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Introduction to Visual merchandising
Visual merchandising, until recently called simply merchandising, is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. This includes combining product, environment, and space into a stimulating and engaging display to encourage the sale of a product or service. It has become an important element in retailing that is a team effort involving senior management, architects, merchandising managers, buyers, the visual merchandising director, designers, and staff. Visual merchandising starts with the store building itself. The management decides on the store design to reflect the products the store is going to sell and how to create a warm, friendly, and approachable atmosphere for its potential customers.Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays, including colour, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs such as smell, touch, and sound as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations.
Visual merchandising is not a science; there are no absolute rules. It is more like an art in the sense that there are implicit rules but that these also exist to be broken for striking effects. The main principle of visual merchandising is that it is intended to increase sales, which is not the case with a "real" art.Visual merchandising is one of the final stages in trying to set out a store in a way that customers will find attractive and appealing and it should follow and reflect the principles that underpin the store’s image. Visual merchandising is the way one displays 'goods for sale' in the most attractive manner with the end purpose of making a sale. "If it does not sell, it is not visual merchandising."Especially in today’s challenging economy, people may avoid designers/ visual merchandisers because they fear unmanageable costs. But in reality, visual merchandisers can help economise by avoiding costly mistakes. With guidance of a professional, retailer can eliminate errors, saving time and money. It is important to understand that the visual merchandiser is there, not to impose ideas, but to help clients articulate their own personal style.Visual merchandising is the art of implementing effective design ideas to increase store traffic and sales volume. VM is an art and science of displaying merchandise to enable maximum sale. VM is a tool to achieve sales and targets, a tool to enhance merchandise on the floor, and a mechanism to communicate to a customer and influence
his decision to buy. VM uses season based displays to introduce new arrivals to customers, and thus increase conversions through a planned and systematic approach by displaying stocks available.Recently visual merchandising has gained in importance as a quick and cost effective way to revamp retail stores.A close sister to visual merchandising is "retail experience". "Customer experience" looks at the same issues around product presentation but from the customer perspective, rather than the retailer perspective. In optimal retail environments such as the Apple Retail Stores, the visual merchandising, customer experience, and store design are all in synch creating amazing environments and unbelievable sales.
Selling a product (convenient/shopping/specialty) is incomplete without communicating its image. To build long term brand loyalty, in addition to the quality of the product, right image is very much needed. To attain this, many companies invest huge money the promotions. But many businesses neglect the retail front which is the face of the brands. In other words, the way the products are displayed at the retail shelves, the way the sales people communicate to the consumer etc. are the some of the issues, which if not handles well can be a great threat to the brands image. Visual merchandising is the art of presentation, which puts the merchandiser in focus. It educates the customers,
creates desire and finally augments the selling process. This is an area where the Indian business people lack adequate knowledge and expertise. This inadequacy is best reflected in poor presentation/display and communication the various national and international exhibitions with phasing out of quantitative restrictions after the year 2004, the textile industry will have to compete purely on the competitive edge of the products and visual merchandising will be helpful for the projecting the uniqueness of the products and thereby increasing the market access and sales. It is high time that the Indian textile and clothing industry should understand and adopts the scientific and professional system of visual merchandising rather than the traditional practices of display of products and communication.
PurposeRetail professionals display to make the shopping experience more comfortable, convenient and customer friendly by:Making it easier for the shopper to locate the desired category and merchandise.Making it easier for the shopper to self-select.Making it possible for the shopper to co-ordinate & accessorize.Providing information on sizes, colours & prices.
Informing about the latest fashion trends by highlighting them at strategic locations.Merchandise presentation refers to most basic ways of presenting merchandise in an orderly, understandable, ’easy to shop’ and ‘find the product’ format. This easier format is especially implemented in fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21 and H&M.
VM helps in: educating the customers about the product/service in an effective and creative way. establishing a creative medium to present merchandise in 3D environment, thereby enabling long lasting impact and recall value. setting the company apart in an exclusive position. establishing linkage between fashion, product design and marketing by keeping the product in prime focus. combining the creative, technical and operational aspects of a product and the business. drawing the attention of the customer to enable him to take purchase decision within shortest possible time, and thus augmenting the selling process.
Every shopkeeper and merchant's primary objective is to sell merchandise. When the giant nineteenth century dry goods establishments like Marshall Field & Co. shifted their business from wholesale to retail the visual display of goods became necessary to attract the retail customer. The store windows no longer simply allowed natural light to shine in the building or act as storage space for stock; they became important venues to attractively display the store's merchandise. Gradually, the design aesthetic used in window displays moved indoors and became part of the overall interior store design, eventually displacing the importance windows altogether in suburban malls.Museums and department stores in America have a shared history of displaying their products, both having come of age in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Like world's fairs, department stores and museums crowded everything together on shelves or in display cases. Today displays in museums are referred to as exhibitions, while displays in stores are referred to as "Visual Merchandising. Essentially, visual merchandising is the selling of a store's goods through visual means, incorporating advertising, and window displays, and interior sales floor design and display. Throughout the
twentieth century, well-known artists such as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol created window displays, while other artists who are lesser known were commissioned to design unique objects specifically for visual merchandising purposes.
1. Sell by showing and promoting. 2. Create an emotional connect beween the viewer and the display. 3. Encourage the shopper to enter the store. 4. Get the customer to pause and “shop” the selling floor. 5. Establish, promote, and enhance the store’s visual image. 6. Entertain customers and enhance their shopping experience. 7. Introduce and explain new products.
Selling a product (convenient/shopping/specialty) is incomplete without communicating its image. To build long term brand loyalty, in addition to the quality of the product, right image is very much needed. To attain this, many companies invest huge money the promotions. But many businesses neglect the retail front which is the face of the brands. In other words, the way the products are displayed at the retail shelves, the way the sales people communicate to the consumer etc. are the some of the issues, which if not handles well can be a great threat to the brands image. Visual merchandising is the art of
presentation, which puts the merchandiser in focus. It educates the customers, creates desire and finally augments the selling process. This is an area where the Indian business people lack adequate knowledge and expertise. This inadequacy is best reflected in poor presentation/display and communication the various national and international exhibitions with phasing out of quantitative restrictions after the year 2004, the textile industry will have to compete purely on the competitive edge of the products and visual merchandising will be helpful for the projecting the uniqueness of the products and thereby increasing the market access and sales. It is high time that the Indian textile and clothing industry should understand and adopts the scientific and professional system of visual merchandising rather than the traditional practices of display of products and communication.
Visual Merchandising Concepts
The retail visual merchandising shares many of the same principles as advertising, graphic design , and interior design -- the purpose of visual merchandising is to create a logical and visually pleasing environment that will grab attention and translate into increased sales.
The basics are pretty easy to understand - a clean store, well lit, with merchandise displayed in neat groupings, but as an industry, visual merchandising delves a lot deeper, focusing on the psychology and motivations of the target customer. Some of the top five tips for retail visual merchandising, Entice - Visual merchandising actually starts on the street outside the store. The creative and interesting window displays will catch the eye of people walking by and will draw them into the store. Numerous store owners make the mistake of cramming in lots of merchandise to indicate the variety of items they might carry, but the most successful window designs create a theme, mood, or "lifestyle" that piques curiosity, change the window displays with the seasons, and always reflect your newest or best-selling items, Impact - We've all done it - you walk into a store, take a lap around, and leave, maybe you were "just looking" -- more than likely,
though, something about the store or the merchandise displays turned you off. The state of visiting an establishment should be as rich as is appropriate -- any prospective customer should be able to walk in and feel respected and comfortable, whether it's music, product displays, lighting, or even the climate control, everything in the store can impact the shopping experience, Inspire - Create product displays that will show the customer how an item might fit into their everyday life. In a home store, that might mean a sofa-chair grouping or a complete table setting. In a clothing store it might mean dressing mannequins -- whatever the store type, customers are more likely to purchase if they can imagine themselves using/wearing the product, Identify - these days, many shoppers are busy people, perhaps they're popping in on the way home from work, or on the way to the party -- whatever the case may be, shoppers are more likely to purchase if they can find what they are looking for, easily identify the price, and then find the register and check out. Equipment should be organized in logical groupings -- whether by item type, color, or some other characteristic, and signage and product descriptions should be clear and easy to read. The Point-of-sale add-ons (also known as "impulse buys") can generate extra dollars in sales. Do think of small items that people usually forget -- batteries, light bulbs, gift wrapping, etc -- these small items can be
placed near or at the register as a gentle reminder to the customer.ROLE OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING
Visual merchandising is an artistic method to ensure that retailers merchandise moves off the shelves faster. It's a tool to appeal to the visual sensory elements of the customer. Visual merchandising is an unknown skill which is fastly becoming popular nowadays with the introduction of self service in retail stores in recent years and the number of changes taking place in super market merchandising methods, there has been increased emphasis on the kind of store layout, store building, fixtures, and equipment, color displays, silent communication tools, window display and finally opinion building through in store displays which has taken the art of retailing the higher applications frames.
Customer expects to spend less time for shopping and prefers one step multi brand retail formats and hence significance of visual merchandising is on increase. As per the opinion of Hemendra Mathur, senior consultant of KSA technopark based on the third annual consumer outlook study that the consumer is getting time saved and the time spent on shoppin (both grocery and non grocery) has come down. Further the study reveals that are increase in the impulse and unplanned purchases in the certain
categories. Visual merchandising helps in the increase of impulse buying.The practice of a visual merchandising is negligible in durables and home textiles and in the apparel and foot wear it is 20%. Many people experience in organized retailing are of the opinion that innovative application for effective retail presents and brand buildings are being used aggressively by companies in retail merchandising. Brands like Reebok spent 25% of their advertising spent on point of sale merchandising. The brand managers of Reebok feel that 80% of the buyers are influenced by the 3 feet experience i.e, point of sales material and visual merchandising are more effective than outdoor displays and advertising.Market analysis feel that most companies are unfortunately not spending as much time and money as they should on POS (point of sales) visual merchandising as a strategic tool for brand building, indiscriminately "displaying everything rather than displaying selectively and effectively to assist consumer in taking decisions.
About Visual Merchandising
SignificanceVisual merchandising is an important part of product and brand management, as well as marketing. It involves attracting customers to retail stores and presenting merchandise in a manner that will appeal to consumers. Manufacturing companies invest significant resources in researching and developing products that meet consumer needs. When products are brought to market, they must be displayed effectively so that they will be noticed and purchased by target consumers.
FunctionThe process of determining how to merchandise products involves figuring out how to create and arrange visual displays so they are likely to appeal to customers. Professionals who understand what appeals to consumers and what types of displays are likely to induce buying behavior design and execute complex visual merchandising plans for the purpose of maximizing sales.
One type of visual merchandising involves setting up visual displays in the windows of upscale retail establishments. This type of merchandising is usually carried out by store employees, who select products to feature and then design themed displays around the chosen items. The idea behind this type of merchandising is to increase traffic to the store and to promote sales.
Visual merchandising also involves arranging and keeping shelf and hanging rack displays full and in good order. Many manufacturers employ merchandising contractors to set up and maintain their product displays in department stores. Realizing that stores are concerned with overall sales, companies that want to maximize sales of their own product lines recognize the benefits of having merchandisers who work specifically with their product lines.
Time FrameMaintaining effective visual merchandising is an ongoing process. It's important to update product displays regularly. Consumer behavior and product needs change with the seasons, so displays need to change several times each year. When new products are shipped to retailers, manufacturers and merchandising contractors also send detailed diagrams that show how the displays should be
set up. These diagrams are called plan-o-grams, and they show where and how merchandise should be arranged.
ConsiderationsWhen deciding how to merchandise products, it's important to consider how potential customers respond to the visual elements of displays. For example, it's important not to crowd too many items onto shelves or hooks. It's also necessary to keep like items together, arranging colors so that the light colors are on the left side of the display with darker colors on the opposite side.
Visual merchandising trends
Visual Merchandising means different things to different retailers. So, lets start with a definition from Wikipedia: “Visual Merchandising is creating visual displays and arranging merchandise assortments within a store to improve the layout and presentation and to increase traffic and sales.” and “Visual merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer.” Now having said those things, lets discuss the trends of visual merchandising today. Visual merchandising trends are constantly fluctuating because retail is always changing. The challenge for retailers is to react to the evolving needs and wants of their customers.
Visual elements in a retail store have always been very important in attracting and keeping consumers. But in the past, visual merchandising trends dictated that featured merchandising be used primarily to promote sale prices. End caps were and still are, used for this purpose. However, twenty years ago the visual merchandising trend was to bulk stack end caps promoting prices on
single items. Today retailers often use end caps to promote new items and to inform customers of those items’ specific purposes or benefits.
End caps today are also more attractive. The visual merchandising trends of today find retailers using end cap fixtures, lighting and color to highlight featured products. Visual merchandising trends have also influenced the way store aisles are merchandised. Focal points are often developed in the middle of categories or aisle runs. This is referred to as Micro merchandising. Sections of particular groups or products are featured by changing the type or color of fixture on which those products reside.
Visual merchandising trends have also led retailers to sometimes include radius shelving in their product sets. Radii shelving are shelves with rounded front edges. When used as feature elements, they extend past the straight front of neighboring shelf sections. Product visuals are improved and the items featured have an distinct advantage over products that are adjacent and not featured.
Current visual merchandising trends have seen overall fixture heights drop in many stores. By dropping fixture heights customers can be enticed visually to explore other areas of the store. Today, retailers use visual cues to
guide customers through their stores for the purpose of increasing unplanned purchases. New store layouts not only use visuals to plan fixture placement, they also use visual merchandising techniques to design store décor. Visual merchandising trends have definitely influenced store signage. Retail store signs have gone from Styrofoam letters glued to a wall to colorful high impact three dimensional graphics. Even now we are seeing a shift in visual décor. Visual merchandising in stores is going digital. Flat screen TV’s are being utilized everywhere, not only presenting products in full color, but also communicating and in a very literal sense, selling. These digital signs are like having another salesperson on the floor.
Visual merchandising trends have led to merchandising that improves profitability and exposes shoppers to more key elements within a store. Visual merchandising is just one of the essential elements of the discovery process. In the book Discovery-Based Retail, you will be encouraged to analyze every part of your store. The more you discover, the more effective you’ll become.
Big Bazaar – India’s Real Retail Story
Big Bazaar is a chain of hypermarkets in India, with more than 100 stores in operation. It is a subsidiary of Pantaloon Retail India Ltd's, Future Group, and follows the business model of United States-based Wal-Mart.
Big Bazaar, the flagship retail chain of the Future Group, is on the verge of achieving a unique milestone in the History of World Retail – by being the first hypermarket format in the globe to rollout fastest 101 stores in a short span of seven years. Currently, Big Bazaar has 98 stores in the country, including the recently opened store in Mysore on September 26th 2008. Further to this, Big Bazaar will be opening three more stores in a single day – i.e. 30th September 2008, which will take the eventual count to 101 stores in the country. These three stores opening shortly in Pune (Kalyani Nagar), Cuttack (Darga Bazaar) and Delhi (RajouriGarden).
Big Bazaar’s journey began in October 2001, when the young, first generation entrepreneur Kishore Biyani opened the country’s first hypermarket retail outlet in Kolkatta (then Calcutta). In the same month, two more stores were added – one each in Hyderabad and Mumbai, thus starting on a successful sojourn which began the chapter of organized retailing in India. Speaking on this momentous occasion and remembering the days of conceptualising the hypermarket idea Mr. Kishore Biyani said, “We initially decided to name the format as “Bazaar” because we had designed the store keeping the Indian mandi style in mind. Since the size of the hypermarket was big than an average mandis, the thought came to name it as “Big Bazaar”. However, we had freezed on the punch line “Isse Se Sasta Aur Achha Kahi Nahi” much before we met the creative agency to design the final logo of Big Bazaar.” Though, Big Bazaar was started purely as a fashion format including apparel, cosmetics, accessory and general merchandise, the first Food Bazaar format was added as Shop-In-Shop within Big Bazaar in the year 2002. Today, Big Bazaar, with its wide range of products and service offering, reflects the aspirations of millions of Indians. The journey of Big Bazaar can be divided into two phases
– one pre and the other post January 26th, 2005, when the company rewrote the retail chapter in India, with the introduction of a never-before sales campaign “Sasbe Sasta Din”. In just one day, almost the whole of India descended at various Big Bazaar stores in the country to shop at their favourite shopping destination. Further, what followed was the time and again rewriting of the Indian Retail experience, wherein understanding of the Indian consumers reflected in the products and services offered, creating innovative deals, expanding in the tier II and tier III towns, tying up with branded merchandise to offer exclusive products and services to its customers. Big Bazaar is present today in 59 cities and occupying over 5 million sq.ft. retail space and driving over 110 million footfalls into its stores. The format is expecting the number of footfall in the stores to increase by over 140 million by this financial year. Over the years, Mr. Biyani for his vision and leadership, and Big Bazaar for its unique proposition to its customers’, have received every prestigious consumer awards both nationally and internationally. Says Rajan Malhotra, President, Strategy & Convergence, Big Bazaar, “What is important in our journey is not the number of stores, but the customers’ faith in us. It’s
the India and the Indians, which have helped us, reach this feat in such a short time span and today our country is creating a history in the World organized Retail. Rajan Malhotra, who is also the first employee of Big Bazaar, joining the organization in early 2001 adds, “Since beginning, we have kept Big Bazaar as a soft brand, which reflects the India and the Indianess. We believed in growing with the society, participating and celebrating all regional and local community festivals, giving customers preferences above everything else.” Every Big Bazaar is a small family by its own and the head of the family – Karta – is the store manager. Kishore Biyani, the CEO of the Future Group, has a vast understanding of the consumer’s insight, has inculcated the habit of ‘observing, understanding customers’ behaviour’, in every employee of the group. Future Group is confident of the Indian Retail Story. The Group has not slowed down its expansion plans despite the fiscal woes in the economy present today. Future Group plans to have 300 stores and is expecting revenues of Rs 13,000 crore by year 2011.
The company’s leading formats include Pantaloons, a chain of fashion outlets, Big Bazaar, a uniquely Indian hypermarket chain, Food Bazaar, a supermarket chain,
blends the look, touch and feel of Indian bazaars with aspects of modern retail like choice, convenience and quality and Central, a chain of seamless destination malls. Some of its other formats include, Depot, Shoe Factory, Brand Factory, Blue Sky, Fashion Station, aLL, Top 10, mBazaar and Star and Sitara. The company also operates an online portal, futurebazaar.com.
Big Bazaar is a chain of hypermarket in India, which caters to every family’s needs and requirements. This retail store is a subsidiary of Future group, Pantaloons Retail India Ltd. and is an answer to the United States’ Wal-Mart. Big Bazaar has released the doors for the fashion world, general merchandise like sports goods, cutlery, crockery, utensils, and home furnishings etc. at best economical prices.Big Bazaar group offers more than 100 stores all over the country with an amalgamation of Indian bazaars’ feel and touch with a convenience and choice of the modern retail facilities. The retail format of the Big Bazaar group includes Aadhar, Rural & Home-Town retail chain, Ezone home-improvement chain, sportswear retailer, depot and music chain is few among others.
History of Big Bazaar
The worldwide country chain, Big Bazaar, is formed by CEO of Future Group, Mr. Kishore Biyani. The group do
not promises more than what it delivers. Their basic attraction associated with reasonable prices is their Unique Selling Price.
Though, the products Big Bazaar stores stocks might not be advanced, but the customers are assured to avail the worth of the money spent by them. In 2001, the group opened its first store on the VIP Road, Calcutta, which was the primary departmental store offering regulated services of parking, steel vessels, apparel, electronics etc under the one roof at the competitive prices. Big Bazaar has become a massive hit with lower middle-class and middle class people as a major client base.At present, the Future Group comprises various formats and brands like Pantaloons, F123, Copper Chimney, Etam, Staples, One Mobile, Urbana, Brand Factory, LootMart, HomeTown and Central. The Big Bazaar has several stores located all over the India, among that Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi is those metro cities where the stores of Big Bazaars are located.
Facilities offered by Big BazaarOnline shopping: Big Bazaar has an official website, FutureBazaar.com, which is one of the most favorite sites among people of India for online shopping. FutureBazaar is an online business venture of Future Group, which sells
an assortment of products such as fashion, which includes merchandise for men and women, mobile accessories, mobile handsets and electronics like home theatres, video cameras, digital camera, LCD TVs, kitchen appliances and many more.
Discounts: “Hfte ka sabse sasta din was introduced by the Big Bazaar, wherein extra and special discounts were offered on Wednesday every week, to attract the potential buyers into their store.
Security check: At each exit of Big Bazaar, they use alarm systems or Electronic Article Surveillance system, which detects the products that has attached tags or not.
Big Bazaar-A paradigm shift to the Modern Retail Bazaar
Big Bazaar PRIL’s Hypermarket format that truly heighten up the expectation of value concisious Indian customer to a new level ever before. It has changed the customer’s perception to that extent that they have already started to realize that Big Bazaar can provide real value for their money. The first store opened in Kolkata in 2001 at VIP and was followed by stores in Hyderabad and Bangalore in short span of 22 days. These stores contributed over Rs.43 crores to the company’s business and over Rs. 2.89 crores to the PBDIT in first year it self.
Sabse Sasta 3 dinScience, 2006 Republic day’s mega sale of Big Bazaar has been generating a unprecedented response from
customer. Its now been extended for three days .In the 2007 customer had spent Rs. 125 cores and in 2008 it has made a sale of whopping Rs.300 cores During our project period, we had specifically studied those three days of Mega sale at Big Bazaar. We noticed several scope of improvement in the Big Bazaar store (Lee Road, Kolkata) like customer handling, stock replenishments and customer satisfaction.We have found that few areas need some attention from the management side. We realized that customer is somewhat willing to forgive a bit despite their inconvenience because of the understanding of difficulties of store personals and management people. But, if we will take care of those areas and fix them as soon as possible then overall profitability of the store and customer’s shopping experience would be definitely better than before.
Components of visual merchandising
A Planogram allows planning of the arrangement of merchandise on a given fixture configuration to support sales through proper placement of merchandise by Style, Option, Size, Price points, etc. It also enables the chain of chairs to have the same merchandise displayed in a coherent and similar manner across all the stores.The main purpose is to support ease of applicability to the merchandiser while also increasing selection & enhancing the merchandise display in a neat and organized manner. Window Displays
A window display is also a "visiting card" for the store. Windows are the most important factor within the
store/shop front as they can communicate style, content, and price point. They can be seductive and exciting, based on emotional stimulus, or price-based (when they clearly emphasize value for money with easy and obvious ticketing). For the retailer, the window is among the most controllable elements in relation to image and to what is happening inside the store, and there are number of decisions to be made about a how these effects are achieved.The best store windows can generate great excitement and talking point for an entire city. They contribute to the environment by entertaining pedestrians, while simultaneously communicating the products and services on offer.
For a retailer willing to exploit the full potential that a window gives, the image-building process can be exciting and have enormous potential. A fashion retailer, for instance, will often change a window weekly to show the latest items on offer. A glance into a shop's window by a passerby establishes the time of the year and, very likely, a timely contemporary event. It might combine seasonal and festive points of the year such as Back-to-school, Spring, Summer, Easter, Christmas, New Year approaching, Diwali, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day
etc. At other times the propping may be based on color schemes, materials or cultural themes - the possibilities for innovative ideas around such themes are endless.Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. It sets the context of the merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, presenting them in a way that would convert the window shoppers into prospects and ultimately buyers of the product. A creative and talented retailer can use this upcoming art to breathe in new life into his store products. Passion for design and creativity are essential to be a good visual merchandiser. A perfect design process and the ability to create ideas that are different are required. Awareness of happenings in fashion world is needed so as to keep up-to-date with the dynamics of the market constantly. Visual merchandising includes window displays, signs, interior displays, cosmetic promotions and any other special sales promotions taking place.
Components of Visual Merchandising: There are certain things which a retailer needs to take care while proceeding with the process of displaying his products. These components when combined together in a proper ratio will make a successful outcome.
Make merchandise the focal point:
The main goal of display is to showcase the products within the overall display area. Customers give three to five seconds of their attention to window display. The retailers visual message should be conveyed to the customer in that short period of time. It should not be like an unsuccessful TV advertisement, where the product is forgotten altogether and only the concept of the commercial remains in the mind of the viewer. The arrangement of window display should go with the product and should not suppress them to make it discernable to the eye. Right choice of colors is vital:
Color is one of the most powerful tools in the Visual Merchandising segment. It is a visual perceptual property.
Colors can be associated with emotions, special occasions and gender. It attracts attention and pulls more customers into the store. A retailer has to focus on the right choice of color that would match with the theme of display. It is not possible to satisfy everyone all the time, but it is possible to cultivate the taste of customers gradually and purposefully. A right choice of colors in the display items can turn walkers into stoppers and significantly convert them into customers. It is therefore mandatory to choose the right color for the right theme of display. A Halloween display would require black color in the display theme. Valentines theme should be ruled by red color supplemented with pink and white. A display of babys accessories should reflect light shades of pink and blue colors. A Christmas display should contain colors of red, green, gold and silver. Display themes to appropriately support the product: A theme is a display of sale items of similar categories e.g. a display of kitchen accessories. Its essential to have themes for all retail displays. They can be romantic, wild, or capricious, and capture peoples imaginations.
A good theme will lure the customer with a shopping mood into the store. Themes mainly depend upon the retailers imagination and creativity. Focusing on the right theme rather than creating a display with expensive raw materials is the key to successful window display. A shoe store theme can be a group of elves buying shoes. A theme for display of casual wears can be a group of mannequins sitting casually at a get together in different poses. Related themes will tug the heartstring of the customers and will pay off.
Display should complement the retailers other strategies:The content of the display should complement the in store environment and other marketing strategies of the retailer. If the retailer has a specific logo, the colors of the display can reflect the same color of the logo. For e.g. MacDonalds display, the clown is of the same color, red and yellow as in their logo. Cleanliness:Neat and clean arrangement is the foundation of an inviting a successful visual display. A beautiful display can be ruined by a cracked sign holder or an unclean display environment. Effective cleaning schedule of showcases and display fixtures is required.Change the display settings in frequent intervals:
Changing the arrangement of the displays in regular intervals will initiate new interest about the products in the minds of the customer. By designing a plan-o-gram and activating changes frequently one can thus be a proactive retailer. With globalization and the retail boom, visual merchandising is growing in leaps and bounds. It is not simply concerned about decorating a store beautifully; but must also symbolise the brand keeping the target audience in mind.
Visual Merchandising—the fine art of presentation and display—is one of the most important pieces in running a retail store, yet it is often one of the most neglected. Visual Merchandising is an art, but it is also a science with specific, easy to implement formulas to help you sell more merchandise.
A little store planning
Your first mission is to set your fixtures in a pattern that allows for maximum traffic flow. Your store layout will determine how customers will shop the store, and it very often is affected by the shape and size of your sales floor. Three of the most popular are the Grid layout, the Loop or Race Track layout, and the Free Flow layout. Grid layouts are commonly used in grocery stores. In a Grid layout the fixtures run parallel to the walls, so customers typically grab a shopping cart, start in a front corner and walk each and every aisle. Grid layouts are easy to shop because they offer clean sight lines throughout the entire store. Another advantage of the Grid layout is that it allows for maximum End Cap exposure.
And we all know that the job of an end cap is to encourage impulse purchases.
Use your ends to display promotional, and high impulse items never use them to house basic merchandise. You will find Loop—or Race Track—layouts in a variety of stores including many Target Stores. This layout offers a clearly defined main aisle which circles through the store like a race track.
Fixture placement in a Loop layout differs in different parts of the store: The perimeter fixtures run perpendicular to the wall, and the fixtures in the center of the loop run parallel to the side walls.
In a Loop layout customers typically flow to the right and move up and down the aisles in a serpentine manner. In a Loop layout, perimeter walls are just as important as end capsbecause the layout leads customers to the wall each time they go down an aisle. This means that walls need to be merchandised with particular care.
A favorite choice of specialty retailers, such as scrapbooking and gift stores, is the Free Flow layout. This layout offers multiple opportunities to highlight merchandise and create display vignettes that make the merchandise more romantic. But unlike the Grid and Loop layouts, the Free Flow doesn’t allow you to maximize inventory per square foot.
In a Free Flow layout there are no set aisles, so customers roam the store freely. Fixtures are not placed in straight lines; rather they are angled to easily move customers throughout the store, exposing them to merchandise displays at every turn. You may already have a blue print that will help you visualize the entire store to determine choice of layout and appropriate locations for merchandise departments. If you don’t, measure your store and draw a rough blueprint of your own. Add in all the columns, doors, bathrooms, and other nuances, and hire an architectural student from your local college to create a blueprint for you. In either case, make a copy of your blue print, mount it to a piece of foam core board, and overlay it with tissue paper. That way you will be able to merchandise and re-merchandise your sales floor on paper before you ever toucha fixture. This will save you loads of time and aggravation when contemplating floor moves.
Regardless of the layout you choose, the placement of your Check Out Counters will have a big effect on business. We Americans tend to shop the way that we drive: we drive on the right side of the road, so we generally stick to the right when entering a store. Watch your customers—you’ll find that 99% of them will do this! This makes the front right of your store prime real estate; definitely not the place for the check out counter. A better choice is to place the check out counter on the
front left side of the store where it becomes a natural end to the shopping experience.
A few more tips for your check out counters: First, make sure that they provide enough space for customers to complete their transaction. There is nothing more annoying than having to juggle change, keys, purchase, and kids with one hand while trying to get out of the way of the next customer. Second, stock your check out counters with fun items customers can pick up on impulse, such as “shut-up toys” mom can buy to keep the kids quiet, and those items customers most frequently forget. And make sure that you set interesting displays behind the check out counters so that customers are constantly thinking about the merchandise that you sell in your store.
On the outside looking in
Even with the perfect floor plan, it’s important to note that Visual Merchandising begins even before the customer enters your front door. Stand outside your front door—are your windows a good representation of what the customer will find inside?
We once sent a group of women into what we considered to be a beautifully merchandised store. We asked them to take a look around and report back on what they saw. We anticipated that we would hear only good things. Boy, were we wrong. One woman was particularly annoyed by the dead flies she saw in the front window. Now, dead bugs in your windows are a fact of life—every store window in the world has a few—but this woman equated the fly carcasses to poor attention to detail. She felt that if the store didn’t sweat the small stuff, then it probably wouldn’t go the extra mile for its
customers. We thought that was a stretch, yet we couldn’t disagree, because this was her opinion—her perception—and perception is what counts with customers.
Front windows must be clean, uncluttered, and have a simple message. They are not meant to be an historical museum of signs for community events that have already taken place. Customers will typically take just a five second glance at what’s in your windows, so if yours are filled with complicated displays, or too many signs, then most customers will never see your message.
The first 10 seconds inside the store You may have heard us say before that there is no reality in retailing, only perception, and the customer’s perception of your store is the only one that counts. First impressions—first perceptions—are formed within the customer’s first 10 seconds inside your store. How does yours stack up? What does it say to customers? Customers enter the store at the same speed they had in the parking lot. This means that many customers are rushed and distracted when they walk in your door, so you need to offer them the opportunity to slow down from walking speed to shopping speed. That’s the job of the Decompression Zone.
The Decompression Zone
The Decompression Zone is generally the first 5’ to 15’ (the amount of space depends on the size of your store) just inside the store. This area needs to be uncluttered, inviting and easy to navigate. This means that shopping carts and baskets and floor signs need to be placed at the end of the Decompression Zone or customers will walk right by them. Why not station a Greeter, ala Wal-Mart, in your Decompression Zone on busy days? The mere presence of the Greeter will delight most customers. The Greeter can offer a cart or a basket—a good thing studies show that customers with shopping carts spend 25% more in the store, and up to 15 minutes longer browsing. The Greeter can also tell customers about things in the store that they won’t want to miss.
The Decompression Zone refocuses the customer to a shopping pace, but strategically placed Speed Bumps get them shopping. Speed bumps are displays that work much the same way as speed bumps in parking lots: they slow customers down so they do not miss important merchandise in the front of the store. Your Speed Bumps can be merchandise displayed on tables, dumped in bins, or stacked on pallets. As long as the product is interesting or a good value, it will make for a perfect Speed Bump.
Just inside the store and to the right is a key wall. It’s one of the first things customers see as they turn right, and in too many stores it’s just another wall used to house basic merchandise. Use this highly visible space to showcase new items, to tell product stories, and to display high-demand, high-profit items. You may even want to use this
area for demonstrations, “make-it-and-take-its” events and other high traffic times.
Have you ever noticed tables of product near the aisles in stores? These are called Merchandise Outposts and their purpose is to entice customers to pick up product on impulse.You may recall walking through the deli department of your favorite grocery store on your way to the butcher shop only to pass display after display of items that make you think, “I need that, too.” That’s the power of a Merchandise Outpost: present customers with a cross section of merchandise while they are in a buying mood. Use Outposts throughout your store to cross-merchandise; as a magnet to draw customers through the store; to introduce a new department or merchandise story; and to feature top sellers and other highly profitable merchandise. But make sure to keep a selection of the product in its rightful department, where customers expect to find it. Even basic merchandise that is typically displayed on gondolas can be set to help you sell more. Here are the tricks every retailer needs to know:There are two ways to merchandise product placed on shelves: Horizontal and Vertical. A Vertical Presentation is almost always your best bet. For the sake of demonstration, let’s say that you have a 2.5’ section of
gondola with four shelves, and you have four different products todisplay in this space. If you choose a horizontal presentation, placing just one product per shelf, then you severely limit the amount of items a customer is likely to see as she scans a shelf. If she only glances at the second shelf, she will only see that particular product.
In almost all presentations, Vertical Merchandising is a better choice. Any time you display product vertically, you expose the customer to a greater variety of the assortment at any eye level. And since we are naturally inclined to read from left to right, Vertical Merchandising encourages purchases because customers will see your entire selection of merchandise wherever they look.
Color Ribboning versus Color Blocking
A word about color: we are attracted by color, so any time you can make an impact displaying product by color, do so and sales will increase. When you merchandise colors vertically, customers will be exposed to your full color assortment. Visualize the silk flowers in the floral aisles, or a display of scrapbooks presented face out. Vertical use of color is called Color Ribboning, and it’s always a better choice over Color Blocking, the horizontal use of color.
Small Sizes on the Left, Large on the Right
Stores that sell similar items in various sizes obviously profit from selling the largest size because it’s likely to be the higher priced item. When displaying similar items in various sizes, always place the small size of the product on the left, and the larger size on the right. This trick works because most customers are right handed, and will often unconsciously reach for the item closest to their right hand, rather than reach across their body or shopping cart. This trick can be used in many areas of your store including your paint and medium departments
Place larger items to the right. Shoppers tend to reach for the item farthest to the right.
“Hot Spot Cross” Merchandising
Every section of every fixture has what’s called a “Hot Spot Cross”—the part of the fi xture that sells the best. This is a good thing, because customers have a tendency
to stop at the center of the category, so the Hot Spot silently points out important merchandise.
To locate the Hot Spot in any fi xture, simply draw an imaginary cross through the center of a fixture. Incidentally, fi xtures such as gondolas with many sections will have a Hot Spot in each one of the sections.
Remember this: “Hot Spot and one to the right.” Since most customers will reach for product with their right hand, the position just to the right of the center of the cross is an equally hot display area. Use this space to display new items, and to energize classic product that might be suffering from sagging sales.
Variety of Shelf Heights
Is the shelving on all of your gondolas set at the same height? If they are then you are likely putting customers to sleep! Vary the shelf heights on longer gondola runs to highlight product and get the customers attention. In addition to exposing customers to more of your product assortment, a variety of heights will help you better manage your display space.
Visual Curve Merchandising
Visual Curve Merchandising involves the use of slanted shelves to increase thecustomer’s strike zone—the amount of product the customer sees in just one glance.Look at the different areas of your store. Do you have interesting product laying flat on straight shelves? That’s too bad, because most customers will miss it as they perusethe aisles. Call your favorite fixture company and invest in inexpensive plastic “fencing”that will hold the product in place and allow you to slant your shelves. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in presentation and in sales.
Cross-merchandising is a very under-utilized technique that mixes different product categories together: customers see and buy more because they can easily visualize how the items will work together.
The quality of a store is a major determinant for a customer, particularly a new customer, and should not be underestimated. The exterior appearance of one store, a block of business or a cluster, silently announce what customers can expect inside. Good exterior visual merchandising attracts attention, creates interest and invites the customer to the business. The exterior presentation can offer a conservative, progressive, lavish or dis ount image to the customer.
How a store visually welcomes customers has a lot to do with whether or not they enter the store. Although good prices and positive word of mouth advertising is important, it is hard to overcome the negative image of a poor store exterior.
A sign is a silent salesperson, and part of a shopper’s first impression of a store. In less than 10 seconds the sign must attract attention, tell who the business is and what it has to sell. An effective sign will communicate what type of business is being conducted.Off-premise signs provide information and direction, especially for travelers and new residents. Signs can also help effectively communicate a poor location. A sign’s design conveys a great deal about the business inside. A stark design and limited materials may suggest discount prices and no frills. Elegant and expensive signs materials suggest luxury goods and services. Signs may also be used to target a specific market segment such as youth, women, senior citizens, singles, etc.
MarqueesThis special type of sign is used to display the name of a store. An effective marquee must stand out from the other business attract attention. It can be used to announce a change in seasons, a special event or a promotion.
BannersBanners are used increasingly as an inexpensive but colorful, eye catching means of promotion. A new and interesting appearance can be offered by changing the banners frequently. The design concept used on the banners will be more effective if an attempt is made to
carry the colors and graphics throughout the store, and on promotional materials and newspaper ads.
AwningsColor and appeal can be added to a store’s exterior with the use of awnings. They provide the customer with the protection from weather and makes viewing the window display more pleasant as it reduces heat, cuts down on glare and reflection, and prevents fading of the merchandise from exposure to the sun.
Walks and entriesApproximately 75% of first time customers remember a store’s entrance, which provides the first and last view of the store’s interior. Picture walking up to an expanse of wall whose flat surface is pierced only by a plain glass door, as opposed to the protective feelings offered by walking under a porch or canopy.A properly designed canopy of porch not only protects the customer in bad weather, but can add to the aesthetics of the building. When adding an entryway, be sure it is designed to blend or be consistent with the architecture of the building.A cluttered entryway causes shoppers to indefinitely postpone entering a store, while an attractive, well-designed entrance inviting to the customer. Entrances that allow shoppers to come into a store without being aware of their entering, is also becoming more popular.
Landscaping should lead the customer’s eye to the focal point using color and texture to provide contrast and harmony. The focal point is the business sign and or the business itself. Landscaping can also screen undesirable sights such as garbage receptacles, power transformers and refrigeration equipment.Planters, flower boxes and plants used in front of a store add to the general appearance, regardless of what of merchandise is being sold.Well designed and sturdy benches for resting and relaxing can be a part of the landscape and may encourage customers to stay longer.Window displaysSpecial emphasis should be placed on a store’s window display because they are the information link to the
potential customer. Window displays can be as important, if not more important, than advertising. As many as one in every four sales could be the result of a good window display.Window displays should attract attention, create interest and invite people into the store to purchase goods. Shoppers also lose interest when the same window display is left up too long. It is especially important to frequently change window displays in small towns where customers pass by several times a week. Properly lighted window displays can help sell specific products or ideas that promote a store’s image.
Props, fixtures and signage
PropsA prop is something used with a product in a display that clarifies the function of the merchandise being sold or the story being told. Props are an integral part of a display. They are used in VM to tell a story about the product, the merchandise concept or the story itself. A display prop is something that is not for sale, such as floor coverings,
wall treatments, backgrounds, mannequins, shelves and steps. The merchandise in a display should always be the dominant element. The prop is there to complement or highlight the salable merchandise and add visual excitement to the surrounding area.
Merchandise and Fixture Display RecommendationsGoods can be effectively displayed on a variety of fixtures such as gondolas, tables, cubes, mannequins, waterfalls and other racks, display cases and manufacturer point of purchase displays. A fixture should not only complement the merchandise, but also the atmosphere created in the store. Each fixture should present the merchandise to the public and thereby act as a silent salesperson.One of the most common fixtures in stores are gondolas, movalble shelving approachable from all sides used in self-service stores to display merchandise. Related merchandise should be grouped in together on the end-cap and gondola sides. The end-cap should indicate the type of related merchandise on the gondola sides.
CRITICAL ISSUES OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING
Retailing them itself has transformed the way business is done and the so called merchandisers of disposition of store inventory. There are many ways and standard procedures to ignite sales, increase profits and maximize the net worth of the business. Visual merchandising helps in this respect. This calls for a concerted industry efforts to approximately value the importance of quality retail coverage such as self-integrity in store advertising, price verification, stock rotations, new item-cut and other related activities. To make effective the retail business one has to focus on the following critical issues of visual merchandising.
a) Graphics and signage: attention grabbing yet clear graphics by way to visually communicate the brand and these graphics when compiled with the right signage become the stalls complete instruction manual.
b) Trends and moot boards: This is misunderstood by many as mere decorations for the stall. The brand sources and moot boards convey the source, in fact the mere need of the product for the consumer to the buyer. A good trend story board display can exhibit a thought process nursing for the inspirations (research, to swatch development of the final usage of the product.c) Space management: Most displays concentrate on the floor management of space. In order to create a complete
desired ambience the ceiling space should also be given enough attention. Walls are not elastic space should be allocated to the available products as per the expectation of the customers to deliver best results. The major issues of space management are:1. How do we want our ranges to look?2. Hanging/stocked/customers etc.3. What stock density do you want to achieve?Generally, the more options/units you can hold for a given amount of space, the higher the potential returns. Space landing systems can be split into two typesNumeric and visuals: Numeric planning system simply allow users to account of space available and to calculate the ratios like returns on space. Visual systems allow users to create three dimensional walk through models of the stores and to preview the look of a store once ranging decisions have been made.d) Dresiforms and mannequins: The dresiforms communicate the 3 dimensional form of the product. Along with the fit a good mannequin can also be customized to communicate a character, for example, special kids wear mannequins with caricatured faces convey the playful mood of the collections.e) Synergy among the different stalls: A stall look should compliment the mood the whole fair too. So some visual elements from the fair, be it a color scheme or some material used should also be incorporated in the stall.
f) Out of the box thinking: With so many stalls around, it sometimes focus some stock value to grab the attention of the buyers. Innovative ideas in displaying the mannequins, swatches etc can invite many more people to the stall.g) Merchandise planning: The first function of merchandising planning is making a strategic plan, which is normally for a five years or more and is used to set the critical success factors for merchandising in terms of sales, margins and stocks. Next in a channel sales budget to take into account the effect of the new channels, new stores, closures, and refits. In simple words merchandising planning is a systematic approach and aiming at maximizing return on investment, through planning sales and inventory in order to increase profitability. It does think by maximization sales potential and minimizing losses from marked down and stock cuts.h) Range planning: Begin with assortment plan. In assortment plan, the goal of merchandise plan are divided into specific lines and such a way that the division results in the increase of overall marginal mix. Then a distributions planning in done. The link between available physical space and ranging done here is a key determinant of merchandising performance.
Basic Tips for Better Visual Merchandising
Great store presentation and product merchandising is like a good book. It’s got an alluring cover to entice, an interesting first chapter to tell the reader they’ve made the right choice, and a satisfying conclusion to get the audience to want more. The tools used to achieve these attributes are based on creating the most satisfying experience for the shopper, turning browsers into buyers.
Identity and First ImpressionsLet’s start at the beginning. An important element in any store design is the look of the storefront. Accomplished successfully, the entrance reflects the personality of the store and gives a glimpse of the merchandise available inside.Design a distinctive store logo that communicates your mission. Not only will you use this as a storefront sign, but it could also be painted or applied with special graphics film on the floor as a welcome mat or maybe on the wall behind the cashwrap. And you’ll want it printed on merchandise, hangtags, and point of sale signage.The way merchandise is displayed in show windows also has a lot to do with enticing the guests into the store. Whether you have a store in the mall or on the street, the customer has only a few seconds to view and be attracted by your displays. Your visual philosophy should replicate a billboard: make it bold, colorful, and simple. Baby shops often put one of everything into the window . . . and customer miss it all because they can’t focus.
Store LayoutIn developing an effective store design, a most critical element is how the store is organized for a logical unfolding or discovery of merchandise by the browser. Is your store easy to shop?There are several approaches to retail store organization and merchandise display. The first and most common is to display similar merchandise all in the same area. If your store presents merchandise in this way, you’ll probably have a stroller wall, a book section, fixtures for toys and novelties, and special cases for smaller or secured merchandise.You might, however, want to consider as an alternate presentation method, Lifestyle Merchandising. With this method, diverse products like apparel, books, lamps, furniture, etc., which all reflect the same theme, are displayed together in a room setting. Having spent my formative years in the furniture business, it became evident early on that helping customers to visualize how merchandise would look in their homes was a major contributing factor in affecting a sale.As a more thematic interpretation of ‘cross merchandising’, presenting products in this manner can also increase the perceived value of items that normally would seem unconnected with any other merchandise. Hence a simple “Star” motif decorative pillow is elevated
to a desirable collectible as it completes a total look for a celestial themed baby room.Finally, you may find that a combination of the two merchandising styles may best be suited to your market area or target customer. Similar to the new wave of home furnishings stores that have divided their stores into lifestyles sections of the home, i.e., The Living Room, The Dining Room, Outdoor Living, these stores also have departments in which products are presented en mase (e.g., glassware, cookware, home electronics, etc.). The same is true for apparel retailers like the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy. While they give you dressing suggestions with coordinated look mannequin presentations, you can also find your favorite fit from their large selection of jeans on the denim walls.Creating room settings in highly visible focal areas of your store and positioning commodity products in convenient locations that make it easy for the customer to stock up achieve the best of both methods of display.Organizing the store in either way presents a logical arrangement that helps the guest to browse, look through the merchandise offering, and determine which items would help complete the mind-picture they have for their or the baby’s lifestyle.Once the store is set, don’t think you’re done, however. Walk your store on a daily basis, reviewing the merchandise presentation and display as the prospective customer would. Face merchandise toward the main
traffic aisle, reorganize those lifestyle settings, and make sure all signs are in good condition. “If I were shopping in this store, would I be enticed to buy?”
Promotional Activity“What is my marketing plan?” The business press is filled with articles on major retailers’ recent new focus on child and baby furnishings for the home. Crate & Barrel, Pier 1 Imports, Bombay, Co., and Williams-Sonoma have plans to enter or expand into the market. These retailers will probably offer national branded products and be very competitively priced in order to make their presence known to shoppers.How will the independent Baby Shop retailer compete? Once again, good visual merchandising and store planning will play an important part. Maintaining a store presentation of desirable products that are clean, orderly, easy to find, and easy to buy will provide a great service to the parent or grandparent looking for something special. Good in-store signage is the important final element of store presentation and promotions. Category signage that helps to guide the customer through your store is essential. In addition, creating a professional looking graphics package that displays price and features and benefits messages clearly communicates the value of your offer.It may be difficult to compete with the larger national chains’ prices, but displaying current, fashionable
merchandise, sold by knowledgeable sales personnel and priced within a consistent value range will establish your business as a viable alternative to those stores.curb appeal: developing a powerful store image through effective visual merchandising"you never get a second chance to make a first impression."
Even though there are many influences at work in the shopping experience, the look of a store holds the most sway in enticing us through the doors. We even tend to sum up that initial in-store encounter in visual terms: a store is exciting, clean or well-organized or, at the other end of the scale, boring, messy, or overwhelming.
It is not enough anymore for a store to just look good from a merchandising or display standpoint. Who can afford to spend quantum amounts of time or money on improving a store's look without being assured of a healthy return on investment? Today, a store not only must perform by exciting and encouraging the customer to buy, but from the retailer's point of view, it must perform profitably.
Visual merchandising is comprised of six components: image, layout, presentation, signing, display and events. This article will focus on the component that lays the groundwork for all the other components— image.
Everything you do within the store— how you develop your layout, your presentation, your signing, your displays and your events —must fit into the image you choose to create.
Why Start With Store Image?
Image can be described as the overall look of a store and the series of mental pictures and feelings it evokes within the beholder. For the retailer, developing a powerful image provides the opportunity to embody a single message, stand out from the competition and be remembered.
As a rule, image is the foundation of all retailing efforts. While store layout, presentation, signing, displays and events can all change to reflect newness and excitement from week to week, season to season, they must always remain true to the underlying store image.
Studies indicate that a retailer has roughly seven seconds to capture the attention of a passing customer. The following elements combine to form a distinctive image that not only reaches out and grabs the customer's attention, but makes a positive impression within those precious few seconds.
An Identifiable Store Name A Powerful Visual Trademark An Unmistakable Storefront An Inviting Entrance A Consistent and Compelling Store Look and Hook
1. Identifiable Store Names
What's in a Name?
An effective store name sets the tone and provides a store's identification by conjuring up an image in the customer's mind. An effective name is consistent with both the product mix and the store atmosphere.
Your store name should be easy to say and remember, indicative of the images and feelings you want the customer to retain and unlikely to sound dated in a few years.
2. Powerful Visual
Trademarks On Your Mark
An identifiable trademark adds a visual image to the memory recall of a store name, by combining words and pictures, colour, shape, typeface, texture and/or style to make it stand out. Identifiable even in the absence of the store name, a successful trademark should be unique to you, indicative of your products and services, consistent with the overall impression you want to leave customers and be professional and well-designed.
You can set the tone for all of your retailing efforts by creating a trademark that is whimsical, sophisticated, humourous or totally "off the wall".
Customers simply don't have the time to "read" into the store, so just as your store name and trademark—the title of your ÒbookÓ—must provide instant recognition and recall, your exterior storefront—the cover of your ÒbookÓ—must project a welcoming, clear and concise image of what's in-store.
Traffic-stopping storefronts use a thoughtful combination of exterior architecture, signing and window displays to ensure a powerful first impression.
A store's exterior look is often referred to as the architecture, and comprises aspects such as building materials, architectural style and detail, colours and textures. A store in a Victorian brownstone building, for example, will exude images associated with the building's architectural era, such as cozy, tastefully cluttered and comfortable. Such an image would be very appropriate for a neighborhood book store, but not likely as suitable for a high tech kitchen retailer.
If your exterior architecture is not projecting the right image, consider painting or re-facing the storefront, adding or removing some architectural elements in keeping with your image, or consulting a designer to totally re-engineer the storefront.
The Store Sign
The store sign is a vital element of the storefront, identifying your store and beckoning the customer to take notice and stop. In realizing the value of a strong storefront sign, many retailers are employing new design techniques which include projecting or cantilevering the
store sign beyond the lease line, adding motion, or using three-dimensional lettering and unique lighting applications to add depth to the sign.
If your storefront sign is losing the battle for visual dominance among neighboring stores, consider re-painting it or adding more colour, making it bigger and bolder, incorporating your trademark, using new, more contemporary materials to create your sign, and/or adding motion or lighting.
A store's exterior windows or glass storefront provide an additional opportunity to reach out and grab the passing customer. Windows are integral in creating a positive
impression since they offer an opportunity to begin telling your store's unique merchandise story immediately.
Many retailers underestimate the powerful pull of an effective window, treating the area more as additional stock space than the true image-maker and magnet it can be. This
prime real estate should be approached as a showcase for the newest seasonal merchandise dramatized with props and themes in keeping with your store image.
The Customer's Vantage Point
In planning your storefront, utmost consideration must be given to the customer's vantage point. Place yourself in the customer's shoes in considering their reverie—the speed at which they are traveling, their preoccupation-levels and the chances of getting them to stop. The more hurried and distracted a customer is, the less chance there is of getting their attention.
Often, plans that look good on paper fail miserably because they are developed from the retailer's vantage point, not the customer's. Many retailers plan their storefronts based on a "head-on" perspective, which entails a direct 90 degree-angle approach. But is that the customer's vantage? Not typically. Usually, the direction of customer traffic flow is influenced Òby the location of a parking lot, a public transportation terminus or some other physical feature...displays canted or slanted to that dominant direction of traffic will get more serious attention." (Display and Design Ideas, Making First Impressions Count, by Paco Underhill)
To increase the chances of customers noticing your store, consider the following:
What direction and angle is the customer coming from? Is your exterior sign visible and legible from a distance? Is the traffic predominantly drive by or walk by? Are there any discernible traffic patterns and at what speed are they moving at various timesof the day? Are your store windows easy to read from the distance the customer will first notice them?
4. The Store Entrance
Rolling Out the Red Carpet
The entrance to the store is the division between the outside and inside environments. Mall retailers have an easier chance of luring customers into the store with a wide, open entrance, creating a seamless entry from the mall to the store. Retailers who depend largely on impulse traffic should try to create an open storefront, either by removing storefront barriers completely or by creating an unobstructed view into the store with a glass frontage.
Street retailers and some mall tenants who require portals due to climate control or a need for intimacy or security, have less opportunity to give customers a tantalizing taste of the interior, therefore have a greater challenge of persuading them through the door. For these retailer, an
unobstructed and welcoming doorway combined with a great window display can provide the lure.
In all types of store entrances, customer's need to get the impression that they (and perhaps their children) will be comfortable and welcome. Obstacle courses, visual clutter and "Do Not" signs on the doors are negative turn-offs that often result in a negative first impression and a lost customer.
Multiplying Positive Impressions
Creating a consistent positive impression is important—particularly so if you have more than one store. Customers should be able to recognize and identify with your store, whether it is in Vancouver or Miami. Even if your multiple locations differ in size, shape, design and even merchandise mix, you can create continuity of image by having common elements throughout the chain. Consider applying the same store trademark to all of your marketing, storefront and in-store applications, extending some common exterior elements to all of your stores and/or using similar props, treatments and themes in your store windows.
5. By Look or by Hook
Getting the Customer In
Within the first few seconds of catching their interest, the customer's focus moves beyond the store's exterior for a visual scan of the interior while they mull over whether to enter or not. Getting a customer through the door is indeed a victory.
In most instances, customers are either on a mission to make a planned purchase (the Seekers), or are shopping for amusement, entertainment or ideas (the Browsers).
Seekers may plan a trip to your store to make a premeditated purchase or may decide to enter because they are comparison shopping for something specific. For the seeker, a deeper look into the store must reinforce their confidence that the store will have what they are seeking and that they can get in and out easily and quickly.
Browsers are more inclined to enter a store impulsively, drawn by the overall impression that a store has something they should check out. For the browser, a further look into the store must plant a seed of interest and hook them in.
For both seekers and browsers, the deeper glance into the store and the resulting decision—to enter, or not—is often attributed to the overall store look and a compelling hook.
A Visual Look
An inviting entrance is crucial in stopping the customer and establishing a positive first impression, but if the inside store messages create feelings of inconsistency or confusion, all is lost. For example, a clear and well-articulated store entrance that is followed up with a barrage of inconsistent aisle patterns, sloppy merchandising and confusing signs signals to the customer that the exterior image will not be fulfilled on the inside. Truly impressive stores are consistent in all efforts from the storefront right through to the stock room.
A Visual Hook
Visual hooks are a call to action that diverts a customer's attention to your store with a "Stop—there's something here for you!" Powerful visual hooks are created by marrying other visual merchandising components for a more memorable first impression. An exciting entrance presentation, an effectively signed promotional offering, a powerful interior display, in-store animation or events all
serve as magnets to draw the customer in.
Audio Appeal When effectively delivered, music can have an audible effect on creating the desired mood and image, putting customers in a buying mood and providing a stimulating environment. In fact, extensive studies on the affects of environmental music in the retail industry reveal that when stores play music customers perceive that time in line ups is shorter, customer service is perceived to be friendlier and customers spend more time shopping in the store.
A positive and persuasive first impression is formed in a few brief seconds. The combined efforts of store name, exterior signing, architecture, window displays and the entrance to the store set the tone and create an image of mental pictures in the customer's subconscious.
Take time to plan the display. Consider what you want to accomplish, develop a budget and determine a central theme. You may even want to sketch your display on paper. Gather your visual display tool box, the merchandise and any props. Make sure all materials and location (tables, windows, racks) are clean. Choose a slow time of the day or build the display after hours.
Elements of Effective Visual Merchandising
Balance: Asymmetrical rather than symmetrical balance with the display.Size of Objects: Place the largest object into display first.Color: Helps set mood and feelings.Focal Point: Where product and props/signage and background come together.Lighting: Should accent focal point, if possible.Simplicity: Less is more so know when to stop and don't add too many items.
Once the display is finished, add appropriate signage. Take photos of the display and keep record of the product sales during the display's existence. Save your information in a file folder for easy reference. By documenting its success, you can re-create the display next year or if it flops, you can make sure you don't repeat the same mistakes.
Big Bazaar and its Visual merchandising
Retailers look to sell via visual merchandising
With the retail sector becoming popular by the day, companies are now looking at visual merchandising (VM) to better sell their products. VM is the art of presenting merchandise, putting the product into focus. “VM is becoming a part and parcel of the retail sector. The idea is to show more in order to sell more,” said Jaideep Banerjee, AGM-operations, Piramyd Mega Store. VM helps us in promoting new European trends in the Indian markets, Banerjee said. We also focuss on theme based presentations,” he added. Shibani Shourie, senior manager of planning and communications, Pantaloons said, “Though at a nascent stage, retail merchandising in the country is slowly catching on with so many malls mushrooming across the country. Some years ago only a few companies had a separate post for VM.” The company has a team of trend watchers who closely observe fashions in various parts of the country. “The idea of VM is to minimise human intervention as much as possible at the point of purchase,” Shourie said.
They focus on styling and try to give a fresher and newer look, she further said. The Pantaloon group, with Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar and the larger lifestyle stores, has roped in over 150 visual merchandisers, the highest in the country. The VMs are generally selected from design schools like NID and Nift or from fine arts or other designing institutions.
The displays are usually changed every 4-6 weeks. VM is not only restricted to a presentation wall or display point but has travelled farther to ceilings and floors. Also a 2-6 week training programme is given to freshers to tap their potentials. The inadequacy reflected in poor presentation or displays can also hamper the sale of a product hence utmost care it taken to turn it into a suitable visuale presentation. According to Manish Saksena, product head, buying and design of Lifestyle, a subsidy of the Dubai-based
Paramound group, “This trend came to India 10 years ago as international brands wanted to present themselves differently from the way we did.” “It has become almost impossible for stores to exist without VM. The larger the setup the more is the requirement for visual merchandisers,” Saksena said. “Internationally there are institutes that have proper dedicated coursed for VM which is still to happen effectively in India,” he added.
Recently, Retailers Association of India (RAI), and Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, (MICA) have joined hands to launch a six month Professional Programme in Visual Merchandising & Creative Communications for the first time in India. “Although VM contributes 40-60 per cent of the total promotion in retail it is not very well studied and also lacks professionalism,” said Hemant Trivedi, head-retail academic area, MICA. Currently there is a lot of outsourcing happening, he added.
Talking about employment generation Trivedi said, “As much as 10-15 per cent of total employment in retail will be from VM directly or indirectly.”
From the personal survey and research on Big Bazaar’s Visual Merchandising:
Big bazaar has been adopting some really good visual merchandising techniques. The following are the main observations that are made from the target company are:-
Walkway and exterior layout
Big Bazaar has a wonderful and spacious walkway layout with a considerably large parking area for the customers who visit the store. Since it is located mostly in the central and major areas of the cities, it has access to all types of customers, each belonging to various economic classes.It has some good landscaping as well as the exterior signs are quiet attractive to the customer’s eye!
Big Bazaar has made good use of props and fixtures. These differ from product to product that they offer for sale. The entire shop is strategically designed in such a way that all the basic need are met in the first floor of the store followed by various other products in the other floors. Each floor is exclusively designed for a particular kind of product line. For instance, it has a separate for all children clothes, toys and kids accessories.
A separate floor is maintained for clothing for the youth, women and men. Another floor is dedicated to all household commodities and another for all food items.Mannequins for clothing and gondolas in case of grocery are some of the props and fixtures that Big Bazaar has used. Even though window display do no play a major role in this particular store, they made proper use of lighting and color sequences throughout the store; both interior as well as exterior.
All the items are placed in a very neat manner and constant assistance is provided to the customers and this attracts a great deal of potential buyers to the store, making them to visit the store on a regular basis. Flow of product offerings are blended in a logical progression.
Visual merchandising tips. Visual impact is a huge component of retail merchandising. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as color, can catch a shopper’s attention and also greatly affect their mood. In today’s ultra competitive market place it is of paramount importance that retailers understand the basics of visual merchandising. Here are 5 visual merchandising tips to help you maximize your efforts.
1. Display sale products in a creative way. When building a product display look for products that are natural add-ons to the main product featured. A great visual merchandising tip for a grocery store: Build an end cap special on tomato soup, but don’t just stop with the soup, get creative. Merchandise the entire end cap with tomato soup then place a shelf at eye level displaying brightly colored soup bowls as an add-on sale item. Visually the display would have a repeating label accented by one ribbon shelf of bowls. This is good visual merchandising practice and great way to increase margin.
2. Use accent lighting to feature products. Customers are drawn to light. Lighting can make products shine and bring colors to life. Using this visual merchandising tip to
wash a display wall with light will enhance any product. Accent lighting creates visual interest for shoppers, and magically puts products in their sight. Once a product has captured a customer’s attention the odds are increased that a purchase is at hand. This visual merchandising tip will impact your customers’ impression of their shopping experience and your profits.
3. Change displays weekly. This visual merchandising tip reminds us that customers want to see new and different products. There is an aspect of entertainment and education that customers appreciate when stores change their displays. Stores that don’t change their displays weekly will have customers simply walking past displays that are no longer fresh. If the customers have seen the same end cap for the last six weeks, the displays are no longer new or relevant to them. These stores will not reap the potential rewards of incremental or add-on sales and can lose out to their competition. If the competitor down the street is constantly and creatively changing their visuals, there is a good chance shoppers will gravitate to that store. 4.Color matters. Visual merchandising tips like this one
are at the core of any solid merchandising plan. Color can demand a shopper’s attention, evoke emotion and influence decisions. Your merchandising plan should include bright colors not only for displays or end caps, but also for the middle of aisle runs. Visually painting
your store with colorful focal points will help draw shoppers to those key areas.
4.Merchandising themes Themes group products together for a powerful visual message. Theme merchandising is a fun way to communicate seasonal activities or other information. If your store is a hardware store, use garden gloves, flower bulbs, decorative pots, hand gardening tools, and potting soil to get your sales started for spring. Outdoor grilling displays are great themes for grocery stores and home centers. Backyard chefs will be attracted to every item in your display. Themes connect customers to projects or activities, and as a result, connect their spending to your profits.
Maximizing your Visual Merchandising Potential
The Goals of Visual MerchandisingVisual merchandising can metaphorically be considered your “silent salesperson,” achieving the following goals:Improving service
Educating the customer
Increasing productivity levels
Reinforcing store image
Visibility, simplicity, originality, cleanliness, and timeliness are the “Golden Rules” of effective visual merchandising presentations.
Proper Placement and Presentation
Virtually every area of your practice holds the potential for effective merchandising. From windows and walls ... to ceilings and countertops ... opportunities abound for quick identification of frames and lenses, for focusing attention on a favorite brand, or for communicating a desired message.
Window Presentations: Windows are a magnetic draw that can convert the potential passerby into real patient profitability. Focus attention on one or two important themes - be it an artful arrangement of the hottest designer frames ... or a well done vignette featuring your newest sunwear introductions. Too much unrelated material confuses rather than enhances your presentation.
Lease Line (entryway) Opportunities: Here’s the place to introduce a special promotion ... announce an event ... or elicit inquiries concerning a new product or service. Floor standing sign holders with back-to-back signage that can be read from either direction ... overhead banners that deliver a stand-out message ... or a floor-standing fixture enhanced with promotional graphics … all offer the
potential to pique patient curiosity as they enter your practice.
Waiting Room Materials: What a perfect opportunity to present patients with a quick read or a take-home pamphlet on the vital importance of vision care for the whole family ... or the quality differences among different brands of sunwear or eyewear... or the hottest new lens options and frame materials. Displaying and disseminating these materials emphasize your commitment toward the delivery of quality care and materials.Wall-mounted Displays: Use your wall space to create attractive and functional visual merchandising systems tailored to your dispensing area. From convenient slat wall displays to high-impact light boxes featuring beautiful back lit graphics (duratrans), high visibility walls offer maximum impact in merchandising and marketing your best selling brands. Be sure to intersperse your frame offerings with logos, lifestyle graphics, and brief “sound bites” of product information.
Countertop Merchandising: While countertop space is often limited, you can optimize your counter space with small, space-saving frame or lens displays positioned adjacent to appropriate lifestyle and promotional countercards. Wherever space permits, you might consider featuring ‘Informational Countercards’
addressing such topics as the importance of maximum sun protection, the concept of prescription sunwear, or an eyewear or lens offering’s unique points of difference.
In Case Presentations: Tent logos, couvettes, and in-case signage are but a few of the wide variety of merchandising opportunities designed to enhance your under-glass presentations. Eyewear presented under glass often conveys an upscale image – the feeling of a treasured collectable or an important piece of jewelry.
Your Patient PopulationWho are your patients and what do they want most? From kids to tweens and teens . . . from baby boomers to matures … each group forms a unique marketing niche of similar opinions, common needs, similar buying instincts and motives. Tracking and knowing your demographics and their lifestyles gives you the power to communicate to your target customers in so many ways:
In Communicating to Children ... Here is your chance to design and create a fantasy presentation that brings fun and excitement to children and communicates factual information and a sense of quality to the adult.When Talking To Tweens and Teens ... If you talk in a language that’s purely visual and give them the attitudes and values that mean the most, like truth, fun and
independence, they’ll listen. Say it all in graphics and quick sound bites.Though Boomers are, perhaps, your Busiest Demographic ... they want all the facts. Put them in control by giving them what’s real and true ... all the information they need to judge a product and to make an educated buying decision.Because Matures are Loyal … brand names and logos are an extremely powerful merchandising force. Speak to them clearly about quality and value – these are essential elements to matures – vital to making a purchasing decision.Establishing Your Identity In Fashion EyewearCombining your professional recommendations with the power of popular designer and brand name frames can translate to big business for your practice. Creating high visibility vignettes of your most prestigious and popular collections can quickly identify you as a Fashion Eyewear
Professional:In creating a designer vignette, it is vital that you be consistent with a designer’s image and philosophy. Your vignette should always reflect the unique and personal approach to style established by the designer. If possible, visit a designer’s own boutique to see, first hand, how fashions and accessories are presented.Always use professional, vendor supplied materials in a vignette. These have been created in conjunction with the
designer and his team to ensure consistency of design philosophy and image.Update promotional materials and frames regularly to enforce your fashion savvy, showing patients you are right on top the latest and greatest in designer frames.Cross-promote your key brands throughout your practice via logos, graphics and signage in the window … in the waiting room . . . and in your dispensing area … clearly identifying and communicating their availability in your practice.Powerful visual merchandising offers you unlimited marketing potential. It is an ideal way to strengthen your practice’s unique identity at every turn. From dazzling your patients with designer logos . . . to intriguing them with posters, and patient-focused signage that speaks to their special lifestyle . . . effective product presentation and appropriate, well placed merchandising materials delivers the marketing magic that can increase sales – and your bottom line.
Basic Tips for Better Visual Merchandising
Great store presentation and product merchandising is like a good book. Its got an alluring cover to entice, an interesting first chapter to tell the reader theyve made the right choice, and a satisfying conclusion to get the audience to want more. The tools used to achieve these attributes are based on creating the most satisfying experience for the shopper, turning browsers into buyers. Storefront Identity and First Impressions:
Lets start at the beginning. An important element in any store design is the look of the storefront. Accomplished successfully, the entrance reflects the personality of the store and gives a glimpse of the merchandise available inside. Design a distinctive store logo that communicates your mission. Not only will you use this as a storefront sign, but it could also be painted or applied with special graphics film on the floor as a welcome mat or maybe on the wall behind the cash wrap. And you’ll want it printed on merchandise, hangtags, and point of sale signage. The way merchandise is displayed in show windows also has a lot to do with enticing the guests into the store.
Whether you have a store in the mall or on the street, the customer has only a few seconds to view and be attracted by your displays. Your visual philosophy should replicate a billboard: make it bold, colorful, and simple. Baby shops often put one of everything into the window . . . and customer miss it all because they cant focus. Store Layout:
In developing an effective store design, a most critical element is how the store is organized for a logical unfolding or discovery of merchandise by the browser. Is your store easy to shop? There are several approaches to retail store organization and merchandise display. The first and most common is to display similar merchandise all in the same area. If your store presents merchandise in this way, youll probably have a stroller wall, a book section, fixtures for toys and novelties, and special cases for smaller or secured merchandise. You might, however, want to consider as an alternate presentation method, Lifestyle Merchandising. With this method, diverse products like apparel, books, lamps, furniture, etc., which all reflect the same theme, are displayed together in a room setting. Having spent my formative years in the furniture business, it became
evident early on that helping customers to visualize how merchandise would look in their homes was a major contributing factor in affecting a sale. As a more thematic interpretation of cross merchandising, presenting products in this manner can also increase the perceived value of items that normally would seem unconnected with any other merchandise. Hence a simple Star motif decorative pillow is elevated to a desirable collectible as it completes a total look for a celestial themed baby room. Finally, you may find that a combination of the two merchandising styles may best be suited to your market area or target customer. Similar to the new wave of home furnishings stores that have divided their stores into lifestyles sections of the home, i.e., The Living Room, The Dining Room, Outdoor Living, these stores also have departments in which products are presented en mase (e.g., glassware, cookware, home electronics, etc.). The same is true for apparel retailers like the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy. While they give you dressing suggestions with coordinated look mannequin presentations, you can also find your favorite fit from their large selection of jeans on the denim walls. Creating room settings in highly visible focal areas of your store and positioning commodity products in
convenient locations that make it easy for the customer to stock up achieve the best of both methods of display.Organizing the store in either way presents a logical arrangement that helps the guest to browse, look through the merchandise offering, and determine which items would help complete the mind-picture they have for their or the babys lifestyle. Once the store is set, dont think youre done, however. Walk your store on a daily basis, reviewing the merchandise presentation and display as the prospective customer would. Face merchandise toward the main traffic aisle, reorganize those lifestyle settings, and make sure all signs are in good condition. If I were shopping in this store, would I be enticed to buy? Promotional Activity:
What is my marketing plan? The business press is filled with articles on major retailers recent new focus on child and baby furnishings for the home. Crate & Barrel, Pier 1 Imports, Bombay, Co., and Williams-Sonoma have plans to enter or expand into the market. These retailers will probably offer national branded products and be very competitively priced in order to make their presence known to shoppers.
How will the independent Baby Shop retailer compete? Once again, good visual merchandising and store planning will play an important part. Maintaining a store presentation of desirable products that are clean, orderly, easy to find, and easy to buy will provide a great service to the parent or grandparent looking for something special. Good in-store signage is the important final element of store presentation and promotions. Category signage that helps to guide the customer through your store is essential. In addition, creating a professional looking graphics package that displays price and features and benefits messages clearly communicates the value of your offer. It may be difficult to compete with the larger national chains prices, but displaying current, fashionable merchandise, sold by knowledgeable sales personnel and priced within a consistent value range will establish your business as a viable alternative to those stores.
Visual impact is a huge component of retail merchandising. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as color, can catch a shopper's attention and also greatly affect their mood. In today's ultra competitive market place it is of paramount importance that retailers
understand the basics of visual merchandising. Here are 5 visual merchandising tips to help you maximize your efforts.
1. Display sale products in a creative way. When building a product display look for products that are natural add-ons to the main product featured. A great visual merchandising tip for a grocery store: Build an end cap special on tomato soup, but don't just stop with the soup, get creative. Merchandise the entire end cap with tomato soup then place a shelf at eye level displaying brightly colored soup bowls as an add-on sale item. Visually the display would have a repeating label accented by one ribbon shelf of bowls. This is good visual merchandising practice and great way to increase margin.
2. Use accent lighting to feature products. Customers are drawn to light. Lighting can make products shine and bring colors to life. Using this visual merchandising tip to wash a display wall with light will enhance any product. Accent lighting creates visual interest for shoppers, and magically puts products in their sight. Once a product has captured a customer's attention the odds are increased that a purchase is at hand. This visual merchandising tip will impact your customers and your profits.
3. Change displays weekly. This visual merchandising tip reminds us that customers want to see new and different
products. There is an aspect of entertainment and education that customers appreciate when stores change their displays. Stores that don't change their displays weekly will have customers simply walking past displays that are no longer fresh. If the customers have seen the same end cap for the last six weeks, the displays are no longer new or relevant to them. These stores will not reap the potential rewards of incremental or add-on sales and can lose out to their competition. If the competitor down the street is constantly and creatively changing their visuals, there is a good chance shoppers will gravitate to that store.
4. Color matters. Visual merchandising tips like this one are at the core of any solid merchandising plan. Color can demand a shopper's attention, evoke emotion and influence decisions. Your merchandising plan should include bright colors not only for displays or end caps, but also for the middle of aisle runs. Visually painting your store with colorful focal points will help draw shoppers to those key areas.
5. Merchandising themes Themes group products together for a powerful visual message. Theme merchandising is a fun way to communicate seasonal activities or other information. If your store is a hardware store, use garden gloves, flower bulbs, decorative pots, hand gardening tools, and potting soil to get your sales started for spring.
Outdoor grilling displays are great themes for grocery stores and home centers. Backyard chefs will be attracted to every item in your display. Themes connect customers to projects or activities, and as a result, connect their spending to your profits.
Top tips for store merchandising
1. Merchandise with your customer in mindAny merchandising plan will only be successful if you are able to satisfy your customer's primary shopping mission. The first step, therefore, is to understand why your customer shops in your store. Does she shop for separates or a complete outfit? Is she looking for casual wear or something for a special occasion? And are there specific categories she tends to focus on? Create a clear pathway through store and use signage or bold displays to highlight the products she is looking for. The next step then is to identify your customer's ‘decision tree', i.e. how she shops in any given category. Is design or price the main driver to making a purchase? And at what stage does she consider other factors, such as colour and size? Use your customer's decision tree to lead your visual merchandising; segment your product range accordingly. For example, if you know that your customer buys jeans primarily on the basis style, ensure that your jeans are displayed first and foremost by style. A power wall of jeans showing the full range of styles
creates maximum impact and speeds up your customer's decision making process. Colour, size and any other factors can follow.
2. Maximise the potential for cross sellingSuccessful merchandising also expands your customer's shopping mission and exposes her to other products within the store. Inspire your customer with new ideas by displaying entire outfits complete with shoes and jewellery. Or use logical adjacencies to increase the sale of accessories, for instance by placing sun hats next to summer dresses or a relevant collection of belts next to jeans.
3. Allocate space with careIn retail, the term ‘critical mass' relates to stock density and the point at which a product is displayed with enough authority to sell. This means, for example, that a display of 10 scarves may sell very quickly, but the same scarves in a display of just two may not sell at all. Maintaining visual impact is essential but this does not necessarily mean increasing the amount of available space to display your product. A display of 30 scarves may not increase sales further. Learn to recognise the optimum level of stock for a particular product.
4. Be proud of your best seller
Display your top seller with pride.....in the best place in store. Don't make the mistake of putting a slow seller in the top location in the hope of increasing sales. Any increase in sales will be small in comparison to the results you could have achieved with your best seller.And if you've been busy promoting your best seller through your window display or a press campaign, make sure the product can be quickly found in store. If your customer cannot easily find what she is looking for, there is a real risk she will walk back out again, empty handed.Visual impact is a huge component of retail merchandising. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as color, can catch a shopper’s attention and also greatly affect their mood. In today’s ultra competitive market place it is of paramount importance that retailers understand the basics of visual merchandising. Here are 5 visual merchandising tips to help you maximize your efforts.
1. Display sale products in a creative way. When building a product display look for products that are natural add-ons to the main product featured. A great visual merchandising tip for a grocery store: Build an end cap special on tomato soup, but don’t just stop with the soup, get creative. Merchandise the entire end cap with tomato soup then place a shelf at eye level displaying brightly
colored soup bowls as an add-on sale item. Visually the display would have a repeating label accented by one ribbon shelf of bowls. This is good visual merchandising practice and great way to increase margin.
2. Use accent lighting to feature products. Customers are drawn to light. Lighting can make products shine and bring colors to life. Using this visual merchandising tip to wash a display wall with light will enhance any product. Accent lighting creates visual interest for shoppers, and magically puts products in their sight. Once a product has captured a customer’s attention the odds are increased that a purchase is at hand. This visual merchandising tip will impact your customers’ impression of their shopping experience and your profits.
3. Change displays weekly. This visual merchandising tip reminds us that customers want to see new and different products. There is an aspect of entertainment and education that customers appreciate when stores change their displays. Stores that don’t change their displays weekly will have customers simply walking past displays that are no longer fresh. If the customers have seen the same end cap for the last six weeks, the displays are no longer new or relevant to them. These stores will not reap the potential rewards of incremental or add-on sales and can lose out to their competition. If the competitor down the street is constantly and creatively changing their
visuals, there is a good chance shoppers will gravitate to that store.
4. Color matters. Visual merchandising tips like this one are at the core of any solid merchandising plan. Color can demand a shopper’s attention, evoke emotion and influence decisions. Your merchandising plan should include bright colors not only for displays or end caps, but also for the middle of aisle runs. Visually painting your store with colorful focal points will help draw shoppers to those key areas.
5. Merchandising themes. Themes group products together for a powerful visual message. Theme merchandising is a fun way to communicate seasonal activities or other information. If your store is a hardware store, use garden gloves, flower bulbs, decorative pots, hand gardening tools, and potting soil to get your sales started for spring. Outdoor grilling displays are great themes for grocery stores and home centers. Backyard chefs will be attracted to every item in your display. Themes connect customers to projects or activities, and as a result, connect their spending to your profits.
Independent Retail Store MerchandisingAs a touch base I will list a few basic principals or ideals that you should attempt to achieve.A. Right-hand or Center entry to your store location. (Street access should avoid left hand turns into parking.)B. Store displays should start with lowest displays in front and progress to highest or wall displays in the back.C. Merchandising should include consideration for lighter color displays and merchandise in front and darker to the back.D. A focal point somewhere the near center of the backwall should be where the eye is drawn to.E. A comprehensive collections of presentations should tell a single story about what your store is about. One message.F. Departmental designations should be complimentary to adjoining areas and a progression of product offerings.G. "Race tracking" your store can or need not be utilized - depending upon your tastes and offerings.H. Signing of displays and offerings that is clear and concise and precise is appreciated by customers.I. Pricing of individual items of merchandise is preferable and at minimum, display or clear bin pricing is a minimum standard.J. Flow of product offerings should be blended in some logical progression if at all possible.
The most important advice one can offer is that you need to be accomodative at all times toward customer expectancies. Part of that particular issue is that you need to attempt to determine what the message that is being perceived by your customer is the message you intended to convey and that you really know what they think of your store or business, in their heart of hearts.
During these particular trying economic times, you need to be prepared to accept the fact that you did not fail in your business, that society and the general conditions of the economy and artificial impositions of government activities have caused everyone to retrench and re-evaluate their true shopping needs verses shopping desires.To assume that you as an Independent must surrender to "Big Box" or on-line retail organizations is absolute nonsense. Your ability to be flexible and quicker at responding to trends that you recognize in your business gives you an advantage that they do not enjoy.Discounting - DEEPLY, may be something that pragmatism demands. You may even have to close your business entirely.If that is the case, I would suggest that you look to a complete and entire guidance program offered on Amazon.com titled:"A Retailer's Guide for Promotion of Your Store: Good Times or Bad!".
A complete text including a promotional advertising campaign that can be utilized and adjusted to your specific needs.
Why Visual Merchandising?
Visual merchandising is a highly effective (and often underrated) way of getting customers into a store and spending money. Carol Bagaric offers some insightful tips…Visual merchandising as a serious concept first started in the fashion and homewares industries but take away the glamour and the concept is the same for any retailer. This is because customers have several universal expectations when they shop a store. They want a hassle free and enjoyable experience; they want a clean and well merchandised store; they want visible signage that directs them to the products they wish to purchase; and they expect to find this product quickly and easily, with an accurate price.
What is visual merchandising?Visual merchandising is a concept that works for retailers of any shape and size. The basic idea is that the retail space should be presented in the best possible way in order to maximise sales. However, good visual merchandising is more than just presenting a good looking window display. From in-store layout and product merchandising to housekeeping, lighting, music, price tickets, posters, window displays and props, right down to the paint scheme on walls and the types of
fixtures… all these elements and how they are visually organised and rotated inside a store constitute visual merchandising. Here are some top visual merchandising tips
Shop your shopCome in early one morning and spend a few minutes looking at the outside of your store. Is it time to repaint? Do you need to remove some overgrown weeds? How well does your signage hold up? And does the picture that greets the customer reflect who you are and what you sell?Make your way inside and note your first impression as you enter. Are you tripping over stock? Or is there nothing to be seen?Make your way up and down the aisles and simply observe how your products are presented. Are there any holes on the shelves where stock should be? Is too much stock jammed onto the one shelf? And how much ‘dust and dirt’ is on display? This is an important tip because if you don’t sell it, a customer doesn’t need to see it!Also pay close attention to your ticketing and signage. Is the pricing easy to see? It is crucial that you regularly ‘shop your shop’ the way a customer would on. This little exercise can be done with the shop staff although it must be done before or after trade so as to avoid disruption. It’s a good way of getting into the habit of
seeing a store like a customer does and it’s also a great way to quickly act on merchandising problems.
Zone your storeMost hardware stores carry a large volume of product and unfortunately this means it is not always easy to manage and merchandise everything at once. Visual merchandising can all too often be seen as another burden on top of the countless every day requirements like serving customers, organising deliveries, paper work and so on. A good way to stay on top of visual merchandising is to divide the store into sections or zones and then allocate a team member to each one.Window merchandisingWindow displays should be changed over every seven to fourteen days. Keep it simple and avoid clutter and excessive merchandising! It only takes a few minutes to check window displays every morning and this ensures that everything is in place. Remember that dead flies and dust balls don’t have very good margins so make sure you clean them every day too.Room permitting, think about including large items like ladders, wheel barrows, outdoor furniture or barbeques. These items will have a strong visual impact because of the way they fill the display area.
Visual merchandising ideasIf you are stuck for ideas on a display theme or don’t know what story to tell in your window or around your store then there is always a season or promotion on hand to play on. As you know, the retailing calendar is always on promotion – Fathers Day, Christmas, Easter, summer sale, winter sale and many more! Many suppliers are also more than happy to work on promotions at store level.
How visual merchandising can improve retail fortunesHow does VM materialise physically instore?Another way of thinking about VM is that it provides ‘silent service’ for consumers, helping them to find products more easily, providing inspiration and solutions, advising on product information etc., and all without the help of a sales person.Therefore, successful VM involves developing all areas of store presentation to promote the brand and product range more effectively.It means getting range segmentation, store layouts and use of space, merchandising principles and techniques, window and instore displays right.And, it includes developing effective POS & POP solutions, seasonal events and promotions to stimulate shopping behaviour.Finally, important operational standards and activities i.e. replenishment and range fragmentation issues should be considered for delivery sustainability.These all help to make stores run more efficiently, effectively and productively, and importantly in a targeted way for the brand and its consumers - allowing expensive staff resources to be deployed on other complimenting
strategies, such as providing better consumer engagement through customer services.But having good VM policies is not enough without effective store communications and retail training in VM to implement the strategies instore. These are the enablers (glue) that make the policies stick and become embedded throughout the organisation.As a result, retailers benefit from running a more focussed retail operation and succeed through the increased capability, productivity, and consistency of delivery, sales generation and an overall improved commercial performance.How does it affect consumers - does it make them buy more?Successful VM and brand delivery is all about understanding and satisfying customer needs. So the more that a company understands its consumers, brand and competitors, the better it can define and refine its own VM practice to deliver better solutions instore to improve the customer experience.As they say, whilst the idea may not be ‘rocket science’, it does require real expertise in store design, space planning and presentation expertise and a real commitment to adopting a consumer led approach.It’s a fact that good VM will get consumers to buy more.Essentially, VM is a set of practical selling tools (levers) to influence what, when and how consumers buy – and no serious 21st century retailer can afford to ignore the
powerful effects and huge commercial potential of implementing better VM!Whether this is achieved by increasing the size of spend, type and number of items that people buy, the frequency of purchases, the brands and lines that shoppers select and even down to the stores they choose to shop in.Practical examples of VM techniques could include prioritising the location of certain items that are on promotion to increase the volume and rate of sale.Grouping different, yet related product items together to create higher value is also a commonly used technique, as are all-inclusive solutions such as outfit combinations in fashion stores, meal suggestions in supermarkets and project areas in DIY stores to inform, influence and inspire customer purchases.Good VM even goes down to the micro-detail of understanding which shelf positions perform better to influence what brands people buy and the rate of sale.And, as the world gets a little smaller everyday and consumers travel to more global destinations, having a consistent and recognisable global brand image can help retailers win out by providing shoppers with the reassurance, familiarity and trust they expect from the brand – making the whole selling process much easier.How does it affect retail teams?VM offers retail teams more time to concentrate on the right tasks, i.e. implementing corporate policy - rather than having to create their own.
It allows the whole company to move forward with the same selling strategies, components and practice to maximise opportunities – delivering a consistent application of company policy instore, which improves the customer experience and maximises sales opportunities.Retail Teams benefit from greater clarity of direction, and from better information and training to help them perform role related tasks with an effective integrated approach.