Why Does Visual Merchandising Still Matter in a Store?




  1. What is visual merchandising?
  2. Why is visual merchandising still important?
  3. Elements and types of visual merchandising.
  4. Rules of visual merchandising.



What Is Visual Merchandising?


Visual merchandising is the visual display, design, and visual presentation of goods and services in a store. It is the art of optimizing product placement in order to maximize customer engagement and purchase. Visual merchandising is a set of tools covering everything from placing goods in the store, designing window displays, and advertising signs to creating an exceptional atmosphere via lighting, music, or fragrance.


The goals of a visual merchandising strategy are:


  • buyers’ interest;


  • drawing attention to certain shelves and products;


  • emphasizing the benefits of the product;


  • orientation on the trading floor;


  • motivation to buy;


  • ensuring buyers a comfortable stay in the store.  


Following all the points of the strategy, you can easily lead the buyer to the checkout and get a loyal customer.


Why Is Visual Merchandising Still Important?


Visual merchandising has always been a way to increase sales. As long as reputation and sales remain the ultimate goal of every retailer, visual merchandising matters. As long as customers need a product, retail will live, and visual merchandising will help attract customers and increase sales.


One could say that with the advent of online shopping, the retailer does not need to draw the attention of the buyer through visual merchandising. But this is not true. In the case of an online store, retailers put a lot of effort not only into visually appealing displays but the entire design of the site and its usability.



Visual Elements and Types of Visual Merchandising


1. Color

An important component of the in-store visual display. You can highlight certain products on the shelves with colors, create a comfortable atmosphere and attract the attention of customers. For example, you can use the bright color of packaging or advertising signs. Also, you can highlight the product with the help of contrasting colors. You can place items of a neutral color on a bright background or surround them with goods of bright color and vice versa.





Avoid too many contrasting colors. Everything should be in balance and harmony. Consider brand colors.



2. Lighting

Lighting highlights the features of your products. Using various types of lighting, you can advantageously present new products or arrange the layout of goods in a different way. By experimenting with lighting, you focus the attention of the buyer and create a cozy atmosphere in the store.


3. Trading floor space

Another important element of visual merchandising. Here you can plan where to place store fixtures and goods, and manage and maximize the use of space.





Remember the way you use the space in the store affects future sales.



The most difficult moment comes when the merchandiser discovers empty spaces on the trading floor. There are two options and two opposite opinions among retailers.

Some will say that every corner of the retail space should make sales. Therefore, if there are some financial difficulties to add new equipment and goods, you can rent this space, for example, to a supplier.


Another point of view may be next. The overload of the trading floor and the lack of empty space gives the impression of a mess. This white space, or it is also called negative space, is important for design. The idea is that free space helps to highlight certain products and allows products “to breathe”. Therefore, not every square meter should be filled with goods.


4. Visibility

The buyer must see the product in the store in order to purchase it. Therefore, the merchandiser is obliged to ensure the visibility of the product to customers. But first, you need to figure out top-selling products and which items should be placed at eye level or grab attention with contrasting colors, POS materials, etc. To do this, it is important to analyze the store sales and find out the products of the highest demand. And only then you can determine the product that needs to be the most visible for attracting customers and increasing profits.


4. Demonstration of the product, display, and layout.


Future sales depend on product layout. The more efficient layout, the higher sales.


What are the layouts?


Vertical product placement (merchandising). It’s grouping one type of product (category) or the same brand arranged vertically on the shelves from top to bottom. With this vertical display, the customer could grab an item from the shelf of any height.


Supermarkets mostly use horizontal product placement (merchandising). This layout of goods is arranged horizontally along the shelf. In this case, popular products are laid out on a shelf at eye level, and less popular products are placed on the shelf below.


The display layout of goods attracts attention with bright colors, and unusual shapes and is placed separately from other goods. The display layout of goods is used in additional points of sale on the trading floor. Usually, a branded stand is placed separately. The items on the display are duplicated, they are not moved from the main point of sale.

A brand block is a place (block) on a rack allocated for placing goods of a particular brand, manufacturer, or supplier. This layout attracts the attention of buyers and increases the time that buyers spend at the brand block. And as a result, it increases sales volumes. Therefore, laying out a brand block is beneficial both for manufacturers or suppliers and for the store itself.


Planograms are used to effectively organize the process of placing and displaying goods on the trading floor. That is, merchandisers, apply visual merchandising in practice in building planograms. When creating a planogram, the basic rules of merchandising are used to effectively place products in a store.




Rules of Visual Merchandising in Retail


Rule #1

The retailer is obliged to ensure a rational amount of available products in the store according to demand. Keep in mind that the most noticeable for buyers will be the product placed at eye and hand level. And the most convenient place for choosing products will be the areas located to the right of the buyer moving through the store. Cash registers are usually installed to the left of the store entrance. Smaller items and accessories are placed in the checkout area, where the buyer can make an impulse purchase.

Make sure that there are enough goods for the layout in these areas of the store.


Rule #2

Set the desired product apart from neighboring products. For example, use this rule during promotions. Make your promotional product more visible than others. Use bright colors, unusual packaging, lighting, POS, etc.

Rule #3

Best-selling or high-demand goods are placed at eye level. You need to focus on the average height of a person and place products at the level of 150-160 cm. It is here the products are seen more and sold.

Shelves at eye level are called "golden shelves" and are the most profitable.


Rule #4

Group items correctly. Arrange products logically according to types and characteristics. Group by different parameters: price, product type, category, size, or weight. Create a layout that is understandable to the buyer, so that it is clear for him how to move between the racks and easy to find the right product. Also, consider product compatibility.


Rule #5

"Dead zones" - are places that do not fall into the buyers’ sight. Usually, we do not pay attention to what is below. And the lower-left corner of the shelves is generally invisible to our eyes. Therefore, it is advisable to fill the lower shelves with large-sized goods in large packages or place inventory.


Visual merchandising involves a large number of rules and guidelines. Besides, knowledge of the merchandising rules presupposes knowledge of the basic marketing, psychology, design,  sales laws of certain groups of goods, etc.


There are great opportunities for the merchandiser and a place for experiments. Which rules to implement is up to you. Things that will work in your store may not work in another due to local characteristics or mentality, or any other factors that require constant analysis.


It is important to remember that visual merchandising is not only about displaying products on the shelves but also building the right communication with customers to increase loyalty and income.

Be sure, that constant analysis of the situation and a competent approach to layout and demonstrating goods will help you achieve your goals.


So, retail visual merchandising help:


1) effectively place the goods in the store;


2) facilitate the search for goods for the buyer: it helps to navigate the product category, price, and type of product, and choose an item;


3) create a favorable shopping atmosphere;


4) increase the customer flow;


5) simplify the management of trade;


6) increase sales of related products;


7) increase sales and profits.


Visual merchandising remains important for every retailer offering a product that is being sold and the buyer is interested in it.


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