Visual Merchandising Advice 101

The first rule of visual merchandising of your products is there are no fixed rules. The best way to tackle your retail display is by trial and error and seeing what works for your store. But by that, I mean investing time to try various ways of merchandising and tracking sales to see what actually converts better.

For example, rotating the front table in your store every month with different products can have different results. Some types of products might sell well there whilst others are not eye-catching enough. Make a note of what succeeds in that place. Did it work well with a mannequin on the table and folded clothing items around it or did it fare better with small gift items like candles and accessories. Does bold signage work well on that table that can be seen from outside? Is there a price point which works well? Each store is different and as it is based on human behaviour it is not possible to have 1 rule for all stores. Other factors such as your lighting and the size of your store also have an impact however if you don’t try different things then you will never know what works and more importantly what doesn’t work.

front table

Think about repetition. If you have enough inventory of something, try it in multiple locations within your boutique. Put it with other items of its category for example body lotion with other lotions, in another place as part of a gift set with items of matching colour or theme and again in a section with just that brand. See which location customers are seeing it better. Some customers may be visually attracted and prefer the gift set approach, others may be brand loyal and buy multiple items from one brand.

The biggest challenge I faced with my merchandising was having so many product types. From large strollers to soft toys to bottles of organic lotions, everything required different styles of merchandising and it was a battle to keep the store from looking cluttered. However I always had two basic rules for my team.  1) Always make sure labels face forward and are visable. 2) Never should we have 1 of something on a shelf. In my view, having 1 piece looked cheap (unless of course you have a vintage store!). If we got down to 1 piece, we tried to match it as a gift set rather than sell it alone.

Another big challenge I found with merchandising was teaching my team to constantly replenish. You may start the day with a refreshed full store but as sales are generated, gaps will appear on the shelves. If the store team are not replenishing sold items then not only do gaps appear but some items may not be displayed at all and therefore you are missing the opportunity for them to sell.

My overall suggestion is for you to have fun with your merchandising. Customers want to be tempted and to be put in a ‘happy’ mood to part with their money and make a purchase. Put them at ease, make it easy for them to see and touch things, make it logical and if you can, informative.  If brick and mortar retail is up against the convenience of online shopping, then the key to success is in the experience. Tangible goods they can touch and feel, in a welcoming setting with the instant gratification of a purchase. 

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