Visual merchandising is one of the most important aesthetic components of a retail store and can mean the difference between sales success and sales in distress. When it comes to creating visual appeal in your store, your retail space is your most creative and efficient salesperson, so you’d better make it work for you.
Whether you’re just getting started in the retail game, or you’ve been a shop owner for years, here are a few ways to whip your store’s visual story into shape.
Creating a visual story in your store begins with catering to the right demographics. In today’s complex retail market, drawing in your target customers isn’t just about appealing to the right age, gender and size, it’s about digging deeper into their psychographics and marketing to their style, tastes, lifestyle and opinions.
The in-store experience you create needs to reflect the lifestyle and interests of your target audience- you want them to feel ‘at home’ in your store. Take Abercrombie & Fitch for example. Their in-store experience is marked by loud music, dim lighting, younger staff. This is perfect for the brand and their adolescent target market but won’t appeal to an older demographic.
Create some excitement
If the end game of visual merchandising is to draw your shoppers from the front of the store to the back of the store – aka the cash register – your visual story has to be infused with excitement from start to finish. The window display is usually the first element that draws your shoppers in, so aim to begin your visual story here.
One of the most perceptibly appealing ways to create an exciting story in your window display is to play on a theme. Whether it’s something seasonal such as Christmas or something trendy such as black and white, creating a story around a theme gives you the freedom to be as adventurous as you like and create a real sense of excitement to draw prospective shoppers in.
Show, don’t tell
Whether it’s fashion, homewares or outdoor furniture, shoppers typically want to visualise how an item or ensemble will look on them or in their home before they commit to buying. Creating on-trend merchandise displays is a terrific way to lure customers in-store and ignite that coveted I’ve got to have that now moment.
You can begin with a window display that shows the latest fashion ensembles or styled decorative accessories and continue the story in-store with grouped displays of the specific items shoppers can buy to achieve the exact look in the window. It also pays to be strategic when it comes to the layout of your stock. Ensure new stock (or the items you’re trying to push) are the first thing the customer sees as they enter the store.
Enliven the five senses
Always remember that a great visual story draws on our sensory perception. Kick things up a notch by offering sensory delights outside of just sight and touch with sound, smell and maybe even taste.
Sensory marketing is a growing trend, with emergence firms like 12.29 who create specific scents that reflect the identity of retail brands. For local retailers who might not have the budget to engage one of these agencies, creating an in-house scent that enhances the customers in-store experience is as easy as lighting scented candles. For example, a Mosman women’s boutique who stocks swimwear might choose to add an ‘ocean breeze’ scent that will invoke a sense of summer and the beach, enticing customers to shop and creating a rounded experience.