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com/what-is-the-role-of-visual-merchandising/Visual merchandising Visual merchandising is the activity and profession of developing floor plans and threedimensional displays in order to maximise sales. Both goods or services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. Visual merchandising commonly occurs in retail spaces such as retail stores and trade shows Visual merchandising is a comparatively new career field in which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandisers main area of work is to create impossible window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, euphoria etc. They are also engaged as shop floor mangers. They can also do freelancing on contract basis for windows displays in exhibitions, fares, and other places. Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor, fashion retailer, export manger etc. This paper discusses importance and potential for visual merchandising professionals.

INTRODUCTION Selling a product (convenient/shopping/specialty) is incomplete without communicating its image. To build long term brand loyalty, in addition to the quality of the product, right image is very much needed. To attain this, many companies invest huge money the promotions. But many businesses neglect the retail front which is the face of the brands. In other words, the way the products are displayed at the retail shelves, the way the sales people communicate to the consumer etc. are the some of the issues, which if not handles well can be a great threat to the brands image. Visual merchandising is the art of presentation, which puts the merchandiser in focus. It educates the customers, creates desire and finally augments the selling process. This is an area where the Indian business people lack adequate knowledge and expertise. This inadequacy is best reflected in poor presentation/display and communication the various national and international exhibitions with phasing out of quantitative restrictions after the year 2004, the textile industry will have to compete purely on the competitive edge of the products and visual merchandising will be helpful for the projecting the uniqueness of the products and thereby increasing the market access and sales. It is high time that the Indian textile and clothing industry should understand and adopts the scientific and professional system of visual merchandising rather than the traditional practices of display of products and communication. CRITICAL ISSUES OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING Retailing them itself has transformed the way business is done and the so called merchandisers of disposition of store inventory. There are many ways and standard procedures to ignite sales, increase profits and maximize the net worth of the business. Visual merchandising helps in this respect. This calls for a concerted industry efforts to approximately value the importance of quality retail coverage such as self-integrity in store advertising, price verification, stock rotations, new item-cut and other related activities. To

make effective the retail business one has to focus on the following critical issues of visual merchandising. a) Graphics and signage: attention grabbing yet clear graphics by way to visually communicate the brand and these graphics when compiled with the right signage become the stalls complete instruction manual. b) Trends and moot boards: This is misunderstood by many as mere decorations for the stall. The brand sources and moot boards convey the source, in fact the mere need of the product for the consumer to the buyer. A good trend story board display can exhibit a thought process nursing for the inspirations (research, to swatch development of the final usage of the product. c) Space management: Most displays concentrate on the floor management of space. In order to create a complete desired ambience the ceiling space should also be given enough attention. Walls are not elastic space should be allocated to the available products as per the expectation of the customers to deliver best results. The major issues of space management are: 1. How do we want our ranges to look? 2. Hanging/stocked/customers etc. 3. What stock density do you want to achieve? Generally, the more options/units you can hold for a given amount of space, the higher the potential returns. Space landing systems can be split into two types Numeric and visuals: Numeric planning system simply allow users to account of space available and to calculate the ratios like returns on space. Visual systems allow users to create three dimensional walk through models of the stores and to preview the look of a store once ranging decisions have been made. d) Dresiforms and mannequins: The dresiforms communicate the 3 dimensional form of the product. Along with the fit a good mannequin can also be customized to communicate a character, for example, special kids wear mannequins with caricatured faces convey the playful mood of the collections. e) Synergy among the different stalls: A stall look should compliment the mood the whole fair too. So some visual elements from the fair, be it a color scheme or some material used should also be incorporated in the stall. f) Out of the box thinking: With so many stalls around, it sometimes focus some stock value to grab the attention of the buyers. Innovative ideas in displaying the mannequins, swatches etc can invite many more people to the stall. g) Merchandise planning: The first function of merchandising planning is making a strategic plan, which is normally for a five years or more and is used to set the critical success factors for merchandising in terms of sales, margins and stocks. Next in a channel sales budget to take into account the effect of the new channels, new stores, closures, and refits. In simple

words merchandising planning is a systematic approach and aiming at maximizing return on investment, through planning sales and inventory in order to increase profitability. It does think by maximization sales potential and minimizing losses from marked down and stock cuts. h) Range planning: Begin with assortment plan. In assortment plan, the goal of merchandise plan are divided into specific lines and such a way that the division results in the increase of overall marginal mix. Then a distributions planning in done. The link between available physical space and ranging done here is a key determinant of merchandising performance. ROLE OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING Visual merchandising is an artistic method to ensure that retailers merchandise moves off the shelves faster. It's a tool to appeal to the visual sensory elements of the customer. Visual merchandising is an unknown skill which is fastly becoming popular nowadays with the introduction of self service in retail stores in recent years and the number of changes taking place in super market merchandising methods, there has been increased emphasis on the kind of store layout, store building, fixtures, and equipment, color displays, silent communication tools, window display and finally opinion building through in store displays which has taken the art of retailing the higher applications frames. Customer expects to spend less time for shopping and prefers one step multi brand retail formats and hence significance of visual merchandising is on increase. As per the opinion of Hemendra Mathur, senior consultant of KSA technopark based on the third annual consumer outlook study that the consumer is getting time saved and the time spent on shoppin (both grocery and non grocery) has come down. Further the study reveals that are increase in the impulse and unplanned purchases in the certain categories. Visual merchandising helps in the increase of impulse buying. The practice of a visual merchandising is negligible in durables and home textiles and in the apparel and foot wear it is 20%. Many people experience in organized retailing are of the opinion that innovative application for effective retail presents and brand buildings are being used aggressively by companies in retail merchandising. Brands like Reebok spent 25% of their advertising spent on point of sale merchandising. The brand managers of Reebok feel that 80% of the buyers are influenced by the 3 feet experience i.e, point of sales material and visual merchandising are more effective than outdoor displays and advertising. Market analysis feel that most companies are unfortunately not spending as much time and money as they should on POS (point of sales) visual merchandising as a strategic tool for brand building, indiscriminately "displaying everything rather than displaying selectively and effectively to assist consumer in taking decisions. Visual merchandising helps in: a) Establishing a creative medium to present merchandise in 3 D environment, with which a long lasting impact and recall value. b) Combining the creative, technical, and operational aspects of a product and the business.

c) Educating the customers about the product/services in an effective and creative or innovative manners. d) Drawing the attention of the customer to enable him to purchase decisions in the short space of time and this augmenting the selling process.

Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. It sets the context of the merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, presenting them in a way that would convert the window shoppers into prospects and ultimately buyers of the product. A creative and talented retailer can use this upcoming art to breathe in new life into his store products. Passion for design and creativity are essential to be a good visual merchandiser. A perfect design process and the ability to create ideas that are different are required. Awareness of happenings in fashion world is needed so as to keep upto-date with the dynamics of the market constantly.

Visual merchandising includes window displays, signs, interior displays, cosmetic promotions and any other special sales promotions taking place.

Components of Visual Merchandising:

There are certain things which a retailer needs to take care while proceeding with the process of displaying his products. These components when combined together in a proper ratio will make a successful outcome.

Make merchandise the focal point:

The main goal of display is to showcase the products within the overall display area. Customers give three to five seconds of their attention to window display. The retailers visual message should be conveyed to the customer in that short period of time. It should not be like an unsuccessful TV advertisement, where the product is forgotten altogether and only the concept of the commercial remains in the mind of the viewer. The arrangement of window display should go with the product and should not suppress them to make it discernable to the eye.

Right choice of colors is vital:

Color is one of the most powerful tools in the Visual Merchandising segment. It is a visual perceptual property. Colors can be associated with emotions, special occasions and gender. It attracts attention and pulls more customers into the store. A retailer has to focus on the right choice of color that would match with the theme of display. It is not possible to satisfy everyone all the time, but it is possible to cultivate the taste of customers gradually and purposefully. A right choice of colors in the display items can turn walkers into stoppers and significantly convert them into customers. It is therefore mandatory to choose the right color for the right theme of display. A Halloween display would require black color in the display theme. Valentines theme should be ruled by red color supplemented with pink and white. A display of babys accessories should reflect light shades of pink and blue colors. A Christmas display should contain colors of red, green, gold and silver.

Display themes to appropriately support the product:

A theme is a display of sale items of similar categories e.g. a display of kitchen accessories. Its essential to have themes for all retail displays. They can be romantic, wild, or capricious, and capture peoples imaginations.

A good theme will lure the customer with a shopping mood into the store. Themes mainly depend upon the retailers imagination and creativity. Focusing on the right theme rather than creating a display with expensive raw materials is the key to successful window display. A shoe store theme can be a group of elves buying shoes. A theme for display of casual wears can be a group of mannequins sitting casually at a get together in different poses. Related themes will tug the heartstring of the customers and will pay off.

When the giant nineteenth century dry goods establishments like Marshall Field & Co. shifted their business from wholesale to retail, the visual display of goods became necessary to attract the general consumers. The store windows were often used to attractively display the store's merchandise. Over time, the design aesthetic used in window displays moved

indoors and became part of the overall interior store design, eventually reducing the use of display windows in many suburban malls.[citation needed] In the twentieth century, well-known artists such as Salvador Dal and Andy Warhol created window displays.[citation needed]

[edit] Methodology
[edit] Principles
The purpose of visual merchandising is to:

Make it easier for the customer to locate the desired category and merchandise. Make it easier for the customer to self-select. Make it possible for the shopper to co-ordinate and accessorise. Recommend, highlight and demonstrate particular products at strategic locations. education the custmer about the product in an effective & creative way

[edit] Techniques
Visual merchandising builds upon or augments the retail design of a store. It is one of the final stages in setting out a store in a way customers find attractive and appealing. Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays including color, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs (such as smell, touch, and sound), as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations.

[edit] Tools
A planogram allows visual merchandisers to plan the arrangement of merchandise by style, type, size, price or some other category. It also enables a chain of stores to have the same merchandise displayed in a coherent and similar manner across the chain.

Importance of v m
Visual merchandising today forms a critical element of retailing. Besides the facade and windows, which are clearly done up with an objective to attract passer-bys and induce walkins, there is also in-store decor that is designed to enhance the customers comfort and convenience while shopping and overall, offer a superior shopping experience. Consumer behaviour studies have confirmed that the lure of a beautifully done up show window and a tastefully decorated facade, more often than not, prove irresistible as they walk

in to check out what is on offer. It also ensures exclusivity since no two stores should look alike. Besides, when the mood and theme of such displays change at regular intervals, it makes certain that the store remains top of mind. Loyal customers have often been known to anxiously wait for the next display. Stickiness in retail formats is also ensured by the imaginative use of colours, lighting, space,... furniture and visual elements with regard to instore displays. Once customers walk in, it is but imperative to ensure that they enjoy their first encounter with the store. After all, repeat visits will only happen if a customers first visit is a memorable one. The logical arrangement of counters, with clear passageways allows for easy access to merchandise. Rather than getting lost in the mazo that most large stores are, the customer feels more in control. Space is allocated to various product categories taking into account the number of SKUs stocked and shelv-es/counter space requirements are worked out accordingly. Clear passages are provided for products, which require touch and feel. All impulse purchase driven products are also clearly displayed so that the customers can reach them without any hindrance. Also, it has been observed that when a person enters a room, the human eye moves in a Z pattern, i.e. from rear... left of the room to right rear, followed by front left of the room to front right. Care should be taken to do up the rear left end of the room in an appealing manner so as to guide the direction of vision and keep a shopper visually interested. A great deal of research has been undertaken on the impact of lighting on a customers purchase behaviour. Results clearly indicate that in general, stores that are brightly lit, with the lights cleverly blending with the interiors lead to higher customer comfort, and as such, more sales. Different types of lighting and interiors are used on different floors, the change reflecting the various products that are on display on a particular floor, the proposed target audience and the time of the year. The ladies floor, for instance, is most often subtly lit with soft lights or then again, in summers, cool bluish...lights are used to impact an impression of coolness and comfort. The careful use of spotlights helps add to the appeal of products such as crystal and jewellery. Signages related to various product sections are put up clearly to demarcate areas, allowing customers a clear understanding of what is stocked where. With various brands having their own pull, brand signages are also put up within the product sections so that customers can find their favourite brands easily. Additionally, within the product sections, signages help to publicise the various promotional schemes that might be running in the store. Stores also make use of signages to indicate the facilities/services available at the store, such as washrooms, cafe etc. Most stores have an in-house team of visual merchandisers who coordinate with the marketing team as well as the in-house merchandisers and suppliers. Each time any major changes in decor are contemplated, they present the... visual display concepts to the group for
analysis and selection. Subsequently, the same is executed. The visual merchandising team also makes projections vis-a-vis returns per sq. ft. for each section and each brand stocked. On

promotions related visual merchandising, the inputs of the advertising agency are also sought so that the in-shop communication is in line with the tactical promotions advertising. With cost of visual merchandising generally amounting to 1% of sales, this is one communication tool that clearly has an edge over others in terms of drawing in shoppers, increasing flow of traffic and increasing sales.

The art of increasing the sale of products by effectively and sensibly displaying them at the retail outlet is called as visual merchandising. Visual merchandising refers to the aesthetic display of the merchandise to attract the potential buyers, prompt them to buy and eventually increase the sales of the store. In simpler words, visual merchandising is the art of displaying the merchandise to influence the consumers buying behaviour. The store must offer a positive ambience to the customers for them to enjoy their shopping. The location of the products in the store has an important role in motivating the consumers to buy them. Sensible display of the merchandise goes a long way in influencing the buying decision of the individual. The end-user will never notice something which is not well organized: instead stacked or thrown in heaps. Proper Space, lighting, placing of dummies, colour of the walls, type of furniture,music, fragrance of the store all help in increasing the sale of the products. Lighting is one of the critical aspects of visual merchandising. Lighting increases the visibility of the merchandise kept in the store. The store should be adequately lit and well ventilated. Avoid harsh lighting as it blinds the customers who walk into the store. The signage displaying the name of the store or other necessary information must be installed properly outside the store at a place easily viewable to the customers even from a distance. The retailer must be extremely cautious about the colour of the paint he chooses for his store. The paint colour can actually set the mood of the customers. The wall colours must be well coordinated with the carpet, floor tiles or the furnitures kept at the store. Dark colours make the room feel small and congested as compared to light and subtle colours. The store must always smell good. Foul smell irritates the consumers and he would walk out of the store in no time. Use room fresheners or aromatic sticks for a pleasant environment. The merchandise must be properly placed in display racks or shelves according to size and gender. Put necessary labels (size labels) on the shelves as it help the customers to

locate the products easily. Make sure the product do not falls off the shelves as it gives a messy look. The dummies should be intelligently placed and must highlight the unique collections, latest trends and new arrivals in order to catch the attention of the individual. The dummies should not act as an obstacle and should never be kept at the entrance of the store. Dont play blaring music at the store. It acts as a hindrance to effective communication and the retailer can never understand what the buyer actually intends to buy. Select the theme of the store according to the season. Red should be the dominating colour during Christmas or Valentines Day as the colour symbolizes love, fun and frolic. A white theme would look out of place during the season of love. Dont keep unnecessary furniture as it gives a cluttered look to the store.
Why Visual Merchandising?

Visual Merchandising helps the customers to easily find out what they are looking for. It helps the customers to know about the latest trends in fashion. The customer without any help can actually decide what he intends to buy. It increases the sales of the store and results in increased level of customer satisfaction. The customers can quickly decide what all they need and thus visual merchandising makes shopping a pleasant experience. Visual merchandising gives the store its unique image and makes it distinct from others.