Visual merchandising

by Emmanuel Ediau +256 772354188, +256 702354188


1. Define Visual Merchandising. 2. Describe who uses Visual Merchandising 3. Articulate the various Visual Merchandising Design Elements.


Unit 1: Visual Merchandising: An Introduction


Visual Merchandising
• • • Defined:
– The physical presentation of products

Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. Passion for design and creativity are essential to be a good visual merchandiser. Awareness of happenings in the fashion world is needed in order to keep up-to-date with the dynamics of the market constantly. Creating an attractive product display can draw the customer in, promote a slow-moving item, announce a sale, or welcome a season. If your store front is fortunate enough to feature one or more windows, then you have one of the most proven (and least expensive) forms of advertising at your disposal.

Its not just about window displays
– Store design, planning, store and department identification, traffic control, store layout, space/ sales analysis, fixturing, window displays, interior concept/ design, and display research, signs, POS, sales promotions etc.

“Visual presentation has an advantage over broadcast and print advertisements… over 60% of all women get their clothing ideas from store displays.”
Martin Pegler (Author of Visual Merchandising and display. 2006)

Who uses VM
• Retailers:
– Make merchandising desirable – Make merchandise easy to locate in the store – Introduce and explain new products – Promotes store image – Entice customers into the store – Show merchandise assortment

…‘the eyes of the store’
• Window:
– – – – The window is also know as the eyes to the interior of the store Reinforce brand image Introduce brand/ product line to new or existing customers Strengthen traffic and sales

– Types of windows:
Closed back • Advantage:
– Less background distractions

• Disadvantage:
– Could appear as a barrier, Intimidating

Open back; • Advantage:
– Customer can see into the store

• Disadvantage:
– Distraction from store merchandise – Cant use screens, curtains, banners, plants etc

VM design elements
• Colour
– – – – – Can immediately create a mood Lighting: Should accent focal point, if possible Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as colour, can catch a shopper's attention and also greatly affect their mood. In today's ultra competitive market place it is of paramount importance that retailers understand the basics of visual merchandising. A right choice of colours in the display can turn walkers into stoppers and significantly convert them into customers. It is therefore mandatory to choose the right colour for the right theme of display.

– – – – Surface treatment or feel Smooth surfaces appear lighter Textured surfaces appear darker Can be suggestive:
• Feminine versus masculine

• Line
– Vertical: Strength, height, pride, dignity – Horizontal: Easy going, restful – Curved: Grace, charm, feminine – Diagonal: Action, force, strong

• Balance
– Symmetrical: Formal – Asymmetrical: Informal/ often more interesting

• Dominance:
– By colour, size or position – Attracts the eye first – Usually the merchandise

• Contrast:
– Show a sharp difference between objects – Can use colour or texture

– Relationship of size, scale, or weight – Baby shoes next to a huge teddy bear??? – Attracts attention – Promote and idea or look
• Fragile versus weak

– Movement from element to element – From dominant object to subordinate object – Use of line, colour, lighting – Circular – Triangle

– Colour, line, shape – Creates importance and dominance

Window examples…

Case study....


• Clarity of thought : The window display focuses on the women wear and accessories specially for the sports. • Creativity : The tagline being used is quite motivating for women of this era and would assure her that anything is possible. The straight mannequins also suggest forcefulness and rigidness of the women’s attitude. The colour used in the background is blue signifying the cool and sporty look.

• Effectiveness : The display of upside down women signifies the freedom and independency of women which will motivate them to walk in the store. • Why did it work : It forces female customers to ponder what the store holds for them.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer
• Clarity of thought : The window display clearly shows that the sale season is going on for the apparels and accessories offered by the store. • Creativity : The red color is used to indicate sale period which can be discovered from a far distance. Red colour is psychologically attached to the customers; it portrays excitement/ impulse purchase decisions.

Marks & Spencer
• Effectiveness : A customer interested would surely walk-in to avail the discounts as the display is shouting out for the sale season. • Why did it work : The entire display used the red color tints and shades indicating sales period & also providing an opportunity to avail extra reduction. The big banners as well as mannequins wearing similar t-shirts talking about sale are also very helpful.

• Look beyond and read between the lines… • What are artists doing?
– Art instillations…

Could this be a source of inspiration.
– Competitors… – Trends… Fashion/ Lifestyle





Top 10 VM trends: A/W 10: •Luxury - it won't go away •The new thrift sits with green and eco-retailing •A return to local values •People looking for meaning in what they buy •Visual merchandising - doing more with less •Visual merchandising - a return to handcrafting •Greater emotional connections with shoppers at all levels •Don't be global - think local, act local

WGSN VM trends:
• New Nostalgia: Glamorous looks are restrained by wartime austerity as humble and
luxury walk hand in hand.

• Highlander: The modern manor breathes new life into dusty
• heritage looks

• Country Grunge: Traditional country styling is distressed
• and destroyed with gothic and grunge overtones.

• Earthbound: Natural evolution sees weather-worn, decayed and scarred surfaces
inspire chunky knits and geological print directions

• 80s Power: Sharply structured dressing makes a powerful statement in the
• face of economic downturn

• 80s Cocktail: Indulgence directs this party wear trend, flying
• • in the face of economic misery. Shimmering fabrics and dramatic 80s styling creates a look designed for hard partying.

• Biker Body-con: Building on the season's overriding
• • mood of power and anarchy, the Biker Body-con look draws on punk and rock influences

• Warrior Goddess: The warrior influences span time and space, referencing
gladiators, medieval knights and galactic invaders.


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