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Retail commerce | Merchandising

8 Tips to Improve Your Store Displays

image: Top tips written on a chalkboard
Visual merchandising is both art and science—and critical to retail success

Larger retailers employ specialised staff to work exclusively on visual merchandising. As a smaller retailer you may not be able to afford that—but because those larger retailers are your competitors, you can't afford not to make the most of your store and window displays.


That's why trade show ASD Market Week put together the guide "How to Develop Great Visual Merchandising in Your Store." Among its takeaways:



Make the most of your entrance.

And by that we mean the area about five feet beyond the doorway. Those first five feet, according to ASD, are a transition zone, so "there is no real need for merchandising in this area." Just beyond, however, is the store entrance. "Place a table presentation, gondola, or fixture here with a good average price point. It is helpful to continue the theme from your windows or seasonal merchandise."



People tend to steer right (at least in Western cultures), so make the most of the area to the right of your entrance.

It's a good spot for promotions not already touted in your entry display and for midprice items, according to ASD.



Place high-demand items in the back of the store.

This ensures that shoppers have to pass by the rest of your offerings to get there. Of course, you need to make certain that shoppers can see the back of the store and its wares from the entry.



"Keep round racks and straight bars for sale merchandise,"

according to the guide.



Take eye flow into consideration when setting up displays.

Organise from light to dark, left to right, and small to large. Generally speaking, taller items should be toward the back of a display, and darker items toward the bottom.



Take advantage of props.

If you look at the bookshelves of a designer's home, you'll see that they include plenty of artful objects among the books, to break the visual tedium and encourage the eye to roam. The same principle goes for props in store displays and, even more important, windows. Be sure they're appropriate for your brand and your audience, however. If you sell apparel and accessories to teens and young adults, you probably don't want to use vintage-style canisters to hold earrings, for instance.



Place impulse items near your point of sale.

But don't clutter the countertops and register/till area so much that there's no room for the customer to place her purchases.



Go beyond the visual.

Don't ignore the other senses. If your store plays music, make sure it's complementary to your merchandise and appealing to your audience (regardless of your and your staff's personal tastes). If you sell apparel or home goods, display at least some of the products in a way that enables shoppers to feel how soft, silky, plush, or toasty the textiles are. Perhaps a subtle fragrance wafting from the entrance would entice passersby to step in (there's a reason so many supermarkets have their bakeries located near the front doors).


author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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