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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
“Not what we give, But what we share, For the gift, without the giver Is bare” ~James Russell Lowell

A journey to the world outside text books and class rooms has remained the best teacher for ages. “Foray between the Shopping Aisles”, was an expedition to learn, in a different way. We are deeply indebted to our professor, Dr. Deepak Gupta, for holding our hands when we risked stumbling and guiding us through this study with his immense fund of wisdom and patience. We express a deep sense of gratitude to our mentor, Mr. Arpit Mishra, for his unfaltering support and motivation which made this study worthwhile. A token of gratitude, to the staff of Big Bazaar, Nilgiris, Reliance Fresh and More outlets of Palakkad and Coimbatore, for without their support this study would have been impossible. We are indebted to Mr. Anupam Goyal and Mr. Mohit Saxena for helping us out although we were perfect strangers to them. We are deeply obliged to all those customers who filled our surveys both at the stores and online, for without them this study would have been nonexistent. Thanks to all the students of Amrita School of Business, who, with their ideas and suggestions fostered this study to completion.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The study “Foray Between the Shopping Aisles” was aimed at finding out the Impact of Visual merchandising (VM) on customer buying behaviour. Visual Merchandising, which deals with elements of display of products is fast gaining momentum in India with the growth of retail industry. While double conversion theory of

converting visitors to shoppers and shoppers to buyers is making marketers around the world pour efforts towards the area it of is

shopper’s

marketing,

important to notice that Visual merchandising is involved in

getting more visitors to stores and also in converting them into shoppers. As this accounts for 2/3 rd of the process, it is of immense importance.

The research methodology consisted of experience surveys with floor managers and visual merchandising managers. This was followed by questionnaire survey, which was done both at stores and online. The total sample size amounts up to 176. Social media was also used as a tool for learning in this study. A free lance interior designer who has designed over 100 stores including those for Zaara, Pocket and Nautica provided us with a telephonic interview and also provided us with valuable secondary data which aided this research. Another respondent who helped us out through social media was a Visual Merchandiser with VF Arvind Brands who gave valuable insights about VM efforts and chanllenges in India.

The results obtained from qualitative and survey analyses are described in respective chapters. Transcripts of interviews are available in Appendices 1-5.

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Although we got some wonderful insights about the role of visual merchandising in retail stores on consumer behaviour, this study had a few limitations. The study was conducted in a sample which was from Kerala and Tamilnadu. Visual merchandising varies significantly across states, which due to limitations of time and other resources were unexplored. Yet, this study was conducted after a lot of cerebration, planning and hard work and throws some much needed light on the subject.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT .............................................................................................. 3 1.1 TOUR OF THE AISLES ..................................................................................................................... 3 1.2 INTRODUCTION TO RETAIL INDUSTRY .......................................................................................... 4 1.3 REASONS FOR EMERGENCE .......................................................................................................... 5 1.4 STATUS QUO OF RETAIL MARKET IN INDIA................................................................................... 6 1.5 BIG PLAYERS IN INDIAN RETAIL MARKET ...................................................................................... 8 CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH DESIGN ............................................................................................................ 11 2.1 OBJECTIVES ................................................................................................................................. 11 2.2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................................ 12 2.3 SAMPLING PLAN.......................................................................................................................... 13 2.4 DATA COLLECTION AND CLEANING ............................................................................................ 14 2.5 ANALYSIS PLAN............................................................................................................................ 14 CHAPTER 3: EXPLORATORY RESEARCH–SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS ................................................. 15 3.1 DESK RESEARCH .......................................................................................................................... 15 3.2 THE 5 SENSORY ELEMENTS ......................................................................................................... 17 3.3 VISUAL MERCHANDISING ELEMENTS ......................................................................................... 19 3.4 TIME DURATION OF THE WINDOW DISPLAY .............................................................................. 22 3.5 PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN ............................................................................................................... 23 CHAPTER 4: EXPLORATORY RESEARCH - QUALITATIVE METHODS ....................................................... 53 4.1 INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS ............................................................................. 53 4.1 DEPTH INTERVIEWS .................................................................................................................... 53 4.2 OBSERVATIONAL RESEARCH ...................................................................................................... 55 4.3 IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA .......................................................................................................... 57 4.4 DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH .............................................................................................................. 58 4.5 RESULTS - DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH ............................................................................................. 59 CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................................................................ 76 CITATIONS ............................................................................................................................................. 81 APPENDIX 1: DEPTH INTERVIEW – VM MANAGER ............................................................................... 82 APPENDIX 2: DEPTH INTERVIEW – FLOOR MANAGER 1 ....................................................................... 85 APPENDIX 3: DEPTH INTERVIEW – FLOOR MANAGER 2 ....................................................................... 88

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APPENDIX 4: DEPTH INTERVIEW – RETAIL STORE DESIGNER ............................................................... 89 APPENDIX 5: DEPTH INTERVIEW – ASST. VM MANAGER ..................................................................... 93 APPENDIX 6: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE ................................................................................................ 96 APPENDIX 7: CODE BOOK ..................................................................................................................... 99 ADIEU TO THE AISLES .......................................................................................................................... 105

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT
1.1 TOUR OF THE AISLES
Shopping has transformed from necessity to an adventure. It’s more of an experience, opportunity for celebration. Gone are the good old days when a list is made and shopping is done at the nearby Kirana store. Shopping is a welcome break from hectic schedules, time to let your hair down and hit the malls. Retail giants like Central woo their patrons with mottos of “Shop Eat and Celebrate”, and Big Bazaars rule hearts with “Is se sastha aur acha kahin nahi”. Do those attractive mannequins and 3D displays of Play stations actually make more sales at your store?

The double conversion theory talks about visitors converting into shoppers and shoppers ultimately in to buyers. Marketers around the globe are pouring efforts and currency into shopper’s marketing.

VISITOR

SHOPPER
Figure 1: The Double Conversion

BUYER

At this juncture it is important to notice that visual merchandising, which deals with the display of products and creating an ambience is involved in the first two stages. A good display makes people walk into the store and also helps in making them feel like taking a look around. Since VM is directly involved in 2/3 of the entire process of converting a mere visitor into a buyer, the need arises to seek a correlation. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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As Peter Drucker rightly said, “Most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions”. This report will contain the purpose, procedure, methodology, conclusions and recommendations that would make the foray between shopping aisles a memorable one to customers. It also consists of a separate chapter on the impact of social media in this study in the form of expert interviews.

1.2 INTRODUCTION TO RETAIL INDUSTRY
Retailing is considered as one of the most agile industry, where the individual stores comes in contact with the customers and responds to their everyday needs. To be successful, retailers must be able to convince the shoppers, that they can satisfy their needs better than their competitors.

Retailing one of the largest industries in India, with an employment of around 8% and contributing to over 11% of the country's GDP. Retail industry in India is expected to rise by 25% yearly as it is being driven by strong income growth, changing lifestyles and favourable demographic patterns. Shopping in India has witnessed a revolution with the change in the consumer buying behaviour. In India there are multi- stored malls, huge shopping centres, and sprawling complexes which offer food, shopping, and entertainment all under the same roof.

Retail industry in India and its growth    India has the highest shop density and is rated the fifth most attractive emerging retail market in the world 2nd in the global retail development index out of 30 (AT Kearney Global Management Consultants) The growth of Retail Companies in India has a long way to go and great potentials within this sector is yet to be explored.

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Gender roles: Gender roles are now changing. Females have started working outside. So, they have no time for actively looking out for new stores for their needs. They want all their needs to be fulfilled in one single shop.

Paucity of time: People have no time for product searching. Because of emergence of working women and also number of other entertainment items, people want to spend their time either at work or with family.

Double income group: Emergence of double income group leads to increase in disposable income. Now people have more disposable income so they can spend easily.

Large population: India being a second largest country in terms of population possesses large potential market for all the products/services. This results into entry of large number of fast food players in the country. Relaxation in rules and regulations, with the economic liberalization of 1991, most of the tariff and non tariff barriers from the Indian boundaries are either removed or minimized. This helped significantly the retail industry.

Industry Growth Rate and Trends: Most of the big companies have forayed into the retail sector for a better business. Bharti – Wal-Mart, Future Group, Nilgiris, D mart, Shoprite Hypermart, Spencers, Reliance Fresh, More (Aditya Birla Group) to name a few. The Growth of Retail Companies in India is most pronounced in the metro cities; however the smaller towns are also catching up. The growth of Indian retail sector is expected to touch US$440 billion landmark by 2010 with the growth rate of 30-35 % as per Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Revenues from the sector are expected to rise up to US$ 24 billion by 2010. It is expected that by 2016, modern retail industry in India will be worth US$ 175- 200 billion.

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The share of modern retail is likely to grow from its current 3 per cent to 15 - 20 percent over the next decade. 85 % of organized retailing is taking place in India’s urban areas. The retail companies are found to be rising in India at a remarkable speed with the years and this has brought a revolutionary change in the shopping.

Figure 2: Expected Growth of retail and contribution of GDP

1.4 STATUS QUO OF RETAIL MARKET IN INDIA
Currently there are about 51, 30,000 retail outlets selling about Rs5000 billion worth of products. Retail universe in India comprises large, medium general stores, chemists and pan-bidi, kirana stores (apart from accessories stores). In the last couple of years this industry has made agile move from its nascent stages.    In India, more than12 millions outlets are run by small business houses The expected boom in retailing is $ 300 billion and going to occupy second largest retail market after China Retailing contributes 3% to GDP (around 10^10 rupees) in comparison to organized sector  There are over 2400 supermarkets, which account for 10% of total grocery sales within the 28% urban towns. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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     In India 60% of food and 40% of non-food items are kept in retails stores.

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In other countries the ratio is 80% foods or grocery and remaining 20% non-food items are kept. There are 50 hypermarkets in India, operated by 5 big retailers. There are hypermarkets following backward integration and 70% stock is procured from agricultural markets in India. Food and apparel retailing key drivers of growth in this industry.

Individual retailers

MBO’s

Hypermarkets

Convenience stores

Indian Retail Industry

Discount stores

Department Stores

Supermarkets

Shopping malls

Specialty Chains

Figure 3: Types of Indian Retail Sector

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Types of Indian Retail Sector          Supermarkets (Nilgiris, Kannan’s Departmental Store) Hypermarkets (Shoprite) Department Stores (Apna Baazar, Maharashtra) Individual retailers Shopping malls (Forum , Central , Inorbit) Specialty Chains (Mega Mart) Convenience stores (Kirana Stores) MBO, ( Multi Brand outlets), ( Lifestyle, Pocket Stores) Discount stores (D- Mart, Big Bazaar, Coupons, Brand Factory)

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1.5 BIG PLAYERS IN INDIAN RETAIL MARKET
               Pantaloon and the Big Bazaar Landmark and Central Shopper's Stop Lifestyle Globus Will's Lifestyle Westside Subhiksha/ Vishal Mega mart Vivek's Nilgiris Tata Godrej Reliance Aditya Birla-MORE Metro Varkey’s

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This study was focussed in Coimbatore, where the concentration was mainly on modern retail outlets viz. Big Bazaar, Nilgiris, More and Reliance fresh.

Here is a brief description about each:

Big Bazaar Big Bazaar is India’s 1st hypermarket retail outlet. It was founded in 2001 with the 1st store founded in Kolkata; it’s promoted by Future Group headed by Mr Kishore Biyani. There are currently around 110 outlets across india, It provides products at best prices. The target customers are price conscious segment which forms the major chunk of in the market.

Figure 4: Flowchart showing Big Bazaar assortment

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More More was started by Kumarmangalam Birla, Aditya Birla Group in 2007, with the first store in Pune. Now there are over 600 More stores in the country. More started off as a supermarket but More Megastores are fast mushrooming.

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Nilgiris Nilgiris was established in 1905 with humble beginning in Ooty and Coonor. Has 90 supermarkets across India’s southern states. It was established with a clear vision for serving people.

Reliance Fresh Reliance fresh is a supermarket from RIL, started in 2006 and has 560 stores across the country. These stores will sell fresh fruit and vegetables besides staples (dal, atta, rice) as well the company’s inhouse brand, Reliance Select. RIL is targeting not only the households but also street side vegetable sellers. According to sources, RIL is setting up Ranger Farms — outlets that will specifically service streetside vegetable sellers who can stock up on fresh farm produce.

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CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH DESIGN

2.1 OBJECTIVES

Decision maker's problem

Does “What” and “Where” and “How” in a store really matter as far as customers’ buying decisions are concerned?

Market Researcher's problem

What attracts customers towards different products in a retail store?

On a more specific note, the market researcher’s problem (MRP) can be divided into the following:MRP 1: To explore the impact of visual merchandising on the buying decisions of customers in a retail store (how factor of DM Problem)

MRP 2: To explore if buying choices are made before reaching the store or thereafter (General question which will help us understand consumer behaviour)

MRP 3: To explore the impact of layout in a retail store on customer buying behaviour (Where factor of DM Problem)

MRP 4: To analyze whether customers actively seek for new products at a retail store (What factor of DM problem)

MRP 5: To get an insight on “Are buying decisions unconscious or purely conscious” (General question which will help us understand consumer behaviour) AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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The study was done on the retail industry, specifically the discount stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets and the apparel industry which are the pioneer in area of implementing visual merchandising. The objective of the study was to understand the impact of visual merchandising on the buying behaviour and the buying decisions of the customers.

Stages of research process:-

Stage 1 - Problem Definition

Stage 2 - Desk Research

Stage 3 - Research Design

Stage 4 - Field Work

Stage 5 - Analysis of Data Gathered

Stage 6 - Conclusion

Stage 7 - Recommendations Figure 5 – Research Process Flow

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Target Population: Individuals between the age group of 15 to 85 years. Sampling Procedure: Judgement sampling. Sample Size: 176 Sample Elements: Handpicked elements. Data Collection: Survey done on the sawmple elements using questionnaire.
Figure 6 – Sampling Plan

Target Population: Individuals between the age group of 15 to 85 years were chosen as the target population. It is people under this age group who are frequent visitors and shoppers to the large retail stores. Sampling Procedure: The sampling procedure used here was judgemental sampling. Only those respondents were chosen who visit retail outlets on a regular basis. This technique was chosen to avoid sample elements that had not been to the retail outlets that are focused in the study conducted. Sample Size: Since covering the entire population for the study was not feasible, a sample of 176 customers was taken. Out of the 176 samples 97 were surveyed directly at Coimbatore and Palakkad and 79 were online surveys from people all over India. Sample Elements: The sample element consisted of people who visit and shop from large retail stores.

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The data collection was done using the survey method. This was divided into 2 parts, the direct survey and online survey. Much of the data cleaning was required for the online surveys though the samples were judgemental. The responses outside the target sample elements that crept in were filtered. There was not much data cleaning needed for the direct surveys. In case of missing or the ambiguous responses the variable was assigned 9 or 99 to distinguish it from the valid responses.

2.5 ANALYSIS PLAN

Analysis of the data collected through survey was done using SPSS. The data was cleaned and coded to give as input to the SPSS. The analysis done using SPSS was used to arrive at a meaningful conclusion of the research. A code book was prepared for the entire questionnaire.

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CHAPTER 3: EXPLORATORY RESEARCH–SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS
3.1 DESK RESEARCH
A better part of any successful study owes to the secondary research of published works. A brief idea of what was already done will provide wonderful insights about how it can be taken to the next level. This gave us published data on what attracts customers towards products and buying behaviours of customers with reference to visual merchandising. It also highlighted various forms of visual merchandising and their impact on consumer buying behaviour.

Significant amount of work has been done in what drives people to choose some products over the others from shelves. The increase in Existing Indian middle classes with an increased purchasing power turn implies that retail industries are finding various ways to attract customers of different SEC to buy the goods for which visual merchandising plays a very important role. Introduction of slotting allowances which necessitate payments by manufactures to retailers for providing shelf space for new products becomes relevant in this context. It is all about how to make customers look at your products. [1]

Visual merchandising has taken retailing by storm. Stemming from Neural marketing, an intriguing marriage of marketing and science is the window to human mind. It is the key to unlock Buylogy – the subconscious thoughts, feelings and desires that drive the purchasing decisions that we make in everyday lives. [2]

Studies reveal that indoor signage play a dominant role in attracting customers to buy certain products. “Standee” is preferred by the majority of shoppers followed by drop down and shelf stock signage. A striking data that came out of this research was that signage of discounts and offers influenced the group with monthly income between INR10000 and INR 25000.

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Figure 7: graphical representation of the range of information carried by signage (Source: Report by V.P.S. Arora, Shivani Sharma and Nirdesh K. Singh for the Agricultural Economics Research Review)

Study on ITC Choupal fresh revealed that all the racks were placed on the left hand side and the cash counter was on the right side of the store keeping in view that the moment the customer enters the store; he turns to the left instead of right. [3] They also designed special section and racks for fruits and vegetables to make it look more appealing.

The 70% Rule 70 per cent of the purchase decisions happen on the store floor according to the study conducted in the US in 1995 study initiated by the Point-of- Purchase Advertising Institute.[4]

In addition to its conclusion that “more than 70 percent of brand decisions are made instore,” it was also advanced that “POP (point-of-purchase displays) are a significant decision influencer.” The study found that “in supermarkets, 42 percent of all brand purchases were made when one or more pieces of POP were present for a brand, [and] at mass merchandise stores, 35 percent of all brand purchases were made when one or more pieces of POP were present for a brand. More precisely, the study found that “more than 70 percent of brand purchase decisions are made in-store at supermarkets, and more than 74 percent are made in-store at mass merchandisers.” The context, in which this data is presented, however, is lacking. These percent findings are stated as a conclusion, rather than, for example, as a percent of all store SKUs, in test versus control stores, etc., which would help explain the significance or lack thereof of these conclusions. [5]

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This study was large in scope; encompassing data from a nationwide field intercept study of 4,200 consumers across 14 cities.

Yuri Bolotin, Principal, Design Portfolio, Australia, says, “Retail design can increase sales of a store, provided the productive sq.mts (the retail floor) are effectively designed, keeping that purpose in mind.” ‘In-store’ decisions to buy a product depend on a lot of factors like, the quality of the product, durability, pricing and so on. But the buck does not stop here, aspects like how the merchandise is placed, whether the in-store advertisements are properly put, what kind of music does the store play, how does it smell, what is the colourscheme of the walls, is the ambience pleasing or otherwise are important for a visual merchandiser to take care of.

Manu Neelakandhan, Design Director, Idiom Design & Consulting Ltd, says, “Try and involve all the senses to attract the clients. The emotions should follow the AIDA and ultimately to satisfaction at having received the best that the retailer has to offer the clients.” A store should always be viewed as a catalyst for raising revenues for the retailer. And therefore, its layout’s importance can never be over stressed.

3.2 THE 5 SENSORY ELEMENTS
Sight: The first thing that motivates a consumer to walk into a store is how the store ‘looks’. A welcoming and friendly store always scores a plus over those which are not. Bright colours, well-placed merchandise and in-store advertisements, all go into working for creating that ‘sight’ for a consumer. For example, in a furniture store, facts and helpful tips by interior designers can be put up next to merchandise to aid the consumers. They can see, read and take informed decisions.

Sound: Cacophony and chaos is not something that a retailer should ever associate his/her store with. Neither is silence a good option. Indulging the sense of sound through pleasing music (in accordance with the merchandise and brand concept) is a must. At an apparel store for young adults, fashion shows on screens and tips by stylists can be aired in the store to help shoppers select clothes for themselves. Interviews or quotes by famous authors can AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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be played at bookstores to educate the customers on what books to pick up.

Smell: A pleasing smell always adds to the ambience of a store. Musty odours or strong paint fumes can act as a deterrent for clients. A visual merchandiser while working in accordance to the retailer’s details should always keep in mind the sense of smell of a shopper; especially in the case of an F&B outlet, where bad odour is just unacceptable. A good odour is a sure-shot bonus to the store, it may not be remembered always, but its absence shall surely be remembered.

Touch: This is a tricky sense to indulge in, but most vital. For today’s quality-conscious consumer it is more than a necessity to be able to ‘feel’ the merchandise. Be it in trying on clothes in the trial room, or testing a perfume with a tester, holding a porcelain vase, feeling the texture of a glass table or judging the sturdiness of a hammock, the client should always be made to feel at home when it comes to the sense of ‘touch’. The worth this cannot be over emphasised.

Taste: Not all retail stores can hope at utilising the sense of taste. But for those who can, like chocolate stores, candy stores, F&B outlets, snack and juice bars should aim at always treating the sense of ‘taste’ of their consumers. On the house samples for tasting, free dishes or drinks on certain amount of purchases or sweets and chocolates for kids at any other kind of store are a few ways the retailer can indulge in the sense of taste of the consumer.

Pampering the five senses of the consumers ensures a sensory shopping experience for them. Working out the visual merchandising of a store with this end in mind can work wonders for a brand. The sixth sense, in this case, can be the sense the consumer exercises in purchasing the product. But that sense shall only prevail if the other five have been effectively stimulated!

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EXTERIOR PRESENTATION The quality of a store front is a major determinant and the for a

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customer

store

appearance should never be compromised. The exterior

appearance silently announces what customers can expect inside. Good exterior visual merchandising attracts

attention, creates interest and invites the customer into business. Generally the exterior presentation should be progressive, lavish or discount image to the customer. The important point to be noted is that how a store visually welcomes a customer has to do a lot, whether they enter or not.

EXTERIOR SIGNS An effective sign is a silent sales person. A sign must attract attention of customers in less than 10 seconds and should convey what the business is and what it has to sell. The size of the letter used in signs should be large enough to be read from a distant place. Elegant design and

expensive sign material will convey a business of luxury goods and services. A design of the sign conveys a great deal about the business. Signs can also be used to target a specific market segment such as youth, women, singles etc. Logo is also very important and plays a major role in attracting customers. They should be unique and noticeable. To put it in simple words simple brief, well designed, well lettered and easy to read signs will attract more customers and convey a feeling of welcome to the customers. A stores signs is its identity. It is with the sign that the AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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public recognize the store. Hence it should create an image that can be consistently carried out as an identity of the store.

MARQUEES Marquees are special type of signs used to display stores name. Effective marquees should be designed so as it is different from others and attracts the attention of customers.

BANNERS Banners are economical but colourful and eye catching means of promotion. They can be changed frequently to create different appearances which will in turn attract customers to the store. It will be more effective when the colour scheme and design concept used in the banners are the same as what is used in the store, on promotional materials and newspaper ads.

AWNINGS Colour and appeal can be added to a store exterior with the use of awnings. They also act as production to customer from rain and sun. This also facilitates the customers to view the window display more comfortably as it reduces heat, cuts down on glare and reflection and also prevents fading of merchandise from exposure to sun. Awnings if wrongly used can be distracting factor to the total image of the store.

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ENTRANCE & AISLES Most of the first time customers remember the store entrance. This goes on with the quote ‘first impression is the best

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impression’. Giving the best impression to the customer’s right at the entrance is mandatory for any store. Cluttered aisles makes the shoppers feel uncomfortable and hence leave to a bad shopping experience. Entrances that allow shopping to come into a store without being aware of their entering are also becoming very popular.

LANDSCAPING Landscaping should ultimately lead a customer’s eye to the focal point using colour and texture to provide contrast in harmony. A good

landscaping should be simple one which is also easy to maintain. Plants and flowers used in front of store ads to the general appearance of the store. Well chosen plans which are properly placed and maintained will help a lot in welcoming customers.

WINDOW DISPLAYS The Window to Customer’s Heart The display at shop windows is becoming increasingly popular as far as visual merchandising stands. Changing window displays to suit themes and moods and seasons is gaining popularity. Special emphasis has to be placed on a store’s window displays because they are the information link to the potential customer. Window display can be as important, if not more important, than advertising. As many as one in every four sales could be the result of a good window display. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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Window display should attract attention, create interest and invite people into the store to purchase goods. The average amount of time an individual spends looking at a window display is about 11 seconds, and that is the maximum time available to achieve this. Too much of merchandise must not be crowded at a window, as customers find it difficult to determine the message and what items are being promoted.

3.4 TIME DURATION OF THE WINDOW DISPLAY
Shoppers also lose interest when the same window display is left up too long. It is especially important to frequently change window displays in small towns where customers pass by several times a week. New displays indicate that new, up-to-date merchandise is available.

Properly lighted window display can help sell specific products or ideas that promote a store’s image. Window lights should be strong enough to overcome the reflections from outside objects, such as parked cars and buildings. At night, additional lights overhead marquees and projecting cornices can make the window area look larger.

Closed-back windows require a high level of general illumination. Massed window displays are often lighted with overhead fluorescents which are supplemented by closely spaced clear incandescent lamps. Miniature portable spotlights should be used to accent small display areas, price cards and specific items in a massed display. Compact footlights help relieve shadows near the bottom of vertical displays.

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THEME CREATION IN A WINDOW DISPLAY Window displays are more successful when a prominent theme is carried throughout the display, regardless of whether the featured products are fashion-oriented, institutional or

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promotional in nature.

Suggested window treatments that have proven successful include:  A single object against seamless paper  Merchandise displayed as it would be utilized in a realistic setting  A theatrical setting using fantasy and drama  Straight merchandise glamorized with props  Animation, such as in holiday windows that draws crowds of shoppers  The use of sculpture, painting or art objects for a touch of glass  Media tie-ins, with current area activities, films, stars or best-selling books

Window displays should be in harmony with the entire surroundings, a whole is being created rather than a fragment. When planning a window display consider the building façade, street, people and their perceptions, colour harmony, lighting and viewing angle.

3.5 PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN
INTERIOR PRESENTATION Selling space is the most important part of a store and therefore, efforts to utilize each square foot will help to maximize sales. One proven way to do this is through interior displays that effectively show merchandise to the customer. When planning interior displays, it should be kept in AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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mind that the theme and image presented on the exterior must be carried throughout the interior of the store to provide consistency for the customer. The purpose of interior display is to develop desire for the merchandise, show what is available, and encourage both impulse and planned buying. Three major goals of a store should be to motivate the customer to spend money, project the image of the store and keep expenses to a minimum. Well-designed displays and in-store promotions are essentials for a consistent theme and to help the customer find advertised items.

Although the percentage of in-store purchase decisions may vary by type of store and product, this is a critical selling point. Information provided by the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI) indicates that nothing influences the consumer’s purchase decisions more than advertising used where the sale is actually made---the point of purchase.

INTERIOR DESIGN AT SHOPPERS STOP

Impulse buying - The trick

of Visual Merchandising

A research conducted in US suggests that 64.8 per cent of all purchases decisions were made inside a supermarket. This included impulse purchase along with substitutions and generally planned buys where the shopper had an item in mind, but no brand. Most people indicated they purchased the item because they saw it displayed.

Displays or advertising alone may not increase product sales substantially. However, combining advertising and display into an integrated promotional campaign will usually be more effective.

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Some effective displays are created by suppliers or brand-name manufacturers, while others are developed from scratch. The main principles of design used in display are balance, emphasis, proportion, rhythm, colour, lighting and harmony. These principles apply to all displays ---window and interior.

Display Design An effective way of attracting customers to a store is by having good displays, both exterior and interior. A customer will be attracted to a display within three to eight seconds, which is the time a customer spends to determine interest in a product. Every display should be planned and must have a theme. Good design makes a visual presentation come together. This means the design attracts attention in a way that strengthens the store image, as well as introducing merchandise to the customer.

Sale or promotional good in front of the store should be placed for short period of time only. If the sale or promotion lasts for several weeks, merchandise should be moved to the rear of the store. The customer should always get to see new exciting and creative merchandise with display at the front of the store.

PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN To execute a display that will sell merchandise it is necessary to have a working knowledge of the principles of design. The primary principles of design used in display include balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, colour, lighting and harmony. When applied appropriately, all parts of display are pulled together to create a purposeful effective and aesthetically pleasing presentation. An understanding of these principles will make it easier to design a display for all types of merchandise.

Balance Balance involves equilibrium and weight of elements between 2 sides of a display. Balance is based on theory of equals, two types of balances include 1. Traditional or symmetrical balance is the large on one side and large on other this can be effective when expensive and quality merchandise is being presented AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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2. Informal or asymmetric balance Creates flow or rhythm and a feeling of excitement. The two sides of the display appear to be of equal weight , but they are not replicas of each other. Something large can be balanced by several small items or an expanse of empty space, a bright colour or a shot of lights. Several soft colours in a large space can be balanced by one bright colour because the intensity of bright colour will compensate for small size

When planning a display following points concerning balance has to be considered       If colours are too bright they will overwhelm pastels If several small objects are more exciting than the large object, they will overpower the large item A large expanse of empty space will call attention to a single object placed within it If an item is placed at an angle or to one side (Off Centre) the space on either side of that piece becomes important If an object is centred, empty space loses importance because its shape is predictable and has less recognition as its own element A pleasing distribution of weight using merchandise of similar value will provide importance to both sides

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Emphasis

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Emphasis is the point of initial eye contact. From this spot all eye movements flow. Emphasis is therefore formulation of focal point, with all else in display subordinate. There should be emphasis in all displays. This can be by virtue of focal point’s size, colour or position. The merchandise is the focal point in a majority of displays.

Eye Movement is from left to right When planning display, the following points regarding Emphasis are to be considered  A display needs to emphasize a theme or mood such as the use of sports equipment, work equipment or leisure equipment set up in a lifelike situation. Themes may also depict seasons, anniversaries, celebrations, holidays and other special store events. All elements in a display must then reinforce one other and emphasize the mood created

Focal point is the small square. Eye movement is from the square along the dashed line.     The focal point is in the upper left and eye movement is to lower right An isolated item can be emphasised when surrounded by a blank space Shiny surfaces emphasize and enlarge objects Dull surfaces absorb light and help to de emphasize an area

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Colour is a powerful medium for creating emphasis. Small amounts of advancing colour, bright intensities, extreme tints or shades contrast in right places will provide striking accents

 

Unusual textures highlight an area Emphasis is diminished with receding variations such as thin, fuzzy lines, nondescript shapes, regular spacing, even light absorption, cool hues, dull intensities. Medium tints or shades, dull opaque textures and small all-over or no pattern

Repetition usually means something is important. So repeated shapes, colours or motifs grouped together reinforces their importance and creates emphasis.

PROPORTION Proportion is the ratio of parts to the whole display. It is comparative relationship of distances, sizes, amounts, degree or parts. Each item may look normal when isolated, but if it is inconsistent in area or dimension with neighboring items, it seems out of proportion. Each piece of merchandise must be considered in relationship to all the other merchandise. When planning a display, the following points concerning proportion has to be considered   All large objects should not be used together, because there is nothing to break the monotony and sameness of that large feeling. Adding an odd number of smaller, related items to large creates more interest and balance.

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  

Proportions take on more meaning when items define one another. For example the size of a dinosaur is defined when it is standing next to a two story house. Proportion and balance can best be accomplished when articles within the display play off each other thorugh their size, shape and colour. Ratio of merchandise to space is critical: o Each piece of merchandise must be considered in relation to others. o The ratio of props and show cards to merchandise must be in proportion to avoid the appearance of stressing or selling props rather than merchandise. o Each object should not be too large or too small, nor too heavy or too light in proportion to other items in display areas.

Proportion and contrast are important elements of good display. Drastically changing the proportions and the colour and texture can work wonders in attraction attention to a display. For example, a pair of baby shoes will appear smaller and more delicate when placed next to an enormous teddy bear.

RHYTHM Rhythm or flow involves the measurement of organized, a self contained movement from object to object, background to foreground, and /or side. The rhythm in a display leads the viewer’s eye from the dominant object to the subordinated object(s) or from the primary presentation of the grouping down of the display. Rhythm may be broken-up or continuous; clearly stated or subtly suggested; repeated or vaguely similar. The initial pattern or design when repeated makes more of an impression on the viewer because it provides a continuous beat and completion, which is satisfying to AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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the viewer. Rhythm entails an arrangement of organized motion and does not necessarily need repetition. However, it does gain impact from repetition. A flow exists if eye travels from one area of a display to another, covering the entire display. The eye should travel easily through the entire design. For example, If a very tall object such as mannequin, is placed in the baskets (one and one-half times the height if the baskets), the height of the smaller objects is raised so the eye flows easily from the head and neckline of the mannequin to the baskets. A display can lead the eye with the colour, repetition, shadows created by light placement, lettering or texture. When planning a display the following points concerning rhythm have to be considered:    People who read English, read from left to right. A left to right reading should be created in the display. Elements that mean something together and relate to the merchandise are to be used. A pattern through the use of light and dark, either with colour or light has to be created.  Overlapping of objects placed together in the display area can prevent the blank space that could exist with a number if items in display. Overlapping is one of the most effective tools for creating good flow.    It is usually recommended to use an odd number of items when displaying multiples. A fabric or colour that unifies the theme has to be used. Props that are repetitions either in form or theme are to be used

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  

The technique of flying merchandise to create flow can be used Lettering with repetition of similar items or with dominance by using oversized items to create flow can be used Lettering with repetition of similar items or with dominance by using oversized items to create a flow is to be employed

It is important that the eye is led through the display and does not leave until all parts have been seen.

HARMONY Harmony is a coordinating umbrella principle that can cover and incorporate every other principle. It is an agreement in feeling and consistency in mood; i.e. , the feeling that all parts of display relate to each other and to the whole display. Without harmony, the observer is uncomfortable and will not be entitled to purchase merchandise. Three forms of Harmony namely Functional, Structural and decorative must be in agreement in a display.

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Functional Harmony deals with how something works physically, which means it must be realistic and must work. E.g.: - Kitchen counter used in a display that is the appropriate height and depth for working. Structural Harmony is correctly fitting together the entire piece; merchandise should not be out of place in the display. E.g.: an electrical appliance is not structurally consistent in an outdoor or camping display. A good window display may have pot and pans, fishing gear and outdoor furniture all mixed together because these items truly would be used on a camping trip; hence camping theme is carried out. All merchandise is brought together as part of the trip and harmony would be created or a mood would be set. Decorative harmony includes the parts of a display that are included for decorative purposes. If an atmosphere of spring is being developed, butterflies and/or flowers may be used as props. These items are attractive and add to the theme.

COLOUR AND LIGHTING COLOUR Colour contributes significantly to peoples impression of a display, as well as a stores overall appearance. Colour in a display can catch the eye and make people pause and look. The colour combinations of the ceiling, walls floor covering and the overall décor can affect the atmosphere of the store. Changing the colour scheme of a store, and can increase (or decrease) business. Colour can change the shape and add interest to a dull room, and can direct attention toward a specific object or ways from the problem areas. People tend to respond a certain way to different colours, these responses are outlined in the chard on the following page. Warm colours (red, yellow, orange and colours with red or yellow hues such as yellowgreen, beige, peach brown and orange-red) are stimulating and cheery. They make a room feel warm and intimate. Warm colours make a room seem smaller while making objects in the room appear larger. A warm colour end walls of a long narrow room will appear to shorten the room. Blue, green, violet and colours containing blue, such as blue green and violet-blue, are cool colours. These help create a relaxing atmosphere. Rooms decorated primarily in cool colours tend to appear larger and more spacious. Cool colours are especially pleasing in smaller rooms. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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A colour wheel is a handy tool to use in developing a colour scheme for a store. The colour wheel consists of 12 colours, as shown on the following wheel consists of 12 colours. Several colour schemes are possible by choosing different combination. Some common colour schemes that can be used to plan a display are listed below.

Table 1: Emotional Response to colour

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Figure 16: Colour Wheel There are no absolute rule for choosing and combining colours, only flexible guidelines. Imagination and experimentation will find colour schemes that lend to the atmosphere and attract customer. The type of merchandise featured, such as hardware, jewelry; clothing etc. will have effect on the type of colour schemes that can be used and the extent to which they can be used.

MONOCHROMATIC SCHEME A Single colour on the colour wheel is used with three to five tints and shades of that single true colour in this scheme. Several pieces of blue merchandise each consisting of a different value ranging from baby blue to navy blue, is an example of a monochromatic colour scheme.

ANALOGOUS SCHEME Any three or four consecutive colours on a colour wheel create an analogous scheme. This can be used to create a soft and subtle décor and warm or cool effect. This colour scheme needs to be used with caution so as not to end up with and over stimulating nor depressing atmosphere. Example of analogous scheme could be yellow, yellow-green, green and bluegreen, or blue, blue-green and green.

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TRIADIC SCHEME

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Every fourth colour on the colour wheel for a total of three colours makes a triadic scheme. This is a good combination of colours that can create the muted, traditional look as well as more vibrant colour characteristics of moderns colour schemes. An Example could be red, blue and yellow.

COMPLEMENTARY SCHEME A complementary colour scheme is represented by two colours that are exactly opposite one another on the colour wheel, such as green and red or yellow and purple. It can result in a very pleasing combination of warm and cool colours. Using opposite colours in equal amounts of lights and dark combinations should be avoided.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY SCHEME Three colours forming a y on the colour wheel consists of base colour and one colour on each side of the base colour scheme to create interest and richness. Examples are yellow, blue-violet and re-violet or blue, yellow- orange and red-orange.

DOUBLE COMPLEMENTARY SCHEME Four colours, consisting of any two sets of complementary colour create a double complementary scheme.Eg:- This colour scheme would be yellow and purple, as well as redorange and blue-green.

TONE ON TONE SCHEME Two colours that are next to one another on the colour wheel with very little space between them make ip a tone on tone scheme. Generally no change in either intensity, such as degree of brightness, or in tints or shades is used in a tone on tone scheme. A display of blue and blue-violet silk flowers is an example of this scheme.

A dominant colour must be selected in developing a colour scheme. A single colour can be monotonous; however a pleasing effect can be obtained by adding the right colours using an uneven balance between warm and cool colours.

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Knowing about colour and its effect on the viewers can be helpful in designing displays. Certain colours create intense vibrations when used together. Bright red and yellow create a hot, festive atmosphere that suggests a celebration or circus. Too much of any vibrating colour scheme will detract from the merchandise and irritate the customer after prolonged exposure. Using different tints or shades of the colour (such as a lighter yellow with a pinked red) will set up a warm, friendly colour scheme and will be less intense and offensive over the long run. Bright colours can also be broken up by an eye-relieving area of solid neutral or light tone.

Some of the most effective displays utilize monochromatic schemes because a large area of any one colour can be seen from a great distance and will create an impression of strength in that colour. The colour may also be popular in fashion, clothing, and house wares, make up or other merchandise that shows merchandise in the store is current.

Combining colour scheme choice with traffic patterns can see more items. The colour a retailer wants featured should be positioned on the wall where it can be easily seen, drawing customers into a department or store. Other colours can fan out on either side and complement the feature colour. Background colours should be selected which will show off the merchandise at its best. Generally, neutral colours selected are white, blue, gray, beige and black.

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Colours must be considered in view of their surroundings, as a colour change dramatically when viewed under different circumstances. A red chair will appear yellower when put next to blue wall. Next to green wall a red chair will appear lighter and brighter, and beside gray it will appear brighter. A dark colour placed near a lighter colour will appear deeper while the light colours will appear lighter yet. Colours are also radically altered by difference in pattern and texture.

Table 2: Colour Combination in stores A major concern is choosing a background colour used in display areas and store that will work for a reasonable period of time. There are companies that do colour forecasts and track expected colour preferences for five years. Colour forecasts can also be received as they pertain to a season.

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Before using any colour, the surroundings of the colour must also be considered. Colours can change drastically with respect to the surroundings. For example, a red chair will look brighter in front of a green wall than in front of a blue wall. Choosing a background colour for display areas and interiors that will work for a reasonable period of time is a major concern for companies. Background colours affecting the colour of the merchandise should not be used.

For example, light colours such as pink, yellow, blue and white should not be used in infant garment section because these are generally the colour of the garments. The small size and light tone of garments generally make them invisible. Bright and sharp colours should be used in these areas to make the garments stand out and more visible.

Gray, brown and blue backgrounds work well for stores carrying chinaware and glassware. Brown colour especially goes well with bon china and blue work well for porcelain. Brown colour should not be used as background for silver merchandise because the reflection of brown colour on the merchandise will make it appear tarnished. Brown and burgundy colours acts as a good background to display brass merchandise. Sky blue and tennis court green are some colours that can give a great look to stores with sports merchandise.

SOME COLOUR RULES 1. Intensity of the colour and contrast should be considered while developing colour schemes. One should be very careful while using intense and strong contrast colours. The more intense the colour is, the smaller the area it should cover. When intense colours are used, the second colour should be a softer one. Strong colours should not be used to paint large areas.

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2. The colour scheme used in the background should match with the merchandise on display. It is better to use neutral colours for background. None of the main colours of the merchandise should be used for floors or walls. 3. The value of the merchandise should be associated with the selection of background colours used in the display area. Vivid hue is generally used to display low priced merchandise. Mixing of low priced and high priced merchandise is not advisable. Items should be grouped by price and design. 4. Light tints are pleasing to the eye and seem to deepen the window space increasing the window size. 5. Dark shades shorten the perceived window space because they appear to bring the background to the foreground. 6. Warm colours such as yellow, orange, red and their combination with white and black are pleasing to the eye and enhance the appearance of the merchandise. Colours such as blue and green are cool, calming, balanced and soothing and they create an illusion of enlarging window. 7. Contrasts are effective if they are done properly. Bold combinations can be very effective if it is done with a good taste. Certain colour combinations work well because they are used for a long time and also are accepted internationally. New colour combinations should be worked out carefully and one can learn more about colour combinations by observing the colour scheme used by new stores.

LIGHTING Lighting plays a major role in visual merchandising. Bright areas and items generally attract the attention of shoppers. Lighting is used extensively in shops and malls to draw attention of customers to a specific area or a product. Lighting is also used to direct customers through the store.

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Customers follow the lighting of the store and navigate through the lighted path. So, essentially the display lights should be more powerful and effective than lighting used in other parts of the store. There are three types of lighting for illuminating stores. They are 1. 2. 3. Primary lighting Accent or secondary lighting Atmosphere lighting

Primary lighting Primary lighting is the basic overall lighting of the store which includes both internal and external lighting. Internal primary lighting includes lighting which fills the store area from overhead lighting fixtures and provides only very basic store illumination. External primary lighting includes basic window lighting, marquee lights illuminating the sidewalks and the lighting for the general lobby. Fluorescent light sources are generally used for primary lighting.

Accent or secondary lighting Accent lighting provides illumination to specific display areas. A store with only primary lighting can be very boring to the customers and shopping in such a store becomes no fascination gradually. Accent lighting provides a change to this boredom. Down lighting from the ceiling, showcase lighting and valence lighting are some ways in which accent lighting is done. Incandescent lights varying from small to bigger sizes are generally used for accent lighting.

Atmosphere lighting “Playing with light against shadow” is the concept of atmosphere lighting. This is used to create distinctive effect on specific displays. Colour filters, pinpoint spotlights and black lighting are used to create dramatic effects on certain displays.

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Types of lights used

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Fluorescent lights are used for this purpose because they cannot be directed towards a product. Fluorescent lights wash an area with light in which no shadows or accents are made. A large range of shades of colours are available for illuminating the merchandise as well as the store. One should also be careful while using fluorescent lights to illuminate the store as the store may appear dull or boring. A combination of lighting effects can be used to avoid this.

Incandescent lamps have sharply defined beams that can be easily used to highlight a particular merchandise or display. These are available in numerous sizes, shapes and colours. They emit a lot of heat which is considered to be a safety issue and also increases the cost of air conditioning in the store.

Spotlights are very effective for merchandise displays. Merchandise racks on the whole can also be illuminated well using spotlights. Spotlights are either installed in ceilings or on the racks. These lights are surrounded by a shade which affects the way the light is emitted. The angle in which the spotlight is directed is very important. The direction of spotlights can be changed frequently or as and when new products are introduced in the store so as to highlight them. Coloured filters that change the colour of light are available for spotlights. But one should take care that filters should not change the colour of the merchandise.

Gels are coloured acetates that can be placed over light bulbs. They are similar to filters, but are less expensive. They are available in rolls and can be used by cutting it as required. Gels need to be changed every week.

High intensity discharge (H.I.D) is considered to be the most efficient lamps available. The advantage is that they provide more light per watt than fluorescent or incandescent lamps. This type of light is relatively small in size and provides shadows and highlights. These lights enhance the merchandise and also flatter the customers. They are cost effective also.

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PROPS, FIXTURES AND SIGNAGE PROPS

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A prop is something used with a product in a display that clarifies the function of the merchandise being sold. Props are the integral part of a display. They are used in visual merchandising to tell a story about a product, the merchandise concept or the store itself. A display prop is something which is not for sale, such as floor coverings, wall treatments, backgrounds, mannequins, shelves, and steps. Props may also be merchandise that is for sale. But it is not the theme merchandise, such as golf bulbs used in conjunction with golf wear.

IMAGE When using sellable merchandise as a prop, it should be ensured that it is appropriate for the theme of the display and in sufficient quantity to meet an increase demand arising from the display. Theme and prop merchandise must be prominently displayed in their respective departments for the easy access by the customer.

If a store does not have merchandise available that can be used in the display, display props can be used for non-merchandise categories. Non-merchandise props used for their original purpose can assist in telling a story. Including tissue paper, pens, pencils, shopping bags, hangers, chairs, desks and tables is an example.

Props may also be natural or ordinary objects such as such as items carried on from the woods or rustic antiques found in someone’s attic. Examples include a branch from a lilac Bruch for a spring or summer theme, shocks of wheat, dried leaves and wood created if assorted size used to enhance a fall theme, large boulders used to give the idea of strength and power to a tractor, and grey rocks to provide contrast to jewellery. These object props are not generally beautifully themselves, but highlight the merchandise for sale.

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The merchandise in a display should always be the dominant element. The presence of prop is to highlight or complement the merchandise and add visual excitement to the surrounding area. A prop not present to distract the customer from their original purpose for shopping for and purchasing goods.

FIXTURE TYPES STRAIGHT RACK - long pipe suspended with supports to the floor or attached to the wall

FOUR WAY FIXTURE: two cross bar that are perpendicular to each other in a pedestal

OTHER COMMON FIXTURES: tables, large bins, flat desks

WALL FIXTURES: To make store walls merchandisable, wall usually covered with a skin, that is fitted with a vertical columns of notches similar to those on the Gondolas, into which a variety of hardware can be inserted can be merchandised much higher than floor fixtures.

MERCHANDISE DISPLAY PLANNING SHELVING – flexible and easy to maintain. HANGING- Suspending merchandise from hangers PEGGING – small rods inserted into walls or gondolas. FOLDING – for softlines that can be folded and stacked on shelves or tables – creates high fashion image. STACKING – for large hardlines that can be stacked on shelves, base desks of gondolas or flats – easy to maintain and show an image of high volume and low

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price. Stacking cushions is one such practice. Soft

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materials stacked is seen in the figure.

DUMPING – large quantities of small merchandise can be dumped into baskets or bins – highly effective for softlines (socks, washcloths) or hardlines(batteries candy, grocery products) – creates high volume, low cost image.

DEPTH - Depth is the distance from the front of the window to the back of the window. It is important to give the display the right amount of depth. Consider the way we watch movies and we; look at the painting; we step or sit back from whatever we wish to see. The same applies to the windows – to grasp the whole picture it must be set back from the window, not positioned right at the glass. The rule of thumb is to start 3 quarters away from the glass, then work forward. At the same time the display should be stepping down from the highest.

PLANOGRAM Planogram is tool used by the retailer, which helps the retailer to determine the location of the merchandise within a department. It is a diagram that visually communicates how merchandise physically fit on to a store fixture or window, to allow for proper visibility and price point options. It helps in listing the exact number of square feet used for various products and exact number of products to be displayed in a particular area.

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Planogramming benefits:         Improved sales presentation and closure results Increased consumer appeal of product displays Better brand awareness through consistency Improved efficiency of shelf space allocations Improved financial performance of assortments Faster more accurate replenishments Quicker inventory resets Much better marketing through targeting displays

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MERCHANDISE AND FIXTURE DISPLAY RECOMMENDATIONS Goods can be effectively displayed on a variety of fixtures such as gondolas, tables, cubes, mannequins, waterfalls and other racks, display cases and manufacture point of purchase displays.

A fixture should not only complement the merchandise, but also the atmosphere created in the store. Each fixture should present the merchandise to the public and thereby act as a silent salesperson.

One of the most common fixture in stores are gondolas - movable shelving approachable from all sides which are used in self service retail stores, to display merchandise. They can be lined up in rows as in grocery, hardware and drug stores or used singly to create an island.

End caps are units at the end of aisles. End-caps are important selling locations and should be used for high profit impulse or seasonal merchandise on a gondola sides. For example golf balls displayed on a end-cap indicate that related golf accessories are located on gondola sides.

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Customers generally look to the centre of gondola sides first and then, to either right or left. Additional high profit impulse items should be placed in the centre of gondola sides and other related merchandise to either right or left. Larger more expensive merchandise should be placed to the right.

The high turnover, high-profits items should be placed at the eyelevel. If possible remove a sample from the container to allow the customer to handle and feel the item. Old merchandise should be cleaned and pulled forward as new merchandise should be added to back. Use a starter gap in which at least one item is missing, so the customer will not feel like they are messing up a neat display. Restock the display before it gets down to the last item so customers will not get the impression that something is wrong with the item. As the merchandise begins to have broken sizes or assortments, the remaining items should be moved to the bottom shelves of gondola.

An acceptable means of arranging merchandise on a gondola is by colour. People think of colours is as follows: 1. Start with neutral colours: off-white, cream, ivory, beige, tan and brown. 2. Proceed with warm colours: yellow, gold, orange, peach. Rust, pink, red. Cerise, lavender and violet. 3. Finish with cool colours: blue, green, gray and black. Group merchandise by colour as previously mentioned, as well as from smallest to largest and from left to right. When a variety of styles are shown, each style (small to large sizes) should be grouped separately by colour. Some merchants may use variations of this concept to provide greater contrast in the display. Basic rules for fixture placement Outlined below are some basic rules for fixture placement. These are not absolutes, but rather guidelines that fit in well store set-up and customer traffic patterns.   3 ft distance between racks must be allowes The aisle leading to directly to the fire exit is considered a major aisle. The fire exit must not be blocked with fixtures and extraneous materials. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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   A well-planned, geometric aisle pattern works best to maximise sales. Aisle displays must be placed on an island rather than wing fixtures.

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When placing racks, progress from small (sized or capacity) fixtures at aisles to large fixtures near the back walls. When working with hard goods, place cubes in the front with gondolas to the rear of the department or store.

Higher priced stores require fewer fixtures because there is less stock. tstands and four ways can be used to create an illusion of space and selective goods. This feeling is necessary to sell higher-priced goods.

  

Exciting displays of mass merchandise in quantity and colour must be created. Cubes can be used for folded goods. Fixtures that racks well for sale items include tub tables, round racks and rectangular racks.

INTERIOR SIGNAGE Signage is a critical part of interior display and point-of-purchase

promotion. Store signage that communicates a sales message to the customers can make up for lack of sales personnel. A good point-of-purchase sign, properly placed, acts as a salesperson without wages.

Signs were originally used to identify a store, name various departments, announce sales and sale merchandise. Although their primary purpose was these, now signage commonly advertise vendors, colours, quality and prices. They can also be used to explain customer benefits and describe merchandise features.

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A good signage would use the AIDA principle of     Drawing the customer attention Identify the merchandise item being sold State the customer benefit Communicate the underlying value for the customer

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Common principles in designing and using signs effectively Special attention to be given to the sign and show card margins, The left and right margins must be exactly equal and usually not exceed2 inches. A border drawn or printed around the edge of a show card can attain the customer focus. The focal point of a sign appears near the optical centre of the sign which is exactly halfway between the left and the right margins and slightly above the midpoint of the poster. The human eye makes the first contact in this portion. White space must be maintained as much as possible around the copy     Action adjectives or adverbs must be used to describe a hidden feature that will benefit the customer. Some of the key words that can be used in the signage can be YOU, MONEY, SAVE, NEW, EASY, LOVE, DISCOVER, RESULTS, PROVEN, FREE, GUARANTEE All these words should be aptly used. There should be no over usage or under usage Clutter of information should be avoided; signs should be avoided where the merchandise itself can tell the entire story.     It is better to use the price information directly rather than percentage discounts as the customer would find it difficult to compute The signage should be checked daily to ensure that It displays the current promotion and not of the previous day or of the previous sale Information can be printed on both the sides for sign holders as this would enabe the customers approaching from different directions to read the signs Same style print of the signage can be used in the interior signs so that there is an cohesive appearance   The signage should appeal to all the audience Stimulate the customer by asking them to buy

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Errors commonly occurring in display

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There is no thumb rule as to how much merchandise should appear in an area. However one major consideration is the price of the merchandise. The more expensive item the fewer it is displayed. Some precautions must be taken so that the display area is not   

Cramped up with may similar items Many different items , such that any selling message is lost Appear aesthetically offensive to the customer

Too little merchandise A window or display area with too little merchandise makes a store appear to be going out of business or indicates to the customer that the establishment is less than prosperous. Generally the lack of merchandise on the display is that the merchandise has been sold and it has not been replaced.

If the items needed for display are unavailable then the display dimensions has to be reduced to make it appear in proportion with the available merchandise. Poor planning is also one of the main reasons.

Lack of underlying theme Merchandise is often placed in a space with no selling message, theme or motive.

Regardless of the type of the merchandise used, the location or the store type, the display needs a strong theme. The consumer should be able to understand the concept presented by the display in a few seconds.

The reverse scenario can also happen, i.e. using too many mini themes in a display making each one completely ineffective. It is possible to effectively combine several types of merchandise in one area using one theme. An example would be combining body wash, soap, after wash hair cream, shampoo and deodorant with a signage showing complete body care package Props

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There is no specific rule that stipulates the number of props appearing in a display. However the error of over propping a display can be more serious than using too many props. The type and number of props are dependent on the merchandise. The display of a living room suite will need fewer props to complete its message. Other goods especially smaller items will need more props to elevate it to the eye level or provide a central theme to the grouping.

Poorly selected Props One should evaluate the props as to whether they are seasonal, rustic, contemporary, feminine or masculine and whether they will appeal to the store’s target market. Props are important to effectively present a display with a theme. Therefore props must be in harmony with the goods shown. For example, a green velvet backdrop will not be reflective in a display promoting summer merchandise.

Length of time for a display As a standard many interior displays are changed daily because they are effective and merchandise sold directly from them needs to be replaced. Large window displays may be changed as often as two times a week or as infrequently as every other week. This generally depends on the season and the length of time a current store theme has been planned. An example of a display that might stay longer would be an unusual festive display.

The expense, time and planning of a display is also used as a guideline for frequency of change. Special window and internal store promotions have a longer display life. However, no display or set of props should remain until it collects dust and every person in the community has seen a number of times. Frequently changing the display sends a positive message to the community, provides opportunity to show more merchandise and presents more to the shopper

Limited or No Display Budget An empty display area generally indicates the declining path of sales. Display areas are often budgeted with the left over; after all other monetary needs have been fulfilled. This generally means that there is little or no budget for the display. A low budget look should be AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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avoided. A low budget display may generally consist of crepe paper, tissue paper, construction items or other such perishables. Low budget displays generally give a negative image to the end customer.

However, high level of creativity is needed to plan and execute a great display with very little budget. Good theme development without expensive background can be created. An example would be, use of old furniture, wood, clothes effectively to create a classic image.

Lack of attention to Detail Making a good impression is very much important. Hence paying attention to small detail is an important factor. This is generally the first thing the customer notices. Belo w is the list of things that needs to be taken care of prior to the finished display     The display should be absolutely clean without any dust Signs should be attached in the display providing all the necessary information Lights in the display area should be covered. Moreover caution is to be taken to avoid fire and other related disasters The display area should be checked from all the angles so that all merchandise should be easily visible and aesthetically pleasing Mistakes in applying principles of display  The four principles of design and display include emphasis, balance, rhythm and proportion. These principles must be reviewed every time the display is completed  Every display needs a point where the viewer’s eye can easily start. A display which is displayed too frequently has no definite point of emphasis or the point of emphasis is in the wrong place  The principle of rhythm should not be violated. An example of the same can be as follows. Many small items kept in a single area with no attempt made to keep the eye following a planned pattern. Such a pattern creates a scattered and spotty display. The visual display should be tightly tied to each other to depict a story

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Props and merchandise when not arranged together by size or weight creates a disproportion in the VM. Small items should not be clubbed with large items unless there is a continuous graduation

The fixtures in the store should be adequately stocked , if it’s sparsely stocked then it looks as if the remains are leftovers

Use of other sensory organs for merchandising Use of music The store image and the mood of the customers can be changed dramatically by the use of music. Music establishes moods, helps to motivate the subconscious mind and create long lasting impression on the customers. Specific music for a particular merchandise can create a good shopping experience and can be an important tool for creating a brand. The best example of using the music can be entering the Raymond showroom and one can hear constantly the music of its famous advertisement ‘The complete man’. Thus shopping at a Raymond outlet would actually mean that, the customer actually is a complete man!!

Perfumes and Scent The other use of stimulation can be use of stimulating the olfactory lobe of the brain. i.e use of perfumes and scents. Layout having fresh breads and buns, can entice the customers by the aroma. Segments of the store having soaps and toiletries can enchant the customers by the use of perfumes and scents. A pleasing scent can create a wonderful ambience and add to the customers shopping experience. In some cases the best may be the absence of any noticeable scent! This is particularly important if the section has a non-vegetarian food court.

Scent can also be a major factor in determining which product to buy. Everything from perfumes, scented candles, toiletries, cleaning products are all bought while keeping scent in the mind. The scent generally determines which product the customer purchases. [6]

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CHAPTER 4: EXPLORATORY RESEARCH - QUALITATIVE METHODS
4.1 INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS
Some things make perfect sense when they come from people who are closest to the action. For getting a clear picture of the objectives of study, interviews were set up with the floor managers of Big Bazaar and Visual Merchandising Manager. These interviews gave invaluable insights about visual merchandising and its impact on customers at a retail store. It was not difficult to get them talking although some of the information they shared could be confidential as they were also interested in finding out the effectiveness of VM implementations.

Some of the valuable insights of this study came from structured observation of customers shopping and also the visual merchandising efforts at these retail outlets. Some of the observation was done by following passengers discreetly to see how many of them stopped at the promotional areas in a store to get an idea about the effectiveness of VM implementations.

The most surprising addition to this study is the involvement of social media like Orkut. A request was put up on communities dedicated to visual merchandising. separate mails were also sent to the members of these communities seeking experience surveys. Two visual merchandisers took active interest in this study and gave interviews over telephone. One of them also sent literature that aided in secondary research. It threw light on some of the difficult questions whose answers kept evading us.

4.1 DEPTH INTERVIEWS
Depth interview with key informants like floor ma nagers and visual merchandising manager was done. The respondents were:

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1.Ms. Sujatha (Visual Merchandising Manager, Big Bazaar, Coimbatore) (Transcript available in Appendix 1.0) 2.Mr. Shiju . S( Floor Manager, Luggage and Footwear Department, Big Bazaar, Palakakd) (Transcript available in Appendix 2.0) 3.Mr. Rajesh (Floor Manager, Apparel Section, Fashion at Big Bazaar, Palakkad) (Transcript available in Appendix 3.0)

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Although a set of questions were prepared for the interview, the amicable nature of the respondents prompted to have a dialogue rather than a Q&A session. The respondents took us around the floors and briefed us on the VM efforts implemented at various points and also the need for them . the conversation however provided answers to specific questions that were drafted.

Key Findings  All the respondents felt that VM contributed to increased sales. They feel that a good VM attracts people even though the product may not have been on their list. The bins kept at various locations in Big Bazaar is just a way to add to the sales by making people feel that a heap is associated with what a crowd would buy. 

VM comes into picture also when some product is not selling enough. This is an indicator for in-store promotions in the form of displays.

The ambience of the store matters, when customers walk into the store , VM efforts must touch their senses. This is done at the level of 5 sense organs. The drop downs from the ceilings and the wall drops etc create an ambience of some event happening.

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Observing customers during their shopping at the store gave us some wonderful insights. BIG BAZAAR (Coimbatore and Palakkad)  As already proven by research, People turned left on entering the store although there were merchandise on the right. The Big Bazaar Coimbatore had a ladies cosmetics division on the right, but customers could not have cared less. They just veered left, passed the Mobile Junction without stopping and proceeded into the store to the area where the first shelf talker said “Deo Rs. 79”   Customers do not mind bending or stooping to look for new products. We observed that a lot of customers picked up things from lower shelves Big Bazaar places new products in the lowest rack in addition to the top ones contrary to other retail stores. Retail outlets like Nilgiris never keep new products on their lowest rack. It is used only to keep the extra stock of already available products  Almost all the customers who shopped during our presence at the store bought plastic items that included buckets, cups, hangers etc NILGIRIS (Coimbatore, Palakkad)    Nilgiris is a single floor department store. The entrance had magazines and chocolates and the right side had cakes, pastries and chocolates. The location of the store is strategically selected to be in RS Puram, which is a posh neighbourhood with upper middle class dwellings. Same is the case with Nilgiris outlet in Palghat, at Chandranagar.   The Focal point was a pavilion of Swarovski crystals in front of opening window Nilgiris have also done some kind of Bin Management. Some non branded items kept at the entrance BIN MANAGEMENT (non branded items fetch max profit for the store).

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  

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The stationary department had a gondola, which was a big pen stand (in shape of pen) In addition to this, there were gondolas of Lakme, Revlon and Cadbury. Himalaya had a space near the right of the counter. Plastics and sanitary kept at the end of the store , which are priced by Nilgiris themselves. They derive the maximum margin out of the sales of these items. Contrary to Big Bazaar, no new products were kept bottommost rack.

  

Dairy products had a separate section which was spotlighted. What appeals about Nilgiris is that there is a logical flow in the arrangement. This is decided by Head office at Mylapore, Chennai The food section was flooded with yellow lighting

RELIANCE FRESH (NSR Road Coimbatore)    Reliance fresh had very little VM done The store is located in Sai Baba colony right in front of Aditya Birla’s More. The entrance was crowded with the farm products, for which reliance is famous. The store housed a wide variety of groceries, fruits and farm products. However the assortment was not done well. Very little sales assistance was available to customers. The lighting of the store was not adequate.  The 2nd floor consisted mainly of plastic, rubber, gifts and other miscellaneous items. There were no salesmen at this floor to aid cutomers. What meets a customer in the eye on reaching this floor is a rack of Outlook Magazine. However wallets were arranged in place of Outlook magazine   While walking amidst plastic in the 2nd floor, out of the blue a section of food items pops up, with noodles, jams and ketchups . This would puzzle a customer. Although the store was filled and had a lot of scope for VM, it did not look as though it was implemented. More (NSR Road, Coimbatore)  Contrary to their next door neighbour, More was smaller (small size departmental store).

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      

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The VM efforts in the store are quite evident. The products are arranged in a great fashion and quite logically. Customer who enters the store is guided by the store itself and almost every customer sees what is in the store at least once. The shop Is properly lighted and the shopping conditions are superior. There are a good number of sales people assisting every customer. New products are also kept in the lowest rack They maintain their uniform colour theme (orange base) They have placed a hut outside the store which has assortment of all grocery items o attract customers in the road. More has thus shown that size of the store does not really matter when it comes to visual merchandising and assortment planning.

4.3 IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
To explore the presence of visual merchandising in social media, a search was made in Orkut, the social networking site of Google. Orkut was one of the pioneers of social media revolution. The days of waiting for the 100th or 1000th scrap is still fresh in memories, and the joy of having a testimonial all for oneself is one of its kind!

A key word of “Visual Merchandising” yielded a handful of communities (Groups of likeminded people join communities in Orkut). These were

communities dedicated to visual merchandising and served as a forum for experts to share latest news and views with their counterparts in rest of the nation. Vacancies for VM jobs were also advertised on these pages. These communities had hundreds of members; some had not revealed e-mail addresses in their profiles. However users can post event in these communities. An event was posted in the forum seeking for help with this project and what followed was some of the most wonderful moments in the making of this study!

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The link to the online survey was also posted on communities dedicated to Retail, Big Bazaar, Nilgiris, Big Bazaar Trivandrum etc. Some of the members who frequented these communities made visits to the survey link and participated in the study. Responses were received from 4 professionals from various areas of Visual Merchandising. A set of questions regarding VM was mailed to them prior to telephonic interview. (Refer Appendix 4 & 5).

QUESTIONS MAILED       Could you tell us what would be a regular day at work for a VM? What are the most commonly used VM in the industry that you are in? What are the new trends in this area? Do you feel VM helps in increasing sales? What are the challenges in VM? How do you get to know about new trends, is India at par with the VM efforts elsewhere on globe?

4.4 DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH
Methodology Used A questionnaire which asks the ‘right’ questions was circulated among customers who walked out of the stores of Relaince Fresh, Nilgiris, Big Bazaar and More.

The survey was also posted online and respondents were asked to do the survey keeping in mind the retail outlet they visited last. The responses of respondents were tabulated using SPSS. The results obtained were analysed as follows and the following conclusions were drawn.

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Question: 5 (To get an insight on “Are buying decisions unconscious or purely conscious”) Method Used: Frequency Charts Hypothesis Buying decision are made before reaching the store

Analysis

Mostly people never carry a written list while going out for shopping. More than 60 % of the people agree to this fact. Hence it can be concluded that most of buying decisions are made inside the store

Hence the hypothesis is true

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Question: 4 & 5 (To explore if buying choices are made before reaching the store or

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thereafter, To get an insight on “Are buying decisions unconscious or purely conscious”) Hypothesis Buying decisions are taken inside the store

Method used: Crosstabs

Analysis

It can be seen that most of the customers do not carry a written list of items(47.2%) to be bought which means that most of the buying decisions are made inside the store. Thus a good product coupled with good visual merchandising will have a greater impact on consumer buying behaviour.

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Question: 4 Hypothesis Customers visit stores to fulfill their needs

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Method used: Frequency

Analysis

It can be seen that 72.4 % of the sample comes to a store only when there is a need.

Hence the hypothesis is true

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Question: 4, 11, 12 Hypothesis Customers only confine shopping to their needs

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Method used: Frequency

Analysis

It can be seen that 62% of people buy more than what they need and more than 92% of people buy more than what they have written it down on a list. They have also bought more due to the reason that either it was a good product or it was a good discount. Attractive display also played a major role in this. Thus customers mostly do not confine to their needs and generally buy more than what they need

Hence the hypothesis is not true

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Question: 1, 6 (To analyze whether customers actively seek for new products at a retail store) Hypothesis Frequently visiting customers actively seek new products

Method used: Crosstabs

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Analysis

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It can be seen that customers who visit the store regularly are the people who actively seek for new products. 70 % of population visit these stores at least once a month. New products generally have an enhanced VM. Hence VM targets such population

Hence the hypothesis is true

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Question: 8 & 9 (To explore the impact of layout in a retail store on customer buying behaviour) Hypothesis VM inside the store traps customers to follow layout plan

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Method used: Crosstabs

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Analysis

It can be inferred from the graph that about 40% of the customers feel that they don’t have any particular direction, they follow the stores path. Also around 60% of customers agree to the fact they follow signage board to find the product. This clearly gives an indicator of VM as a leading indicator for product sales.

Hence the hypothesis is true

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Question: 7, 10 & Gender Which gender is attracted the most by VM Method used: Crosstabs

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Analysis:

From the above analysis it can be seen that males are the most affected by VM. This can be said from the two bar charts where 34% of males are the ones who mostly see the signage board and the product layout and they also agree to the fact that they get attracted to it. While only 22.9 % of females pay attention to the signage boards.

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Question- 4 & Age

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Whether there is any correlation between different age group with VM. Method used: Cross-tab.

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Analysis

From this cross tabulation we cannot conclude the correlation, however we can conclude with some certainty that age group of 16-21 are not interested in checking out new products. The most relevant people who come to the store are of the age group 22- 28. They usually come to buy what they need and they also are interested in looking out for new offers. So it can be said that this age group is the most influenced by VM and product layout.

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Question 13

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Hypothesis VM plays a major role in internalising the image of the product in the store

Method used: Projective question asked outside the store

Analysis

62% of the sample recalls the product displayed by VM. This can lead to the conclusion that good product coupled with a good VM will enable the customers not only to buy the product but also internalise the brand image of it.

Hence the hypothesis is true

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Question – Occupation and 11 (To explore the impact of visual merchandising on the buying decisions of customers in a retail store)

Method Used: Crosstabs

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Analysis

Most of the shopping is done by professionals who are educated. Moreover they are the ones who end up in buying more than what they need (52.7%). Hence it must be ensured that of the entire layout, VM should be emphasised

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Question: Occupation and 3 Whether there is any correlation between occupation and the role played in shopping Method used: Cross tabs

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Case Processing Summary Cases Valid N What is your role in shopping * occupation 174 Percent 98.9% N 2 Missing Percent 1.1% N 176 Total Percent 100.0%

Analysis:

It can be inferred that professionals do most of the shopping (50%). Hence there is a definite correlation between the occupation and the role that people play in shopping.

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Question: 7 Hypothesis VM has no impact on consumer buying behaviour of the customer in a retail store.

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Method used: One sample T- Statistic

Analysis

T-Statistic is 29.548 at 95% confidence interval. On that CI, T-Critical is 1.645, so clearly TStatistic > T-Critical, Hence the hypothesis is rejected. So we can say that the hypothesis is strongly rejected i.e. VM has a great impact on consumer buying behaviour

Hence the hypothesis is not true

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CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NILGIRI’S, COIMBATORE  At the entrance there are the billing counters facing backwards which blocks the view of all the merchandise of the store for the visitors and the customers of the Chowatty store just outside the entrance. The unpacked cardboards are littered most of the time immediately near the entrance along the glass windows. One of our recommendations is to make use of the glass window at the entrance to display their attractive products. A few posters or flex at the entrance would also serve a good purpose to convert the passersby on the road and visitors in of Subway just beneath the store at Coimbatore to visitors of Nilgiris.

 Another recommendation would be to change the direction of the billing counter. Instead of billing staffs facing backwards at the billing counter at the entrance. This can also give more visibility, to the people outside about the customers inside the store, which in turn attracts more customers to the store from outside.

 As per the code books of typical store designs the entrance of a store should not have any merchandise kept up to 30 ft from the entrance as the customers on entering will just take some time to absorb the layout of the store. In Nilgiris, the store looked crowded at the entrance which can be avoided by replacing at least one of the billing counters near the entrance.  The visual merchandising which was used to promote their offers or products was confined to only gondolas, shelf talkers and very few signages. They can try

increasing the number of signage in the store which according to our study also plays an important role in attracting the customers. Posters or cut outs can also serve the same purpose.

 Through observation study it came into our notice that most of the customers who hit the store are upper middle class or above who come in luxury cars. These are people who seek luxury. A lounge with a set of magazines can be provided at the left AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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corner of the entrance which cannot be utilized by the store for any displays because of its very low visibility. An arrangement like this can attract the shoppers or the people who accompany the shoppers who wish to take weight off their feet. An arrangement of visual merchandising around this place can be effective. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BIG BAZAAR, PALAKKAD  Big Bazaar strikes a good balance between visual merchandising and lay out to allow customers to have a good shopping experience. Suggestions for Big Bazaar would be very few, but will ceratnly add some value to the store

 There are repetitions of shelves for cooldrinks. The chilled ones are kept in chill zone and the unchilled ones are kept in another shelf between the aisles which houses sugar free items, Horlicks, Tang etc. Keeping the unchilled cooldrinks near the chill zone will help customers who don’t want chilled ones.  The apparel section for kids can be a little more organized. Big Bazaar Coimbatore had done a good job in this regard. Also, the stuffed toys section can be kept near that of kids sections to attract them as implemented in Big Bazaar, Coimbatore  The shubh Muhurat displays can be made more attractive by making them theme based and employing the use of some props. Backdrops can also create some good effects in this region.  There is clutter near the staircase (if customers decide to take the stairs) which is the first thing a customer sees on using the stairs.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RELIANCE FRESH, COIMBATORE  Improve the customer service significantly.

 The amount of VM is very low, significant changes have to be made in this upfront.

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 Low sales force: Customers complain of bad customer service. This can be evident from the fact that there were just two sales persons in the entire store out of which one was in the cash counter.  The cash counter is just placed on the right side very close to the entrance. This encourages the customer to leave the store as soon as they arrive. They are not given a chance to explore the entire store. The position of the cash counter should be changed.  Improper lightings: Pickles are kept in a corner where there are no lights. Half of the store was under lighted. This should change immediately as the customer is encouraged by proper lights
 Improper product assortment: The ground floor consists of many food products.

1nd floor has mainly plastics, rubber items and clothes. However a huge section of food products appears on this floor as well.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BIG BAZAAR, COIMBATORE  Have excellent Visual merchandising implemented

 The only recommendation is that to decrease the size of the aisle of the luggage.

There are more luggage kept than required.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO RELIANCE FRESH MADURAI  Lightings –Poor: They have provided a separate gondola and wall mounted racks for shirt and jeans, which was placed in a very dark place. They can place spot lights, so that customers can at least view them. They can provide sodium lights for fruits and vegetables, as it looks more attractive than the ordinary lights. Throughout the store, only ordinary lights were provided.

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 Aisle was medium in the biscuits and snacks, and plastics section. Around 4 to 6 feet wide aisles can be provided, as people crowd in that section more than in others.  The billing counters are placed at the entrance, which makes the entrance very crowded and people find hard to cross the entrance. To check the bills after customers purchase, only one guard is present at the entrance, this adds further crowd. To avoid this problem they can provide exit at the other end of the floor as the shop is placed at the corner. Another guard can be appointed during the peak hours to check the bills as it can reduce crowding at the exit.  All the offer pamphlets are placed at the entrance of the store and people stay there for a while before they purchase. The pamphlets are not displayed properly, they are congested and people get confused. They can instead provide offer boards for all those products in that section, at the entrance of that section aisle also.  The main advantage for Reliance Fresh is that, they provide many exciting offers between 8pm and 9 pm daily. But it also has a disadvantage; these offers aren’t announced through loud speakers. Instead customers have to ask the sales person every time. They can announce these offers through speakers.  Recommendations to Spencer’s daily Madurai  The entrance and exit are same. They can provide exit at another end or divide the entrance and exit with any divider.  They have provided SAVE THIS MONTH offer pamphlets, which are provided at the entrance. This can be provided inside the store also.

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ON A FURTHER NOTE It evolved out of our study that although the importance of VM is growing, there are no real metrics for measuring its effectiveness. The judges who evaluated our presentations also agreed to this fact. As Ms. Mallika who has 4.5 years of experience in retail noted, “There is no right or wrong as far as retailing and Visual merchandising are concerned. There is no

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way to find out what worked. It is just trying out new things. Some things work, some things do not”

We feel, that a Dosage test can be employed in this regard. When product promotions remain constant, increasing levels of visual merchandising efforts can be employed to see the response of customers. Periodically monitoring increase in sales during times of dramatic VM implementations can also be a way to determine if the VM efforts paid off.

Although this would be difficult in terms of implementation, we can go by the folklore that says , “Something is better than nothing”

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CITATIONS
[1]

Loganathan, D. (2009). Indian Retail Industry – An Exploratory Study. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from retailnetworks http://www.retailnetworks.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1425&Item id=302
[2]

Lindstrom, Martin (2008). BUY.ology How everything we believe about why we buy is wrong, London: The Random House Group Limited
[3]

Arora ,V.P.S., Sharma, Shivani, and K. Singh, Nirdesh. (2007). Nature and Functioning of Visual Merchandising in Organized Food Retailing. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from Ageconsearch http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/47438/2/3-VPS-Arora
[4]

Electronic References: Electronic Media and URLs (2003). Retrieved March 10, 2010, from Retail Franchise India online, Retailfranchiseindia website: http://retail.franchiseindia.com/articles/Retail-Store-Operations/VM-and-Design/Sensoryexperience-must-in-retail-design-163/
[5]

Electronic References: Electronic Media and URLs (2003). Retrieved March 10, 2010, from Digital Signage Expo online, Digitalsignageexpo website: http://www.digitalsignageexpo.net/DNNArticleMaster/DNNArticleView/tabid/78/smid/104 1/ArticleID/1688/reftab/243/t/The-Impact-of-Digital-Signage-on-In-Store-DecisionMaking/Default.aspx
[6]

Electronic References: Electronic Media and URLs (2003). Retrieved March 10, 2010, from Scribd online, Scribd website: http://www.scribd.com/doc/17926288/Role-of-Visual-Final

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APPENDIX 1: DEPTH INTERVIEW – VM MANAGER
Depth Interview

Ms. Sujatha, Visual Merchandising Manager Big Bazaar, Coimbatore People say, “When you learn, learn from the best”. And what better place can one find to learn about visual merchandising (VM) in retail stores than at Big Bazaar! Ms. Sujatha is the Visual Merchandising Manager of Big Bazaar, Coimbatore. All those mannequins, floor stickers, headers and drop downs are in place due to the hard work and enthusiasm of this eminent woman. Ms. Sujatha responds to the questions posed to her regarding VM

Q. Who decides the where and how to display merchandise? A. For each product there is something called SOP(Standard operating Procedure) which is designed at the Head Office (HO) in Mumbai. The layout, display ambience, lights, visuals etc are the same across stores all over India and are standardized. The HO gives us these instructions.

Q. We see a lot of brands specific to Big Bazaar, like Koryo for Electronics, AFL Jeans, Matrix Jeans...What are these? A. These are called SIS(Shop inShop) alliances. Big Bazaar has several of these, AFL, Matrix, Knitwood, Koryo, Tasty Treat, Srishti and many more. These make up a major share of our in- store promotion.

Q. How are the VM efforts co-ordinated? A. At every floor or at every merchandising counter there is something called as Focal point which is a strategic location on that particular section. Always the best merchandise is kept at the focal point. The focal point often correlates to the positioning of the products and also the segment they cater to. Mannequins, printed banners etc are examples of VM focal points. Some

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products sell less and need a push, these are products which are laggard are concentrated in these focal points to increase their sales.

The store also has some Promo Areas (Promotional areas) and Window Areas intended only for promotion and not sales. VM plays a major role here. The Coimbatore Big Bazaar does not have a window area, but we have a number of promo areas in each section. At the entrance you might have seen mannequins of different kinds of clothing, it is a promo area. The Apparel Section also has a lot of promo areas. You can see Asin in beautifully clad kurtis and saree, we have huge wall drops of Asin and Dhoni at the promo areas in Apparel Section.

In Furniture section you can see artificial living rooms and bed rooms that we have created. This kind of visual merchandising helps the customer to visualise how the piece of furniture will look when arranged at home.

Q. What is the role of lay out in VM? A. Every floor has something called a Circulation Plan. In short the VM people decide how people should enter and leave the store. The layout in the store and arrangement of products is in such a way that every customer who enters the store sees all the merchandise in the store at least once. We try to achieve this goal. As you know, there are five sense organs for every human being. We try to influence at least one of them every time the customer is anywhere in the store.VM takes care of the eye part of it.

The Chowpatty (food court) is consciously kept at the top floor so that customers walk between various aisles and when finally reach the food court are welcomed by aromas of various dishes. The ambience of food fort is aided by the ads on the walls. The menu is plastered on the wall, in a floor to ceiling manner with pictures that make customers want to try out, although Big Bazaar is not a lunch destination. This aids impulse buying even in food! The Food Bazaar is kept at ground floor as this is the most sought after section. Merchandise moves very fast from food bazaar and needs constant replenishment also.

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Q. What purpose do these Bins serve? A. The layout is designed in such a way that even if the number of people in the store is few, the store will look crowded. This is done by VM, the promo areas, bins kept heaped with merchandise at various locations in the store etc are the keys to this .Indians like buying things from crowded places, as they believe fast moving goods are of good quality and that is why people crowd for them. This motivates them to buy when there is crowd surrounding merchandise.

Q. How often does the layout of the store change? A. Layout changes are not frequently unless some product is afflicted by low sales or low visibility. Some layout changes also occur as a result of new arrivals.

Q. Big Bazaar has Wednesday Bazaars for weekly discounts. Why Wednesday s? A. Wednesday is chosen as the day for giving weekly discounts as it falls in middle of the week. Big Bazaar has introduced a Wednesday Bazaar concept called “Hafte Ka Sabse Sasta Din”. Everyone knows that in weekend the sales are the highest. Hence there should be some stimulus to boost the sales during the week and hence Wednesday offers are given. The offers include 50% off on most items Solid surprises on food items - Every Wednesday. The aim is to give homemakers the power to save the most. The stores don a fresh look to make customers feel that it is their day. The wednesday Bazaar also offers clothes, accessories and fashion jewellery and personal care products.

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APPENDIX 2: DEPTH INTERVIEW – FLOOR MANAGER 1
Mr. Shiju, Floor Manager, Luggage and Footwear Big Bazaar, Palakkad

True answers come to the right question from people who are close to the action. We stumbled upon Mr. Shiju amidst our Foray Between the Shopping Aisle., the keen, observant floor manager of Luggage and Footwear department of Big Bazaar, Palaghat. Mr. Shiju answers some questions pertaining to Visual Merchandising at Big Bazaar

Q. How often does the floor undergo a layout change? A. There is no need to change the way of display as long as customers ask for a certain product. If no one is asking or rather buying, that is where the visual merchandising can help. When we feel there is a problem and see a dip in sales, we change layout. If it is a shift in floors, like it is happening now (The Apparel section will come down to where the Luggage and Footwear section is) the decision comes from Mumbai. There would have been some common indicators that initiated this change.

Some products which sell less are put in front at a prominent space in the store to promote it and thus aid in its selling. The overall arrangement at the footwear and luggage section follows a pattern. We arrange the products according to price. The shoes/ trolleys with lowest MRP are thus placed at the entrance. This helps to make customers think about buying, although the trolley or shoe might not have been on the shopping list. A good VM is essential for this section as these items are sought only by customers when they are in need for it

Q. How do you think layout complements VM efforts? A. The layout is also designed in a way so as to help customers to enjoy a spacious shopping. The width of aisles are 1.25 feet. Lighting also plays an important role. Spotlights are used to attract customers to fancy footwear. Otherwise white fluorescent tube lights are used in the store. Thus layout also becomes a part and parcel of VM. AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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Q. What drives these VM efforts?

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A. The two major ways to attract customers are offers and display. Big Bazaar believes that good product coupled with good offers and apt display will sell more. A look around the store will bring some items into quick notice. Over days these items keep changing.Thus attractive offers and display are the key to customer’s heart.

Q. What are the major ways in which VM is done in this store? A. There are several VM aids in store. A few are: Shelf Talkers: “AFL Jeans, MRP RS 299, Offer Price: RS239” These strips of papaer which are inserted in transparent slots of the shelves are the major medium in Big Bazaar for conveying their offers.

Signage: Signage are posted at each section which communicate the offers or new arrivals. The Exchange signage which promotes the exchange mela would be on till the 4th of April Drop Downs: The A4 sized cardboards with exchange mela written across them hang from the ceilings of each floor. These promote the specific offer of the season (as of now the “Exchange Mela”) There are numerous of these in the store. These drop downs are used just to make customers feel something is happening. It is akin to the decorations we do at temples, just to create an ambience.

Flooring Stickers: Stickers are stuck onto floors especially during Onam in Kerala. The colourful stickers portraying flower carpets would aid in creating an celebration mood among the shoppers.

Movable Wall Drops: These are lookalike of pillars that are omnipresent at Big Bazaar. Asin sporting sarees and Kurtis, Dhoni wearing DJ&C T-Shirts welcome shoppers amidst their search between the aisles.

Q. How often does the VM change? A. The VM changes centrally with new offers and seasons. For instance Big Bazaar is known for “Killing Offers”. Sometimes, selected products are sold at half rate or even less for about an hour or so. These offers will definitely attract customers who are within the store. Some AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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of them even communicate to their friends using mobiles. This in turn increases the walk ins of a day. So we have to make the ambience look as if something is happening! So is the case with Big Days, which are one of the pioneering inventions of Future Groups. Future recognized that some months of the calendar do not have any festivals, in short no scope for mega shopping. Thus, they started Big Days for Independence, Republic and May Days to attract holiday crowd with killing offers lasting for 5 days. Customers queue up and this at times even extends outside the store as they wait to gain entry.

Shiju observes that Big Bazaar caters more to homemakers, who can do shopping for the entire family when they visit the store.It is keeping them on mind that offers, layout and display are done.

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APPENDIX 3: DEPTH INTERVIEW – FLOOR MANAGER 2
Mr. Rajesh, Floor Manager Apparel Section (Fashion@Big Bazaar)

Q) How are the VM desicons made at Fashion@Big Bazaar? A. The most visually merchandised section of Big Bazaar is the Apparel Section. Recently Big Bazaar has adopted the Merchandising Presentation Manual to visually merchandise the products. Contrary to the footwear section where the arrangement is based on lowest priced item near the entrance, the App section puts “Fashion at First”.According to MPM, Big Bazaar’s apparel section has altered its arrangement of jeans according to size, color and pattern.

Q) What are the different methods of VM used in this section? Shubh Muhurat: This is one of the major attractions on the App Floor. Sporting a ramp with fashionably clad and decorated mannequins , Shubh Muhurat woos customers. The Shubh Muhurat sported an attractive summer collection which definitely caught some eyeballs. Color Blocking: Color blocking is done for a better look. From Left to Right on the floor, apparels are arranged in the order of colors (White –Cream-Yellow-Green-Blue-PinkMaroon-Red-Black) Bin Management: The Bins that are kept throughout the store house some products merely for aiding impulse buying. The Bins are a sheer way to increase sales and go by the principle, the more the customers see, the more they buy. The Electronics section also has employed some visual merchandising of its own. Koryo, the electronics brand promoted by Big Bazaar was celebrating summer with backdrops of ice capped mountains and penguins. A huge flex said at the footwear section: “Temperature today at footwear section,300C. Temperature at Electronics Section 160C.” Instead of arranging cots, sofas and Television stands, the floor had them arranged in a similar set up as found in real homes.

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APPENDIX 4: DEPTH INTERVIEW – RETAIL STORE DESIGNER
ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN VISUAL MERCHANDISING

TELEPHONIC INTERVIEW MR. ANUPAM GOYAL Interior Designer, Mumbai

Anupam Goyal is a young interior designer based at Mumbai who

specialises in designing retail stores. This designer, who is also an MBA has designed nearly 100 stores in the last 2 years. In his free time, he delivers guest lecturers to designing students in

Mumbai. Anupam has designed stores for Nautica, Zaara, Pocket etc. Pocket is a multi Branded Outlet (MBO) renowned for 62 international brands in Apparels, Footwear and Accessories like CK, Greg Norman, Nautica, Gap, Puma, Van Heusen, Pull and Bear, Austin Reed, Nike, Reebok etc.

This enthusiastic designer was full of words when he spoke of Visual merchandising. He believes in creating an identity for every store, which will find a place in the minds of customers.

Q. Could you tell us what would be a regular day at work for a VM? A. A visual merchandiser is involved in creating an identity for a store. This will not include just mannequins, bins and aisles. It involves a lot of little things that make up the store. The 3 preliminary things that I feel makes up the identity of a store are its, Ambience: How appealing is the store to customers is decided by the ambience of the store. It will include the furniture fit outs and lighting. These things change as per the

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display. As he specialised in apparels, he talked about mannequins, spotlights and window displays. Fragrance: The store must have a constant fragrance. The air fresheners or cooler perfumes must not be changed as when liked. Music: The choice of right music for the store is of great importance. Once customers walk in, they should feel that the store is friendly. Once this is done, they would not even look for a sales person. Music in store plays a role in this. I change music according to crowd in the stores that I design and manage. In stores of international brands, which is frequented by youth, romantic numbers and soft music is played. On weekends, by evening it’s an air of romance in my stores. On week days I play some soft music. Friday evenings are dedicated to rock.

In addition to this, I manage a log book near the billing counter which collects data about customers. It is very important to know all about your customer, so that you can change according to their tastes. In this log book, a customer tells about what he felt when he walked into the store.

In-Store Branding: This includes managing posters and banners inside the store, shelf talkers, sectional signages etc. The store’s logo and theme has to be maintained well . Managing these will directly help customers in their purchase. This is the responsibility of a VM

A VM is also responsible for changing the stacking, hanging, mannequins etc. The stacks should be reshuffled. This should be done periodically to make the store look fresh. No customer will walk into a store that looks stale and has the same display for a long time.

Q. What are the new VM trends in the apparel industry? A. It primarily depends on what kind of apparel you are displaying. Denims are stuffed with polythene bags to resemble a mannequin. I had designed a store in Goa, where I tied up a hammock at the window area and put a denim clad mannequin in it. It was well appreciated.

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These days casuals can be seen rolled up and tied to give them a rough look. The new Levis store has used a theme of red and black. It is very dark inside, dark shades all over. But they have used

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yellow spotlights to display jeans. Big brands like Levis and Spykar can afford to do this as customers know the quality associated with the brand and might not even care if the lighting is not adequate. Levis is soon coming out with a new red and black format with red lights to make the store appealing to the youth as the store would give the ambience of a pub with its red lighting!

I had designed a saree store in Mumbai which sold sarees with a beginning price point of INR25,000. I had left the flooring cemented, roughly and did not polish or lay tiles on it. The walls of the store had an uneven coating of white cement, and had rough surface. The ceilings were dark. I used spotlights to display the merchandise and put mannequins under spotlights. This idea was well received and the store won an award for its interiors. It’s about thinking and doing different.

Themes are among the commonest things. If you are creating a display for sportswear, you might want a water bottle nearby, a basket ball etc. It will be great to use the ceiling area above the display as well.

Displaying near the glass windows are becoming increasingly popular as this lets customer see what is inside.

Q. Do you thing VM adds to sales? A. 60% of the footfalls in a store depend on VM. Good VM makes people want to enter the store. That with a friendly feeling would make customers buy.

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Q. Is VM in India at par with that in countries across the globe?

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A. India has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to this. The way VM is done in Europe is way too good. German stores are awesome when it comes to displays. I had the opportunity to meet with some of the best ones from Germany, and I also received a month long training from them. I learnt a lot of things during this training which I use in my store designs now.

Q. What are the challenges that VM faces? A. A lot depends on the mindset of people. I came to Mumbai as an Interior designer. I later became an expert in residential and commercial kitchens. I still think I design good kitchens, as women love the ones I design. Later I got a project on retail, on contract basis for an unbranded store. I enjoyed what I did although I was not trained in VM. I then started learning from all available sources, attended training and also travelled around the world and looked at stores. Getting business was not easy, it was difficult to take people into confidence. I promised them that I would give back their money if the design did not pay off. Thank god it did!

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APPENDIX 5: DEPTH INTERVIEW – ASST. VM MANAGER
TELEPHONIC INTERVIEW MR. MOHIT SAXENA Asst. Manager, Visual Merchandising VF Arvind, Bangalore

Mohit Saxena is a graduate from

National

Institute

of

Fashion Technology. He works in Visual Merchandising with VF Arvind and is based at Bangalore. He is responsible for coordinating VM efforts across 70 stores in the South and West region. Arvind Brands Ltd. which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Arvind Mills Ltd. has formed a joint venture with US based VF Corporation for marketing various brands owned by the US firm in India.

The existing business including intellectual assets and licenses from VF for Lee, Wrangler, Nautica, Jansport, Kipling, Lee Youth, Hero by Wrangler, Riders by the makers of Lee brands , which was held by Arvind Fashions Ltd, has now been transferred to the new company.

Q. Tell us about how important is visual merchandising in apparel industry? A. Let me begin with a return question. If there are two stores, one which has attractively displayed merchandise and a neighbouring one which looks normal and unattractive which one would you go to? Naturally, the first one. Visual merchandising gives richness to the merchandise and makes it exclusive. When products are kept randomly, it resembles a wardrobe. Who wants to buy at a wardrobe?

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Q. How exactly do you go about with the VM activities across the 70 stores that you manage? A. I am based at Bangalore. So on a weekly basis I go the stores in Bangalore, arrange the brands in a specific manner. Be it folding, stacking or grouping I click photographs of these arrangements and mail it to the VM co-ordinators in the other stores. They implement the design, click photographs of the implementation and mail it back to me. In addition to this, I might drop in at some of the stores in other locations and conduct quick surprise visits, to ensure that everything is in order. Changing the displays according to seasons is also an important thing to be done. These things happen every week.

Q. Can you tell us about some new trends in the area of VM with respect to apparel industry? A. VM in India is relatively new. About 6 years back no one even knew about VM. But they are looking at it now. In this context window displays, signage, theme displays etc are relatively new in India. But they have been

prevalent for quite long abroad. For instance,

displaying merchandise in a neat way is the in thing. But in Europe it is

ruggedness that is new. Rolling casuals, hanging the merchandise

asymmetrically etc which are hot trends abroad are just in their infancy in India. United Colours of Benetton is doing an unmatchable job in this regard when it comes to India This is because they have more VM staff than anyone else

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Q. What do you feel are the challenges for VM in India? A. The problem is that there are no clear metrics available to see the impact of VM on sales. Let’s think about this

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experiment in which we decide to keep a store unarranged for some time without VM, monitor sales and then try doing the same with VM implementation. It’s simply not possible. But all of us know that visitors come in due to display and then buy if the product matches their needs. But the parameters for measuring a successful VM are few as a higher turnover could be due to promotions, sales people, or many other things. The indicators are also pretty fuzzy. Another challenge is the number of staff doing VM in a store. Some of the best VMimplemented stores have more visual merchandisers than sales people. Industries have recognized the need in India and VM is fast growing. We can soon catch up with what the other countries are doing. There is also trouble with the posts of VM in India. In European nations there is a coveted title of VM director, whereas in India the highest anyone can get to be is a Head VM.

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APPENDIX 6: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE
A study on consumer buying behaviour Hi! Hope you enjoyed the shopping. It would be really great if you can help us (MBA students of Amrita School of Business) in understanding a few things that would make shopping effective and entertaining. Please help us by filling out this questionnaire and be a part of our Marketing Research project. Name of the Store: Location: 1. How often do you visit this store? □ More than once in a week □ Once a week □ Once a month □ Very rarely □ Once a fortnight □ I come when I feel like

2. With whom do you usually come shopping? □ With parents □ With spouse and kids □ With friends □ Alone □ With spouse

3. What is your role in shopping? (Tick the most relevant) □ I do the shopping □ I look around □ I look around and suggest □ I do not do anything 4. What do you feel about shopping? (Tick as many as applies) □ To take a break □ To look for new products □ To check for new offers □ To buy what I need □ Others (Please Specify) __________________________________________ 5. How often do you carry a written list when you go out for shopping? □ Always □ Mostly □ Sometimes □ Rarely □ Never

6. Do you actively seek new products when you go out for shopping? □ Always □ Mostly □ Sometimes □ Rarely □ Never

7. Does the way products are arranged or displayed attract you? □ Always □ Mostly □ Sometimes □ Rarely □ Never

8. When I enter a store.... AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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□ I go straight to the products which I want □ I walk through the store as it leads me □ I do not follow any pattern. I just walk randomly and pick up products □ I seek the help of salesperson to navigate in the store □ Others (Please specify) __________________________________________ 9. Generally I follow the signage board and layout to find a product. □ Strongly Agree. □ Agree □ Neither agree nor disagree □ Disagree □ Strongly Disagree 10. While shopping, how do you come to know about the offers for the day in the store? (Tick only one option which is most relevant) □ I do not pay attention to offers □ Sales People □ Shelves and sign boards/banners □ Pamphlets □ Loudspeakers in the store □ No offers 11. Which of these is most relevant with regard to your shopping? □ I bought what I came to buy. Nothing More. □ I bought a little more than what I came for. □ I bought lot more than what I came for. □ I bought everything that attracted me. □ I did not find what I needed. So I did not buy anything. 12. If you have bought some products other than what you came to buy, which of the following factors made you buy more? (Tick as many as applies) □ Good Product □ Good Discount Offer □ Attractive display of the product □ Information provided by salesperson □ Others (Please Specify) __________________________________________ □ No specific reason, I just bought because I liked the Product □ I did not buy anything out of list 13. Can you recall one product which was prominently promoted in the store,

Please specify _________________________________________

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Personal Information: Gender : Male / Female Age :

Occupation : Education : Thanks for spending your valuable time. Your response means a lot to us  

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APPENDIX 7: CODE BOOK A study on consumer buying behaviour
Name of the Store(store.name): Missing – 9 Location(location): Missing - 9 1. How often do you visit this store? Question.ID:

□ More than once in a week (1) □ Once a week (2) □ Once a fortnight (3) □ Once a month(4) □ Very rarely(5) □ I come when I feel like(6)
Missing - 9 Ordinal Variable - frequency

2. With whom do you usually come shopping?

□ With parents(1) □ With friends(2) □ With spouse(3) □ With spouse and kids(4) □ Alone(5)
Missing - 9 Nominal Variable – accompany to shopping.

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□ I do the shopping(1) □ I look around(2) □ I look around and suggest (3) □ I do not do anything(4)
Missing – 9 Nominal Variable – shopping role

4. What do you feel about shopping? (Tick as many as applies)

□ To take a break (Shop4break) (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ To look for new products (shop4newprod) (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ To check for new offers (shop4newoffer) (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ To buy what I need (shop4need) (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ Others (Please Specify) __________________________________________
(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) Nominal

5. How often do you carry a written list when you go out for shopping?

□ Always (1) □ Mostly(2) □ Sometimes(3) □ Rarely(4) □ Never(5)
Missing 9 Interval Variable – shopping list

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6. Do you actively seek new products when you go out for shopping?

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□ Always(1) □ Mostly(2) □ Sometimes(3) □ Rarely(4) □ Never(5)
Missing 9 Interval Variable – seeking new product

7. Does the way products are arranged or displayed attract you?

□ Always(1) □ Mostly(2) □ Sometimes(3) □ Rarely(4) □ Never(5)
Missing -9 Interval Variable – product arrangement

8. When I enter a store....

□ I go straight to the products which I want(1) □ I walk through the store as it leads me(2) □ I do not follow any pattern. I just walk randomly and pick up products(3) □ I seek the help of salesperson to navigate in the store(4) □ Others (Please specify) __________________________________________(5)
Missing -9 Nominal

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Variable – enter to store Others description (string, 0=not applicable)

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9. Generally I follow the signage board and layout to find a product.

□ Strongly Agree(1) □ Agree(2) □ Neither agree nor disagree(3) □ Disagree(4) □ Strongly Disagree(5)
Missing 9 Interval Variable – following signage

10. While shopping, how do you come to know about the offers for the day in the store? (Tick only one option which is most relevant)

□ I do not pay attention to offers(1) □ Sales People(2) □ Shelves and sign boards/banners(3) □ Pamphlets(4) □ Loudspeakers in the store(5) □ No offers(6)
Missing 9 Nominal Variable –knowledge about offer.

11. Which of these is most relevant with regard to your shopping?

□ I bought what I came to buy. Nothing More. □ I bought a little more than what I came for. □ I bought lot more than what I came for. □ I bought everything that attracted me.
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□ I did not find what I needed. So I did not buy anything.
Missing 9 Nominal Variable – shopping relevancy

12. If you have bought some products other than what you came to buy, which of the following factors made you buy more? (Tick as many as applies)

□ Good Product (good.prod) (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ Good Discount Offer (good.offer)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ Attractive display of the product (attr.disp)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ Information provided by salesperson (info.sp)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) □ Others (Please Specify) __________________________________________
(others.extr) (string)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing)

□ No specific reason, I just bought because I liked the Product
(no.reason)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing)

□ I did not buy anything out of list
Nominal

(no.extra)(0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing)

13. Can you recall one product which was prominently promoted in the store, Please specify _________________________________________ (0=No,1=Yes,9=Missing) Product recall String

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Personal Information: Gender : Male / Female Age
1—below 15 2—16-21 3—22-28 4—29-35 5—36-45 6—46-60 7—above 60

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:

Male-1 / Female-2 / Missing- 9 Gender Nominal

Scale Missing- 9 Education:
undergrad—1 grad—2 post grad—3

Ordinal Missing-9

Student-1 Professional—2 Selfemployed—3 Home maker—4 Missing- 9 Nominal

Occupation :

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ADIEU TO THE AISLES
Chewing the cud!

It was a tremendous experience, one akin to learning to walk all over again. Be it waging the scorching sun to fill out questionnaires or sleepless nights or drafting and report making, I thoroughly enjoyed the MR bug that had gotten into my system. Amidst the “Foray between the aisles” what caught me off guard is the role of social media in this study. The two expert interviews included in this study owe fully to the social networking site, Orkut. I am amazed at how

communities of interest can aid in researches like this. In addition to this some Visual merchandisers on Orkut took active interest and shared works done on this field with us in the form of power point slides and PDFS. It made me look at social media with a renewed interest and respect. ~Anitha Kaveri

Experience survey gave excellent insights of what each store actually follows with regard to VM and how and when they implement it. Analysis of the data was the foundation of our conclusions and the amount of learning received from that was immense. After all it’s the customers who are the base of the study conducted because every VM is based on what appeals to them. Observation study proved to be very effective as it helped to personally get a feel of what each of the hypothesis was and what could be the expected conclusion. ~ Pooja Nair

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I was fascinated by the study, especially the findings that evolved out of the study. The ideas that issued out of the expert interview with Mr. Anupam Goyal really amazed me. Being the owner of a retail textile store, I found some of his insights were very relevant to make shopping a wonderful experience to customers by implementing visual merchandising at my store. With the insights they gave I could understand the frequency at which they try to influence their customers. This invoked the creativity in me and one such was displayed during the presentation we delivered. ~ Karthik Krishnan

I realised something now, by virtue of the experience I gained out of this study. I am used to taking my mother shopping at

various shopping malls. Every time I would come home and recheck bills and the items. I always found that I have bought much more than I actually need. This happened every time I visited a store with my mother. I always used to exclaim to my mother, why we always end up in buying a lot more than we need. She also couldn’t figure out. This may also be because I was working at that time and never cared how much I spent. However in my engineering days even if I go to any kind of store, I always bought what I just need. Nothing more, nothing less. Doing this project helped me in a way to find the culprit, Visual Merchandising!! Now after going back I will explain this concept to my mother  ~Sankar Rajan

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Modern organised retail stores were one my favourite places to hang out. A little different from others, I enjoy looking for products in retail stores. Given an off day, the first place I would hit will be any organised retail store and do window shopping. This project was of my area of interest and also nevertheless a great learning

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experience. During the course of the project, I got an opportunity to meet Ms.Sujatha, Visual Merchandising Manager. One of the interestin g and surprising facts from her was that any big bazaar throughout the country is designed in such a way that the store always looks packed even if it has 5 customers. That was the control established by a well planned layout and floor plan. Many other insights received from experts through direct meeting as well as telephonic interviewing made me understand that there is logic between each and every aspect of a store and its design. The findings from the project were really fascinating and have also made me look for an opportunity to extend the same project further as my summer internship project. Signing off from the learning’s section of foray between the shopping aisles. ~Subbu. C

The project gave me valuable insights about various methods of in-store promotions. This not only made me understand how

important these display were to customer, but they will also give me a good foundation for my summer internship in Marketing at LG, as it deals with promotion. I am an avid shopper, and always come out of the store with empty wallets. Now I know why it happened to me all the time. I am planning to venture into retail business sometime soon, now I understand what I should watch out for. Visual merchandising is really an interesting and important area for retails to concentrate. ~ Surendran AMRITA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, COIMBATORE

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It was a nice learning experience. It gave me the opportunity to talk to a lot of people, conduct interviews and surveys. I learnt the importance of visual merchandising from Big Bazaar, Coimbatore and also realised the importance of logical flow in the arrangement of things. The best of my learning comes from the observation at

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Reliance Fresh and More outlets of Coimbatore. It helped me understand how important the attitude towards customers and product assortment were when it comes to retail outlets. ~Suman Ghosh

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