The function of visual merchandising is to influence customer behavior. Visual merchandising uses floor planning of the traffic flow, lighting, branding and displays to lead customers all the way through the showroom. You need all your merchandising elements working together to sell more product.
How do retailers create sales?
They incorporate bold color, brand images and lifestyle product grouping into a story you want to interact with. Retailers know the job is to get the shopper to forget reason and step up to buy their latest greatest products. Products don’t have to be unique or cheap to sell well; they have to be presented well. Ever notice how many stores in a mall sell only ladies clothes? Think about this: Let’s say 50 stores in the mall sell ladies only apparel. Of the 50 stores, they basically all create and sell the same stuff — jeans, tops, jackets, skirts, accessories — and many are selling the same colors each season; the difference is the brand story. We can take these 50 stores and break them down into the lifestyles that each brand has targeted. Young miss (American Eagle, Hollister, The Buckle), urban miss (Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, Lucky Brand) and Mrs. brands (Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic). Again, all these brand stores sell the same thing in a similar way, what the difference is between them is their brand story. They use the store to create a look and feel for the brand that gets the shopper to enter and interact, leading to a purchase.
When you shop a store like a Victoria’s Secret, you may notice that they use a lot of pink on one half of the store and black on the other as these colors change the mood and setting the products are displayed in. Going from the casual pink side of the store to the sophisticated black side, you are sorting the customers by their style. One customer wants a more casual product and the other sees them self as needing the sophisticated goods. In any case, the same product (undergarments) is not surrounded in the same environment. Mood and tone have strong links to creating a sale.
How can you benefit in your visual merchandising?
- Use your store’s space to create lifestyle zones. Use your brands and products that have display support and POP to help you tell a brand story.
- Use brands’ displays, fixtures graphics, or ability to create a graphic to boost in-store sales.
- If you sell to street and off-road riding lifestyles, make a plan to create a street zone with each street brands having their own space in it. The same goes for off-road brands. Separate all products and brands into specific user lifestyle zones; this will change your sales.
- Remember that not all brands are equal; some cater to specific rider lifestyles and uses. When you lump all street gear together and its mostly black colored as well, the customers have a hard time distinguishing between them, and they don’t see the product characteristics.
- Avoid simply hanging products on the walls without graphics and signs to support and highlight!
- Avoid generic, bland displays. Kmart was that kind of store, and now they are out of business.
- Work with suppliers and salespeople that can help you create a custom look and feel for your store’s displays. Be open to working with creative people, and don’t be a stick in the mud!
- Make sure your store is clean, tidy and all the hangers match and are pointed in the same direction. Customers react to color, texture, strong visual messages and top notch housekeeping,
Customers see themselves in many ways, so make sure you diversify your stocking brands to fit genders, ages and lifestyles. Keep in mind a customer may be just buying a jacket, but they are really buying a jacket that fits who they are.
Jennifer Robison’s career began in 1987 when she served as a service writer/parts sales for a high-end import auto dealer before becoming one of the first generation of Harley-Davidson Motorclothes managers at a Northwest dealership (1991-2000). From 2002 on, Jennifer has been with Tucker Rocky Distributing. Jennifer has educated the Tucker Rocky sales force and dealers about the powersports apparel business and powersports retailing. Jennifer’s expertise is in powersports retailing, merchandising and display, promotions and in-store marketing. She has lectured and written about powersports retailing and continues to perform dealer educational workshops and seminars across the United States.