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Visual Merchandising 101

“My advice for retailers who want to create Instagram-worthy merchandising is to always keep the customer in mind,” says Melissa Gonzalez, founder of The Lionesque Group. “It’s great to be inspired by what’s happening in the industry but at the end of the day, your target customer should be at the core of your decision making — and your visual design should inspire and build mindshare.”

What is visual merchandising?

  • Visual merchandising is a crucial retail strategy that maximizes the aesthetics of a product with the intent to increase and maximize sales.

Why is it important?

  • The most important function is to draw customers into the shop and close the sale, which is all dependent on the aesthetic quality of your retail display.

  • Over 80% of sales are impulse purchases at retail locations, which means if you are not actively focusing on how to perfectly execute a visual merchandising strategy then you are giving up LOADS of sales.

How can it benefit your small business?

  • Brand loyalty (AKA repeat sales) increases when a customer is satisfied with their experience

  • products that may have the most appeal need to be displayed in the front and center to attract customers

Tips on how to Implement good visual merchandising practices:

  • Avoid overwhelming or over-crowding of products

    • do not bunch everything together, it can look cluttered and unattractive

  • Adopting particular themes

    • keeping all the displays uniform and similar

    • having the same color pops throughout

    • make sure all the fonts on signs are branded

  • Your marketing should convey the look and feel of your brand

    • AKA: does your booth look like your Instagram page or website?

      • For example: if you have a vintage farmhouse style booth but your Instagram and website are modern AF then you need to get on the same page and get a modern booth display.

    • This also goes along with analyzing your target market- are you looking to attract vintage farmhouse customers or the modern (probably younger) crowd?

  • Tell a story with a display about your:

    • product development

    • background on your store

    • who you are and what your company stands for

      • in a market so saturated, you will need to stand out by putting your unique stamp on everything!

    • Images also speak a story- consider adding a photo or two of you in the business making the items

  • Color is important

    • color is POWERFUL in the sense that it can instantly set the tone for your customer experience

    • Wherever your eyes go, your feet follow

    • Monochromatic: Single base color and its various shades

    • Complementary: Combination of colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel — such as red-orange and blue-green

    • Analogous: three colors adjacent to one another on the color wheel — such as orange, yellow-orange, and yellow

    • Pro tip: Keep the backdrop color monochromatic — so the walls, floor, and even ceiling don’t detract from the products.

  • incorporate Technology

    • Put up QR codes in empty spaces to help your customers follow you fast and easily, this allows for relationship building as well as the repeat customer base

    • Put up a discount for people that sign up for your email opt-in

    • GET customer contact information somehow, someway but get it

    • Use a touchscreen device for easy sign-ups while they are checking out




  • Des your booth attract you? Would you step into your booth if you were at your event? WHY? o WHY NOT?

  • Change your current booth layout to be more inviting

  • Grouping your items based on packages or gift ideas instead of all the same type of item together

  • Check back at your latest booth photo and write down everything that is “wrong” or that you do not like

    • A camera will see more than your eye does and you will be able to analyze better


  • Visual Merchandising Checklist


      1. The purpose of each display is clear; Can be understood in 5 seconds or less.

      2. All displays have signage including a call to action.

      3. Displays are not over or understocked and allow customers to interact with products.

      4. Promotions are current and consistent

      5. All displays are in “like new” condition.

      6. Special bins or baskets are clearly signed with pricing and positioned in hot spot zones.

      7. The product is priced correctly.

      8. Shelving at eye level is merchandised

      9. Product is organized logically by size/color/type/brand.

      10. The product is easily accessible

      11. Is the latest campaign set up near the front

      12. Displays are well lit

      13. Flyers/cards/print collateral are readily available for customers to take?



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