In today’s visually stimulated world, where competition for the customer’s attention and money has become fierce, learning to transform a retail environment into an appealing and stimulating platform for shopping is vital to any business, big or small.
Good retail display increases customer traffic and sales dramatically. If this were not the case, why would multi-billion dollar companies spend so much money on visual displays?
So what is the secret to a successful retail display? Based on visual merchandising research and our retail display experience, we’ve come up with the following list of 3 most important in-store display secrets.
1. Tell a Story
In order to create a good story you must:
Create a Focus Point
A focus point is the first area that a customer will perceive. According to Linda Cahan, “a focus point may be the largest item in the window, the brightest color, a moving object, a prop, or simply, placing merchandise on a strong angle”. Retail displays without focal points have failed to create a hierarchy of information that is important to the consumer, and as a consequence no importance is placed on the display. Weather it be the brand name, the slogan, the features and benefits, or just the product itself – something needs to be the focal point, and that needs to be created or at least emphasized by the display.
Don’t Mix Messages
Consistency and continuity of the message you send to your customers keeps brand awareness and familiarity high. When planning retail store displays, it is a wise idea to consider the overall environment of the store, and to keep all store displays within the boundaries of the retailer’s specific look and feel.
For example, a color scheme involves just a few colors that work together and by pulling many items in those colors into an attractive grouping. Similarly, when you have a strong concept display you create that by pulling together in the elements in the stores environment that are related to that concept.
A great example of this the battery center that Mechtronics created for Kroger stores. The display features many elements of their in-store environment such as: the woodgrain material, and color scheme, and the unit fits perfectly in the environment while at the same time merchandises the battery product in an “easy to shop” way. This innovation led to a 15 – 20% closure rate on all customers entering the store.
Light it Properly
Good lighting is one of the most important aspects of in-store design. Lighting not only brings attention to a display, they also warm it up making it more appealing. LED light boxes, light panels, and other illuminated sign holders can help your graphics stand out in crowded areas. Along with enhancing the aesthetic beauty of the product display, LEDs are a perfect solution for accent lighting due to their long life, directional light, uniform brightness and illumination. LED display lighting also benefits retailers by reducing lamp replacement costs. Qualified commercial products use at least 75% less energy and last 35 times longer than incandescent lighting according to Energy Star.
2. Keep it Fresh
Successful retailers make frequent floor moves for two good reasons. Every floor move re-energizes the merchandise, and keeps the products in front of frequent customers, subsequently building the brand messaging and awareness. Many retailers know that sales always increase during a floor move. Customers are intrigued by the action and when merchandise is pulled out of its normal resting place it takes on a new energy giving it more appeal, and if this freshly located product was in a innovative retail display, all the better!
3. Time It Well
Stores need to update their retail display fixtures immediately after a holiday has passed. Retailers should consider preparing a well-though-out time schedule which keeps displays and merchandise moving freely, in and out of the windows and the store. These pre-determined time slots keep the store looking fresh, new and exiticing and keep customers coming into the store repeatedly. If it’s three days after Valentine’s Day and love still rules in your store you are conveying to the customer that your store may not be worth shopping in.
Timing it well also includes having merchandise displayed that is appropriate for the holiday, season or weather. If it’s cold and you carry hand-woven wool scarves or gloves – feature them in a focal area where they can be seen, appreciated and purchased.
Whenever possible plan your window and interior focal displays around the advertising schedule. Big retailers have advertising and promotions departments that work hand-in-hand with the visual merchandising departments and plan window and in-store promotions to correspond with the advertising schedule. A smaller business has fewer resources but is also more flexible. The important concept is to coordinate so the timing creates increased sales rather than having people come into your store wondering where that great lamp was that they saw in the ad in their local paper. With these elements, your goal of creating effective visual merchandising is much more likely to be a success.
Sometimes great customer service and great products can compensate for a less creative display but if you want to increase sells, you should really dedicate resources to your in-store or window display!
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