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Visual Merchandising Tips

Gary Petz

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Visual impact is a huge component of retail merchandising. Customers entering a store are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in the first split second. One simple visual element, such as color, 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. Here are 5 visual merchandising tips to help you maximize your efforts.

1. Display sale products in a creative way. When building a product display look for products that are natural add-ons to the main product featured. A great visual merchandising tip for a grocery store: Build an end cap special on tomato soup, but don't just stop with the soup, get creative. Merchandise the entire end cap with tomato soup then place a shelf at eye level displaying brightly colored soup bowls as an add-on sale item. Visually the display would have a repeating label accented by one ribbon shelf of bowls. This is good visual merchandising practice and great way to increase margin.

2. Use accent lighting to feature products. Customers are drawn to light. Lighting can make products shine and bring colors to life. Using this visual merchandising tip to wash a display wall with light will enhance any product. Accent lighting creates visual interest for shoppers, and magically puts products in their sight. Once a product has captured a customer's attention the odds are increased that a purchase is at hand. This visual merchandising tip will impact your customers and your profits.

3. Change displays weekly. This visual merchandising tip reminds us that customers want to see new and different products. There is an aspect of entertainment and education that customers appreciate when stores change their displays. Stores that don't change their displays weekly will have customers simply walking past displays that are no longer fresh. If the customers have seen the same end cap for the last six weeks, the displays are no longer new or relevant to them. These stores will not reap the potential rewards of incremental or add-on sales and can lose out to their competition. If the competitor down the street is constantly and creatively changing their visuals, there is a good chance shoppers will gravitate to that store.

4. Color matters. Visual merchandising tips like this one are at the core of any solid merchandising plan. Color can demand a shopper's attention, evoke emotion and influence decisions. Your merchandising plan should include bright colors not only for displays or end caps, but also for the middle of aisle runs. Visually painting your store with colorful focal points will help draw shoppers to those key areas.

5. Merchandising themes Themes group products together for a powerful visual message. Theme merchandising is a fun way to communicate seasonal activities or other information. If your store is a hardware store, use garden gloves, flower bulbs, decorative pots, hand gardening tools, and potting soil to get your sales started for spring. Outdoor grilling displays are great themes for grocery stores and home centers. Backyard chefs will be attracted to every item in your display. Themes connect customers to projects or activities, and as a result, connect their spending to your profits.

Gary Petz - At Discovery-Based Retail we help retailers make more money. Visit our website and find out how. and


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