January 31, 2019

Get more sales from your shelves: 5 visual merchandising tips for retailers

There is more to merchandising than placing inventory onto the nearest shelf. Some experts espouse that there’s a science behind your product displays. One thing we can all agree on though is retailers who amplify their in-store displays see an increase in sales and profits. When every square foot of your store is costing you money in operations, it’s essential to make the most of that retail space. Here are five visual merchandising tips to lift your in-store sales.

Tip #1: Attract customers with bright, bold colours

Colours have the power to elevate or evoke certain moods in consumers. For example, bold colours like red, orange and yellow are not only eye-catching, but they create desire, arousal and intrigue. By contrast, blues and greens, commonly associated with nature, instil a sense of calm. 

When you have only seconds to convert a browser into a buyer, appealing to their senses is essential. To attract customers, try a window display that features products or accent items that showcase bright, bold colours. Alternatively, use them in a display at the store entrance to trigger curiosity and entice passersby to step inside. 

Pro tip: Subtle and solid backdrops for your displays (think: black or white) can make products stand out even more.


Tip #2: Use warm and welcoming lights

Lighting can make or break many shopping experiences. Have you ever been in a store that’s "mood lighting" was so dim you could barely see? Or, the opposite, where the lights were so bright and white that you had to shield your eyes? Customers typically spend more time in an atmosphere illuminated with warm lighting. In fact, studies suggest that lights not only guide shoppers throughout your store but can also heighten their overall experience and boost their spend.

At shelf level, accent lights should be used sparingly. Want inventory on lower shelves to move faster? Try highlighting them with lights (versus illuminating every display with a spotlight). Experts also suggest that contrasting lights can create varying levels of attention. So, creating shadows around displays can further help to illuminate your priority shelves and intrigue a buyer’s attention.

Tip #3: Group relevant products together

Have you ever gone into the grocery store to buy just one item and walked out with a whole armful because you saw other products you might need? And how often does the point-of-purchase (ie. display at the cash register) tempt you? This is by design. By creating groupings of similar products in your own retail space, you’ll tell a story with your merchandise and remind buyers to purchase other items that why might need (or want). Sounds like a happy ending, right?

When creating these groupings, use the rule of three: group products in odd numbers like three and five. Because our brains are triggered by imbalance, shoppers notice products grouped in odd numbers. In fact, when we see symmetrical groupings, our brain processes them so quickly that it may not even register, which is not what you want in your storefront.

Tip #4: Elevate your products to varying heights

source: gift shop magazine

In the same way that shoppers are more inclined to notice asymmetrical displays, they also take notice of products at varying heights. Unfortunately, when items are lined up at uniform heights, there’s no visual contrast, and again they become easy to glaze over. You may have seen this tactic used in clothing stores. It’s rare to have only one rack of clothing—positioned at eye level—throughout the entire store. Instead, retailers make use of vertical space by having a display of shirts hung directly above.

The products you place at eye level should be chosen strategically. The next time you enter an electronics store, notice how the most expensive TVs are at eye level. This is because they’re what the retailer wants you to buy. While less expensive and older TVs are likely in stock, they’re typically placed below eye level so that you’ll be inclined to purchase the newer, pricier models instead. 

Try this same tactic in your store. But before you elevate your best-sellers, consider your target market. If you own a toy store, you will need to reconsider eye level to reach younger children. This is why convenience stores will often merchandise their candy and chocolate bars so that they’re below the cash register where they’re not only eye level but well within the reach of their youngest customers.

Tip #5: Incorporate digital interactions

Retailers who add a layer of technology to their merchandising are noticing an increase in customer attention. In fact, in a recent survey, 63% of consumers agreed that digital signage catches their eye. These can be relatively inexpensive, so don't rule them out if you have a small store. 

We’ve become so accustomed to screen time that another monitor playing a video as part of your display might not convert browsers to buyers. But, touchscreen display enable a layer of engagement for customers. Breaking new ground in store displays are augmented reality devices, wearables, touch screens and even 3D printing. Check out these digital integrations for inspiration.

Incorporating any of the above visual merchandising tips will require a bit of planning on your part as a retailer. Optimizing your retail space as a whole, along with your individual displays, will ensure your consumers achieve the best in-store experience possible, and you see increased sales. Be sure to monitor which of your tactics are working, and which need more fine tuning so that you can maximize your merchandising to provide the biggest return in sales.

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