your store and match how you’re promoting your products with them.
- People: The integral part, ask people what they think! Find more information so that you can adapt and find the best way to feature a product!
For further information and research on visual merchandising, do take a look at “Design, effectiveness and role of visual merchandising in creating customer appeal” (Pillai et al., 2011) that showcases a study on the role of visual merchandising alongside some interesting conclusions that would help any store owner or worker. But while there are numerous different conclusions that papers, and books can provide, there is no better information provider than knowing your store and knowing your customers.
At the heart of it, visual merchandising is all about giving your customers more information before they make a purchasing decision, and the better you do that, the more likely they are to purchase those products.
Ebster, C., 2011. Store design and visual merchandising: creating store space that encourages buying. Business Expert Press.
Pillai, R., Iqbal, A., Umer, H., Maqbool, A. and Sunil, N., 2011. Design, effectiveness and role of visual merchandising in creating customer appeal.