What first impression does your retail store make on customers? Considering that customers subconsciously make snap judgments about retailers in 10 seconds or less, it’s important to instantly create a positive impression with your inventory and in-store displays. To do this, it is necessary to create a merchandising strategy that showcases your inventory in the best light possible, as well as showcasing the unique qualities that make your store unforgettable.
This will get customers excited about your store and inventory, ultimately helping your company generate revenue and build customer loyalty. So, how can you create merchandising magic in your store? Below, gain step-by-step insight on how to merchandise products to make a compelling, unforgettable and profitable in-store experience for your customers.
Step #1: Create a Store Blueprint
First of all, you need to choose the right floor plan for your target customer and inventory. Start by mapping out your store blueprint on paper and identifying key traffic areas. Keep in mind that customers tend to follow the same patterns when shopping, so understanding how customer traffic flows in your store can help you determine how to best display your merchandise. Most customers need a 5 to 15-foot decompression zone to get their bearings when they first enter a store, for instance, and tend to veer to the right when we begin shopping. Constructing your store blueprint with an awareness of customer behavioral patterns will help you to create an inviting in-store shopping experience that encourages browsing.
Step #2: Think in Terms of Visibility
Where are your customers looking when they walk around your store? It is important to be aware of how your displays draw your customers’ line of vision and your store should be laid out in a way that you aren’t blocking your customers’ view of your inventory. Keep tables and fixtures low enough that customers can see the wall behind them and use your walls to creatively display your inventory and encourage the flow of customer traffic by placing compelling visual displays in areas of your store that your customers tend to neglect. Another tip? To avoid visually overwhelming your customers, merchandise products from light to dark, small to large, and left to right.
Step #3: Build on What Makes You Unique
When customers go to physical stores in this day and age, they are looking for remarkable retail experiences, not just the same old thing. Give your customers something different by jazzing up your retail displays with a creative mix of inventory and don’t be afraid to take a theme and run with it. Features such as wall murals, props and techy interactive displays give your customers a little something extra to enrich their in-store shopping experience and differentiate your store from the rest. In addition, Georganne Bender, retail expert, and consultant
“Be eclectic. Don’t just focus on one thing. For example, a handbag display that’s just handbags is boring. Think about other things a woman might carry with her during the day – a wallet, a makeup bag, a necklace, or a scarf. Display these things together to tell a story.”
Step #4: Plan Out Your Props and Fixtures
When planning out your store’s props and fixtures, ask yourself how you are going to get your store’s message or theme across. This is where you can showcase your store’s unique personality, so don’t be afraid to go a little off the beaten path. By mapping out your props and fixtures ahead of time you can create a cohesive visual in-store experience without risking bordering on kitsch. From there, make a list of what props you will need to make your in-store displays work, and don’t forget to consider how your customers’ eyes will travel around your store in the process. Remember, visibility is key when it comes to choosing prop and fixture heights:
“A great VM (visual merchandising) tactic is to contextualize your products by lifestyle. Dover Street Market do this brilliantly styling new season pieces with the right selection of accessories, art, books, fragrance and homeware, acting as (shoppable) props. Anthropologie is also a great example – a well-placed scented candle, silk scarf or vase can instantly increase basket spend.”
Step #5: Regularly Change Your Displays
Your in-store displays need to engage your regular customers every time they come into your store to maximize conversions and capture customer interest from first-time visitors. To retain the “wow” factor in your store, refresh your displays with new products and props on a monthly basis. In addition, be sure to dust your displays every three days and clean them on a weekly basis so they look fresh and appealing to every customer every time. A little extra display maintenance can go a long way towards engaging new customers and encouraging customer loyalty, so make maintenance a priority to maximize sales.
How you merchandise your space sets the tone for your customers’ in-store experience. Choose your displays, props, and fixtures with an awareness of how you want to direct traffic throughout your store to encourage browsing, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately boost in-store conversions.
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