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If you run a physical retail business, a café, a restaurant, or any kind of business that has consumers coming in through your doors to look at and buy your products, then your physical space should be part of what wins customers over. It shouldn’t just be a place to host all your goods and services. Every inch of it should convince the customer to take the next step in closing the sale. That’s the aim of visual merchandising. So, how do you use it?
Getting your hooks in
The number one aim of visual merchandising is to turn everyone who sees through your window and everyone who steps through your door into a customer. When people hear the term, the first thing they think of is how they display the items on offer. With in-store displays, there are concerns of organisation and categorisation to be considered. But as Retail Doc shows, there’s a science to winning more customers with a good display. A customer already interested in buying is also likely to pick up something extra from an aesthetically pleasing display. Creating a display space apart from the rest of the shelves with circulating offers, visual diversity, extra lighting, and even fun display props makes spending that little bit more a tempting proposition for the buyer.
Creating an experience
It’s about more than just drawing people towards certain items or using your most aesthetically appealing choices in your display windows. The best businesses use visual merchandising to create an experience unique to the store. It’s why you know when you’re in an Apple Store or a Starbucks. They create a mood that the customers enjoy through a unique visual style. It’s about more than the signs around and the colour themes used in a display. Uniquely designed windows from places like Cooltone, the kind of alternative lighting used in famous stores like Hollister Co., even sound and smell all play a big role in changing the mood and creating an experience. Use it to take your customer to a different place where they’re more likely to buy into what you’re selling.
Wearing the brand loud and proud
The very best retail experiences go well beyond the moment the customer leaves the store. They last with them. A big part of lasting visual merchandising is coming up with the right retail brand and making it a part of the store’s identity. Taking the example of Hollister Co., again, the brand drips from every inch of the store, using consistent imagery to create the sexy surfer beach appeal. It sells more than clothes, it sells a lifestyle through the store. For that reason, when its customers think of creating that fun, coastal, casual look, it’s the brand their mind goes to. It makes them not just consumers, but active brand fans.
Visual merchandising works on many levels, conscious and subconscious. It draws the attention of the customer where you want it drawn. It creates a vibe to get them mentally more in line with what you’re providing. It creates the lasting image that can turn a customer into a brand advocate. Don’t ignore the importance of good visuals in your place of business.