9 Ways To Increase Sales and Customer Retention with Visual Merchandising

Create unique shopping experiences

Increasing Sales With Visual Merchandising

The importance of visual merchandising has increased even as the digital era continues to evolve. Physical stores must offer their customers a unique shopping experience that goes beyond just providing products and services. Visual merchandising can be a key factor when creating that unique in-store experience. With a few essential visual merchandising techniques, your store has the power to increase sales as well as its customer retention rate.

Understand your target customer

Appeal to Want vs. Need

Most customers step into a store in search of something particular — a need. While it’s important to address needs, appealing to desires can work to increase sales. For example, spotlight a popular name-brand item in a display versus a less-expensive, no-name item. Display luxury products near the front or in the window display to draw in foot traffic, placing “need” items farther in to create more flow through the store.

Design for Target Customer

If your store’s goal is to attract a specific demographic, the visual merchandising display must be designed for those target customers and their lifestyles. Customer data from your POS system is good insight into the demographic. Do they primarily shop trends? Rely on coupons? Are they loyal to a particular brand/style?

Displaying your merchandise

Rule of Three

The rule of three is a tried and true concept for design and has been used in visual merchandising for decades — because it works. Asymmetry is pleasing to the human aesthetic. Grouping items in sets of three creates asymmetry, which attracts the customer’s attention. Whether you opt to display three of the same style shirt but in three colors or three items that make an outfit (blouse, skirt, necklace), stick with a trio. The rule of three extends beyond fashion — adaptable for any type of products and perfect when designing a display for cross-merchandising.

Display Like Items

Displaying like items can tie into the rule of three, but also is important to consider as a separate technique. For example, a furniture store creates a complete bedroom display with bed, dresser, nightstands, table lamps and bedding because their customers want to see how these items look in a space. On a smaller scale, like items may be color-themed or seasonal: e.g., beach towel, sunscreen, beach chair and cooler.

Adjust Lighting

Display lighting plays a critical role for visual merchandising. Too many shadows, and customers won’t notice the display or connect with it. However, display lighting that’s too intense or overly harsh may repel shoppers, as well. Find the balance and adjust the display lighting for the ideal showcase of products.

Prominent Price Display

Customers don’t like to hunt for a price. Make it easy for every shopper to access the price tags and see sale signs. For signage, avoid hard-to-read fonts and colors. Keep verbiage to a minimum. Even items in the cashwrap area should be displayed with easy-to-read signage and prices. Customers are more likely to pick up an impulse buy if they know its cost without having to search for the price tag.

Appeal to the shopper’s senses

Target Emotional Response

Visual merchandising makes the biggest impact when it engages multiple senses. The look of the display typically catches the attention first — but to hold interest and play a successful role in sales conversion, the display must generate an emotional response. Tap into sentiment, desires and even fears to create visually stunning and emotionally evocative displays.

Keep It Fresh

On average, plan on changing visual merchandising displays every two weeks and rotating newer items from the front of the store to display spaces farther in the store. Definitely, change any display when a sale ends or the season passes. Customers don’t want to see lingering shamrocks on April 1.

The right display can be a powerful tool for increasing sales. Use visual merchandising techniques to showcase items, attract foot traffic, play to customer wants, and as a way to create a unique experience that can’t be replicated shopping online.

Author bio: Robin Brower is Senior Vice President of Business Development at OPTO, where she leads the design and business development teams. Brower built the design department from scratch in 1983 and has been the organization’s lead designer for the past 35 years.