TIPS ON THE EFFECTIVE USE OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING
Although we cannot ignore the growth in online shopping, this does not mean that the retail industry will disappear from the streetscape. Far from it: shoppers still like to go to physical stores. However, retailers must give more consideration to atmosphere, entertainment and experience. This will put them in a position to attract shoppers into their stores and to persuade them to buy products and services. A mannequin in the display window is no longer enough. With this in mind, successful retailers will stand out from other retailers by exceeding the expectations that the shopping public have in relation to store design They use eye-catching visual merchandising to entice consumers. But how do they makes sure that they do this effectively? Six tips follow below.
1. WORK ON YOUR DISPLAY WINDOW
Research by Popai, a shopper marketing platform, shows that all of the visual tools used in and around the store, the display window is the one that is looked at most and has the biggest influence on shoppers. So, make sure that you work on achieving the perfect sign for your store. At the current time, light is by far the most popular tool used in this respect. This is no surprise, as it is the ideal way to communicate a certain atmosphere and emotion. Added to this, you can use moving images on TV screens or interactive tools to entice people to come into your store. Music is another smart way to communicate the experience of the store as a whole to the shopping public.
2. PERSONALISE YOUR SEASONAL COMMUNICATION
Retailers always pay a lot of attention to promotion and seasonal campaigns. They often do this with flexible alternating displays, window stickers and point-of-sale displays. However, just 18% of all seasonal communication is personalised – a missed opportunity. By modifying communication at the store location, for example, you will appeal to your public more directly and at a more personal level too. You can achieve this simply but effectively with posters or by adapting the alternating display referred to above. For example, in the period leading up to the feast of St. Nicholas, you will be able to refer to his arrival locally.
3. BE INNOVATIVE
Innovative visual merchandising gives you the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. Many retailers indicate that this is something that they do want to do, but simply do not get around to. One of the most revolutionary developments is Visual Magnetics, a display system that can be used to quickly change visuals, shelves or objects. These visuals are printed on ferrous material and are attached to a magnetic underlayer. The strength of the magnets used makes it possible to use a number of visuals; this is ideal for seasonal campaigns that change quickly. Added to the above, many retailers are currently using technological tools like screens, iPads and interactive tables.
4. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE VISIBLE OFFLINE AND ONLINE
The increased number of technological tools in use in stores is a direct result of the current omni-channel trend. Retailers can no longer afford to regard online and offline as separate channels: in both cases, customer experience must be optimal and both must tie in with each other seamlessly. So, modern retailers see their webshops not as competitors of their physical stores, but as an opportunity to reach out to more consumers. After all, a webshop means that you are not limited to your physical location: your target group may be considerably bigger online.
5. MEASURE THE EFFECT
A display window geared towards the target group will entice visitors into your store, while the buying process will then be influenced by strong in-store communication. But how do you know exactly what the direct effect of your visual merchandising is? The retail industry measures a wide range of different aspects – turnover per square metre, comparisons between stores, campaigns– however, it often neglects to measure the impact of the communications themselves. What a shame, because a font, graphic or colour can make a world of difference. Measurements can be obtained by interviewing a group of respondents, but also by testing the reactions of people in laboratories. You can also use eye-tracking equipment to assess the best location for visuals.
6. LOOK BEYOND YOUR OWN STORE
The visibility, experience, look and feel of your store is very important. However, you can approach potential customers in other places too. You can use visual merchandising in the direct vicinity of your store: in the lift, in the car park or on the escalator, for example. The same applies at more of a distance from your store too, alongside motorways or on buildings, in the form of life-size wall signs. This ‘to-store’ branding will increase the visibility of your brand and attract customers to your store.