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The Power of Visual Merchandising

On this week's episode of The Vertical, we dive into the power of visual merchandising. See the full episode here.

What:

Visual merchandising is vital to running a business built around buying and selling. We often like to think that our products speak for themselves, but if they aren’t merchandised and displayed well, what does that say about your business? Visuals are everything. When you visual merchandise, the goal is to attract your customers. You want the customer to buy what you’re selling, so you have to sell them something they want. You’re not just selling a product, you’re selling an experience. When displaying your products, you have to do it in a way that attracts the customer’s senses. Once your customer picks up the product, feels it, smells it, or tries it on, they are far more likely to make a purchase. Remember to think about how you can ensure your customer interacts with the product.

You’re not just selling a product, you’re selling an experience

The good news is that visual merchandising is an art and a science. That means that once you’ve got your branding down, the rest is down to practical merchandising rules. Lighting, fixtures, props, and furniture all play a major role in attracting your customer’s senses.


Why:

  • Creating an experience for your customer makes an impression on them not just to make a purchase, but to come back in the future. For the long-term success of your business, you want to build brand loyalty with your customers. The more cohesive your brand is, the more your ideal customer will be able to identify with it.
  • Still don’t think visual merchandising is important? 93% of shoppers focus on the visual appearance of the product they are considering. When you have visually stimulating displays, they do the work for you. As small businesses, we have to price things higher than the mainstream mass produced products. To appeal to customers to choose you over others, you have to stand out.

93% of shoppers focus on the visual appearance of the product they are considering

  • Did you know the average shopper makes three unplanned purchases in four out of every 10 stores they visit? Visual merchandising is an effective tool for UPSELLING. When you visual merchandise, you strategically place products together to encourage the customer to buy more. For example put candles with bath bombs and tea to create the impression of relaxation. Or create a set with earrings and necklaces. You don’t want the customer to buy just one, you want them to buy both.

How:

  • The first step in having great visual merchandising is to have a cohesive brand. Your brand should appeal to your ideal customer across all platforms. It should match your Instagram, your online shop, and your pop-up store. Your brand should complement your product while attracting your customer.

The first step in having great visual merchandising is to have a cohesive brand

    • Choose a color palette for your brand and stick with it. Choose a font for your marketing material that is complementary to what you use across all platforms.
    • What is the vibe you are going for? Boho? Modern? Minimal? Choose one and stick with it. Once you know what your style is, you will be able to merchandise your products with ease to sell a lifestyle.
    • Have displays that elevate the look and feel of your product. Quality displays create the impression of a quality product.
  • When visual merchandising, it’s important to remember that you’re attracting the customer’s senses.
  • Sight
    • 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual. This paired with the very SHORT attention span of a human, you have no choice but to put the emphasis on striking visuals.
    • Make sure your most expensive product is the focal point. Place the product at eye level for your customer to see.
  • Sound
    • If you play music in the background it can add to the experience of what you’re trying to sell.
  • Taste
    • If you sell coffee or chocolate- include samples! Customers are much more likely to buy it after tasting it.
  • Touch
    • Make your displays easily accessible for customers to come up to. You want the customer to pick up the product and feel it for themselves.
  • Smell
    • If you sell candles, make smelling samples easily available. What makes your candles stand out apart from all the others? Put a rose next to a rose-scented oil or have pine cones next to pine-smelling candles, etc. Evoke the ingredients that you use.

How can you appeal to these senses with the product you are selling? Create an environment for your customer to interact with your product. Play nice music, have a candle burning, a try on station with a mirror for jewelry, etc.

Create an environment for your customer to interact with your product.

  • There are certain rules to stick to when visual merchandising. Of course, these rules are not rigid as not everyone sells the same thing. But they are practical when it comes to maintaining a clean and aesthetically pleasing display.
    • Rule of three
      • In creating displays, most visual merchandisers will often refer to the rule of three, which means that when creating a product display, try to work in sets of three. Three products all in the same size or all in different sizes. Three products all in the same color but different type of product.
    • Color scheme
      • Wherever the eyes go, the feet will follow. So use color to catch the eyes of your customers and draw them to your displays.
      • Put complimentary colors together to improve your chances of upselling.
    • By genre
      • Remember that you are lifestyle selling. Think of this as part of the shoppers experience- they want to experience the item in their home before buying it. 
      • Place different types of candles together, mugs with plates, scarves and hats, soap and moisturizer, etc. Take every opportunity to upsell your product in a bundle.

Conclusion

You don’t have to use all the visual merchandising tips together, see which tips work for you and your brand and stick with them. When it comes to evoking the customer’s senses, find which sense your product evokes and do everything you can to play into it when visually merchandising. Don’t be afraid to look for inspiration on pinterest or even your competition- see what they do and then personalize it to you. The goal is for YOU to stand out.

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