Visual Merchandising 101

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The Crux of Visual Merchandising

Ever walked past a shop window and paused to take a closer look? In that very moment, you were “visual merchandised” – meaning something in the window display attracted your attention. But if you didn’t go inside and make a purchase, the visual presentation was only a near success.

This is because good visual merchandising will grab your attention, while better ones will engage you. Outstanding displays, on the other hand, will take you from shop window to shop counter in one full, seductive sweep.

In short, visual merchandising refers to the displaying of products in such a way that stimulates a customer’s interest as a means to a purchasing end.

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A Sensory Experience

Visual merchandising can, in its simplest form, be three-dimensional, appealing to the eyes only – like going to the cinema. Or it can push boundaries, offering a 4-dimesional experience that speaks to all the senses – enticing one to touch, smell, hear and taste. With that said, visual merchandising can only take customer’s experience but so far. In the event they do not make a purchase after engaging, it could be because of the product itself.

Types of Visual Merchandising

One doesn’t have to enter a shop to experience the effects of visual merchandising. The window display that caught your attention before you entered the shop that time is called an exterior presentation, while everything beyond its doors falls under interior.

Exterior presentations consist of everything that makes up a store’s front – from signage to window displays to the actual shop entrance. Interior has to do with a shop floor plan, including POS (point of sale), shelving and floor displays.

Tools of the VM Trade

These are things that enhance the products being highlighted through visual merchandising. A prop, for example, clarifies the function of an item or helps tell a story. These are your mannequins, shelves, racks, wall coverings, and more. Lighting and colour can call attention to an item, while signage will let you know where in the shop to find it. Audio-visual displays can place the object in everyday situations giving the customer practical ideas on how they can use it.

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Methods of Display

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This is where fixtures come in. There are various ways one can display products in a shop – these include shelving, hanging, folding, pegging and dumping.

Visual merchandising plays an important role in a customer’s decision-making process – it’s a means to a purchasing end, but not the only one. Executed correctly, the messaging will resonate in the customer, attracting, engaging and motivating them to make a purchase.

Want to learn more? Check out our upcoming 3-Day VM Workshop

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