Visual Merchandising & Retail Floor Displays

Make no mistake about it: The appearance and layout of your store can be just as important to your success as the products you sell. The composition of your merchandise, your store décor and your visual merchandising techniques are all essential to your customers’ experience. Great visual merchandising can spell the difference between customers who make multiple purchases and those who wander in and out of your shop empty-handed.

Retail floor displays are central to your visual merchandising strategy. Tables, shelves, racks, end caps and wall fixtures can all showcase your products’ features and benefits. But creating an inviting, fully integrated look to generate product appeal, customer engagement and increased sales is no easy task.

Keep in mind these tips to get more from your retail floor displays with visual merchandising:

Have a Plan

Decide what you will be merchandising and what fixtures and props will best display them. You might find a planogram extremely helpful for this. Planograms are diagrams of your store that help you decide where and how products should be displayed. They’re generated using special software that let’s you enter fixture dimensions to create an illustration of your display space. You can then drag and drop products, customize shelf dimensions and placement, and arrange products to optimize shelf-use. Take note: You can also design a planogram with pen and paper. Though it may not be as accurate as a digital design, it can still help you visualize your display before setting it up.

Create a Theme

In her article "The 5 Deadly Display Sins," visual merchandising expert Linda Cahan says that a lack of clarity in is one of the biggest mistakes retailers can make. "A good display tells an easy-to-read story," Cahan writes. "If the visual message is unclear, it remains unread, unseen and unappreciated." The best way to avoid this mistake is to establish a theme throughout your store that you can carry through to your floor displays. Things like color, concept, lighting, fragrance and music can all contribute to a coherent theme.

Refresh Regularly

Update your floor displays frequently. For businesses like Tangible Investments, a Laguna Beach, CA, gallery that sells precious metals, quick-changing factors help determine the focus and timing of floor displays. Tangible Investments’s Dennis Tarrant says, "We actually change our floor displays to match the current market. For example, if the silver/gold market is heating up, we will add new displays that focus on our silver/gold products and pricing." At a minimum, consider refreshing your displays once a month.

Consider Context

Think about your current inventory and consumer behavior when choosing items to display. Barbara Crowhurst, a retail business coach with more than 25 years of experience, knows that the right product and its performance history are essential to your retail displays. In her article "Display 101: A Guide to Visual Merchandising," she writes: "It’s important that you are showing products in your display that are relevant to your customer. The product you sell determines the purpose and value of any display you do." Look to recent purchase trends, new inventory shipments, seasonality and upcoming holidays to determine what merchandise you should display. Additionally, make sure your display products are giving you a return on your investment.

Keep Your Displays Clean & Simple

This may seem obvious, but simplicity can often be overlooked. Take the time to make sure all items are clearly visible, attractively displayed and within your customers’ reach. Avoid overcrowding your display and use signage to provide easy-to-see product information. Be sure to train your associates to keep displays neat, organized and dust-free.

Visual merchandising is the hook that draws customers through your shop and compels them to pick up — and buy — your products. Use these tips to optimize your business’s visual merchandising strategy and watch your sales soar.

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