In simple terms, visual merchandising is the practice of arranging your products to maximise sales. It draws on concepts of consumer psychology and works to enhance your customers’ enjoyment. This could encourage them to buy more, return frequently and spread the word about what you offer.
With such attractive potential benefits, using visual merchandising sounds like a given. Despite this, there are plenty of retailers who do not appreciate that properly executed visual merchandising requires time, effort, and investment. In this article, we examine some of the ways in which you can deploy visual merchandising to benefit your business.
Know your customers
The first step towards making your shop more customer friendly is to really get to grips with what it is your client base wants. Effective visual merchandising is the ideal output for any sales or marketing data you have generate. It can help you to sell even more of your most popular items whilst uplifting those that are a big earner for you.
Profiling the different types of customers that might come into your shop is a good starting point as it can help you to identify how to proceed. If your target market consists primarily of senior ladies, for instance, it makes sense to lead with the products that they are most likely to buy. For a clothing business, this could involve setting up mannequins with staple wardrobe items at points around your store, whilst also positioning non-essential items nearby as suggested accessories.
As above, many examples of visual merchandising will focus on fashion retailers, but the principles apply across almost all retail settings. Food and grocery shops, for example, can use the same ideas to place groups of ingredients on stands around their store – with recipe cards bringing all the featured foods together into an easy and delicious dinner plan. Visual merchandising is all about upselling, so think like a customer and play to your strengths.
Style your shop to promote offers
For your visual merchandising efforts to be successful, you’ll need to rely on more than just your flair for interior design and a penchant for dressing up displays. Making your products look good is one thing, but getting your customers to buy them will require clear signage and promotional materials. Retailers who don’t make their prices clear are unlikely to attract any but the least money conscious customers, whilst consumers can’t take advantage of offers that they simply don’t know about.
By using eye catching signage and promotional detailing, you can draw attention to your biggest and best offers. Better still, well executed promotions can be used as a starting point for customers to spend more on complementary products. A purse display next to a wall of discounted handbags, car accessory packages by the door to a showroom, or linked promotions between different product classes could all help to upsell and outperform on your sales figures.
It’s not just your products…
Whilst there’s no doubt that successful visual merchandising involves drawing attention to top selling or aspirational products, it’s key to remember that your aim is to improve the retail experience as a whole. Making your shop look good is a major part of this, but so too is ensuring that it’s easy and convenient for customers to make purchases at the end of the sales process.
When investing in visual merchandising elsewhere on your premises, it’s important not to forget your till area as this is where you’ll be closing the deal on sales. This could involve physical changes to make the payment area more inviting, but it’s also worth looking into whether your current payment solution is up to scratch. These days, state-of-the-art contactless enabled card machines are no longer prohibitively expensive, and you can easily provide customers with a comfortable and secure way of making payments.
Investing in the right card machine could make your life easier too. The card readers provided by leading payment solutions firm UTP are a good example of this, as they offer a one stop shop for processing transactions of all kinds. This means that whether you’re dealing with sales, refunds, or returns a single card machine is all you’ll need to provide excellent customer service. By investing in quality payment infrastructure, you can reassure customers that you’re a reputable business to which they can return time and time again.
Visual merchandising for eCommerce
Although traditional visual merchandising tactics were devised with physical retail premises in mind, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the same strategies for your eCommerce website. If anything, consumers looking for the best site to spend their money with are even more inclined to choose a business that has made a clear and conscious effort to create an attractive online space.
Investing in your website is one thing, but that effort won’t pay off if your online checkout or eCommerce payment gateway doesn’t make it easy to complete the sale. For hybrid businesses that have both a physical premises and a website, an online payment solution could keep your shop up and running 24/7.
An essential business activity
No matter how much time or money you spend attracting customers to your business, failing to appreciate the importance of their in store retail journey could be a fatal mistake. By cleverly positioning your products and ensuring that your shop infrastructure works well, you could drive your sales figures upwards.