10 Proven Visual Merchandising Tips and Ideas

By on June 3, 2012 – Updated on October 16, 2014

Visual merchandising (VM) today is not only limited to floor and window display; it is not only limited to fashion and clothing. Visual Merchandising covers all the necessity to capture the attention of the customers by all means from the facade of the store to the location of each product inside the store – may it be a department or specialty store.

To capture attention, awaken the senses, provide the customers a wonderful buying experience, which will bring them back to the store for the next time and become a loyal customer, and make more sales are the major concern of an effective visual merchandising.

No one wants to have boring product display; every visual merchandiser wants to have interesting shop window and indoor display to capture not just the attention of the customers, but their entire senses.

SEE ALSO:  What is Visual Merchandising?

One of the retail elements that greatly affects you visual merchandising effort is the store environment.

Photo: New York Christmas Window Display

According to Dunne and Lusch (2005), store environment is an important element in retailing given that 70% of the purchase was an impulse buying or unplanned purchases.

A critical review on the effects of store environment on shopping behaviors conducted by Shun Yin Lam (2001) shows that there are many factors and elements to consider on having a good store environment. These elements include music, color, scent, lighting, visual information, consumer density and much more.

Today, you will be learning the visual merchandising tips and ideas, that are certain to get expected results, and some points to consider on having a good store environment. Let us start the list.

1. Do not limit your theme to four.

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall may be popular but there are still thousands of visual merchandising themes which you can – actually, sky is the limit when we talk about themes. Try to employ at least six different themes in a year. If you can use varied themes in every month, it is better, but this is quite unmanageable.

SEE ALSO: 8 Categories of Window Display Themes

Six different themes in a year are more flexible because this will allow you to change your theme every other month. You can inline your theme with special events like Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day, Teachers’ Day, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries festivals, and other celebrations and holidays.

2. Use variation to support your theme.

Variation will support your theme to avoid boringness of display and decoration. You can use the same theme every year but avoid using the same display and style. You need to create a new look or else you will only annoy your viewers.

Scheme is also best applied to employ variation. A scheme works like a sub-theme. Say for example you theme is Christmas, you can create one White Christmas Window, one Toys Kingdom Window and one Christmas Party Window. All of these three schemes are related to your Christmas theme.

Also avoid using the same material for different themes consecutively. You may keep the materials you have recently used and use it again after few months or put it in other locations or other branch of your store.

Visual Merchandising ideas

3. Go for unusual and big display.

People love novelty, something they haven’t seen before. You can search for some visual merchandising ideas in the internet. Copy different ideas, combine them together then modify. It is copy, combine and modify – not copy and paste.

In South-east Asia, it is common to some popular brands like Milo, Double A, Pepsi, Coca-cola, Tipco and Maggi to conduct merchandise display contest to generate more sales.

SEE ALSO: 11 Surefire Window Display Ideas You Need To Learn About

On the contest, the participating stores are required to design and set-up displays with oversized props o get the attention of the shoppers. This strategy has been proven to be effective.

4. Apply the elements & principles of Design.

Don’t forget to apply the elements and principles of design to your projects. The elements of design are line, shape, form, size, space, color, value and texture while the principle of designs are novelty, variety, harmony, unity, balance, proportion, emphasis, contrast, rhythm and pattern.

SEE ALSO: The VC-Compass, Tool to Achieving Effective Visual Communication

Effectively use colors, texture, shape forms and lines.

Establish a focal point on your window display for easy viewing then harmonize each element of your display to maintain neatness and to direct the eyes of your viewer to each element of the display.

Always remember that the elements and principles of design are the keys to a successful visuals.

5. Integrate dynamic techniques in your display.

Integrating printed materials, multi-media, interactive installation and sensory input in your display are known to be dynamic techniques and are becoming the visual merchandising trends, especially in the coming years because of the fast moving digital civilization.

Gone are those days that retails stores rely only on a simple product presentation.

SEE ALSO: 5 Product Display Ideas that Rock Sales

Think about what captures the attention of busy people in this digital age where almost everyone who are passing by your store are walking so quick if not looking slowly while looking at their mobile phones or tabs.

In some countries with more advance technology, some retailers install an interactive window  where customers can customize features on some products, before paying their own-designed items at the checkout counter.

6. Keep your store’s physical appearance fresh.

Allocate extra budget to develop your store the facade and external appearance of your store because these are the first thing that will be noticed by the people at street. Maintain the good look your store – the marquees, awnings, signage, banners, entrance and landscapes are the things areas you need to consider. You can use significant color or unique carvings and moldings that represent your business so that your store can be easily identified among other businesses.

Shelves, showcases, racks and other POS materials should be well maintained as well; if one is damaged, do not hesitate to repair it or decorate the part that is damaged.

Repaint the old wall and ceiling, change the old posters, remove torn stickers and wash the artificial flowers and fabrics on your display.

Do not wait until your store will like a haunted house. Keep it fresh.

7. Provide enough signs and graphics.

If you have a big store, provide enough directional signs inside your store and don’t forget to include the local language in your sign and signage system. These are also known as visual indications that direct your customers to roam around your store which often results to unplanned purchase. Use light-directed signage in front of your store to attract people during the night and don’t forget to change the old signage.

SEE ALSO: The Right Size of a Readable Text from a Certain Distance

In the Retailing Management book, Levy and Weitz (1995) says that signs and graphics also helps customers find the department or merchandise they’re searching. Graphics such as photo panels can add personality, beauty and romance to the store’s image.

Store Environment

8. Give enough space.

In addition to a good floor plan, enough height of the ceiling from the floor is also important. As I observe, 10 feet is ideal but higher than this is better.

If the distance between the floor and ceiling is lower than 10 feet, use shorter shelves to provide enough space for the eyes of your customers wander inside your store.

Overstocking goods on the shelves and racks is also not good ideas because this would ‘choke’ the items.

9. Enhance the ambiance of your store.

By adding a little classic aroma, music and dramatic lighting inside your store, you can create good impression to your shoppers. It is also important to match the type of ambiance with the lifestyle and culture of you target market.

Shun Yin Lam (2001) founds out that the effects of store environment on emotions, cognition and shopping behaviors differ across countries owing to differences in culture and adaptation level of environmental stimuli, and the effects of store environment on service quality assessment and shopping behaviors vary with consumers’ shopping experience with a store.

10. Gather fresh ideas from different sources

I always suggest to the visual artist whom I personally know to collect ideas from different sources like books, magazines, and most importantly, the Internet. The are hundred of websites and blogs today where you can get fresh ideas to fuel your creativity, and the good news is that most of them are available for free.

SEE ALSO: How and Where to Find the Best Window Display Images in the Web

If you have Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest account, it is advisable to connect with other visual merchandiser and professionals of the retail industry to see updates of people with of similar interest.

I look forward that this article could help you on driving on you visual merchandising activities. Thank you for reading. Godspeed!

 

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Featured Photo by Luis Diego París



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28 Comments

  1. tatess

    June 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Visual merchandise is an added attraction but I still do believe to have a well trained, polite staff is one of the things to be consider if you want the costumers to come back to your shop.
    I invite you to read: Happy Fathers DayMy Profile

  2. metalpig design

    June 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    agree with tatess. Those display are the one who attracts customers, but well-trained store staff and the quality of products that you’re selling that makes customers happy and satisfied. :)

  3. carmel

    June 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    This is such a great resource of tips and ideas for those interested in Visual Merchandising, coming from somebody with years of experience.
    I invite you to read: Top Rated Carry-On LuggagesMy Profile

    • RonLeyba

      July 1, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Can’t agree more with you. Visual merchandising is now being branded with Creativity Window , IMHO. Great way to go JP!
      I invite you to read: How To Lose Weight EffectivelyMy Profile

  4. RonLeyba

    June 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing us the basics of it. Loving visual merchandising now. Designs and color combination are cool!
    I invite you to read: 8 Basic Camera Shots for Photography AmateursMy Profile

  5. Duncan

    July 12, 2012 at 4:01 am

    awesome visual displays catches the eye of the customer from a distant to come see what’s happening on your window. Tigers Eye stores at O.R Tambo airport have great window displays…I wonder who’s doing it.

  6. Margarita@Decoracion de vidrieras

    September 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    It’s sad that people still don’t get how powerful visual merchandising can be and all it can do for their business, just because they think it’s a simple task anyone can do, even if they don’t have the knowledge and experience it takes… very sad.
    I invite you to read: Vidrieras de Primavera que sí venden {parte 2}My Profile

    • Duncan

      September 12, 2012 at 1:46 am

      Ofcourse visual merchandising is very powerful indeed, I recently did a display with some nice African prints t-shirts at the front of one of my stores and believe you me: within 2weeks the t-shirts was sold out. THE POWER OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

  7. Pingback: Visual MerchandisingMy Blog | My Blog

  8. Morena

    April 2, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I have always been interested in Visual Merchandising,I completed my Diploma last year and now “The Platinum Group” wants me to work for them at their Aca Joe Stores,this week will be my 1st week as a trainee and I am soooooooooo NERVOUS!!!

    • Jyppe A. Quidores

      September 3, 2013 at 2:07 am

      Wow! That was a good news. I presume that you are now working in that company. Please let us know or update us about you experience at that company. We will be happy to hear your story.

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  10. Mariana

    July 9, 2013 at 5:21 am

    I have to agree that Visual Merchandising is one of the most important aspects of retail business, even more than staff being this or that. The reason from my point of view is that today most of our VM’s are local and present in stores every day, witch also gives them the oppurtunity to inspire, motivate and train also the staffmembers.

    • Jyppe A. Quidores

      September 3, 2013 at 2:15 am

      That is a good point. It is always a good move to share what we know to other people in the field because it is a win-win situation—they will gain new information, and our job will become easier because they can help us do other tasks that we have taught them.

  11. Ryan

    August 28, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Nature of product should also be considered because some product need more display room than others. Such product should be placed at open spaces where they can be easily accessed. Alternatively, informational banners of the product can be hanged at strategic points if the space available is too small. Also products that are likely to trigger the impulsive buying nature of client should be placed at strategic points, such as at the end of elevators or at the point of sale. Check also this nice display.

  12. Heriberto Ramseyer

    August 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    It is now a common practice to have some space allocated as the waiting corner. Usually waiting chairs or toys can be placed here. This is makes it convenient for customers being accompanied others people or kids to shop without worries.

  13. Belina

    August 31, 2013 at 3:52 am

    When panning for visual merchandising, the best layout design should present simplicity and ease of navigation. Instances of customers getting lost in the store, of failing to find a particular product must be avoided.

  14. Ronan White

    September 1, 2013 at 2:16 am

    One of the final and important steps of successful marketing is product presentation in a store. The potential buyer is bound to make a purchasing decision if the buying environment is conducive enough. For this reason, it becomes necessary for any retailer store to put into consideration proper product presentation, and this is where visual merchandising come in.

    • Clint McForge

      September 3, 2013 at 2:34 am

      And in addition to that, in-store product presentation can be viewed as a process involving two stages namely design layout and actual product presentation. Both stages are equally important, and executing only one will not yield the desired results. That is according my what I have read recently. ^_^

    • Ryan

      September 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Getting the estimate of potential customers visiting at a particular time is another factor that should be put into consideration. A good layout design will provide space for less congestion in the store.

  15. Eloida

    September 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Visual merchandising is indeed getting more importance nowadays and I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing i found in your post. Thanks for sharing.

  16. RonLeyba

    September 2, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Being unique and new is one of the key to success in visual merchandising. Sometimes, it can make their product go viral because of this visual arts.

  17. Dorki Doods

    September 5, 2013 at 12:46 am

    And this is how you guys deceive shoppers to buys products that they don’t really need or unnecessary? You make tricks to make more sales by using visual, attractive offers and any deception to establish impulse buying? And you are happy with that?

    • Ronan White

      September 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      It is not how you think about it. Visual merchandising is also a marketing and sales strategy. If you think that this kind of job is evil, how much more evil are those other forms of advertising which tend to capture the attention of the consumer and make purchases?

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  19. Susanne

    September 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    It is a nice article I will definetly read more. But about the give enouhg space I whould like to add that specialy woman need space while shopping, they don’t like it whenn someone is behind them

  20. Joe Lawson

    October 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Hey,

    Just read this post and agree with many of the points brought up,I agree with many of the comments regarding customer service too, its vital to ensure the staff reflect your shop too.

    I came across this post which shares many of the ideas you brought up, but also explores others that your readers may find useful! (Its also a bit of Halloween fun!)

    http://www.displaysense.co.uk/blog/retail-displays/5-ways-to-make-your-shop-stand-out-this-halloween-2/2051/

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