In a previous post, I defined visual merchandising (VM) as the science and art of organizing and displaying products in a retail space. We also noted that visual merchandising is crucial to the success of a retail store because it largely defines both the employee experience (EX) as well as the customer experience (CX), all of which have resounding effects on the overall success of the brand.

Now the question is, okay by now I know what VM is, and that I need it, but how do I begin the journey, what are the areas I need to improve on? Here are 8 ways our consulting experts help improve visual merchandising for retail outlets industry:

  1. Extensively research your market
    The quickest way to fail is to conduct business, to the magnitude of running a retail store without enough data to advise your decisions. We cannot overemphasize the importance of making data-driven decisions that are informed by your target audience or market, so that whatever interventions you invest in actually deliver a reasonable fair return on investment (ROI). Otherwise, you will run out of your marketing ideas and budget soon. 

We help our clients conduct in-depth research and create concepts that resonate with the data, which are then implemented in the context of visual appearance. For instance, if a client’s ideal customer is a parent, a good upgrade of the store may include incorporating images of smiling children and families, to radiate positive energy. Due to the importance of informed decision in implementing visual merchandising, market research is becoming an increasingly important field.

  1. Promote digital engagement at every chance
    As we mentioned earlier in the article as well as in the article, how your visual merchandising strategy influences customer experience in retail stores, customer and employee experience is all about the perceptions customers and employees form while interacting with your brand. To stay in control of the experience, retail managers need to ensure they engage their people in the most sensational way possible, using futuristic and realistic technology so as to exemplify creativity and thoughtfulness. 

Such include interactive displays and high technology such as the lift-and-learn display technology or the use of holograms among others.

  1. Boost customer and employee safety
    You will never be able to create a memorable customer and employee experience until you become intentional about the safety and security of your customers and employees, whether physically or digitally. We all want to care as little as possible about obvious things such as whether our vehicles are safe in your parking space while we are shopping, or whether my phone is safe, and even whether I will break my bones as I walk through your sleek floors. 

    Digital safety and the use and security of data collected from customers and employees is an important aspect contributing to your customer experience and employee experience, and one that has gained a lot of international and industry attention.
  1. Consult only the best strategists
    I always say there is no guarantee of success in the modern world, because for as long as we remain mortal human beings, whatever hopes, wishes and predictions we have are prone to failure, even with the best predictive technology. That said, there is the importance of having an outsider’s perspective, because the best you can do is to work with the best in order to prepare for the worst while delivering the best currently, then hoping for the best in future. 

Instead of wasting time and money trying what someone can do for you and achieve a much higher return on investment (ROI), be open and willing to get them to advise you on how to do it right. By the way, visual merchandising is not just about making your store look pretty, you need to make sure the beauty leads to memorable customer and employee experiences, which help you acquire and retain the best customers and employees.

  1. Use visual merchandising to inform marketing decisions
    Like we’ve just mentioned, it is not just about making your store look pretty, it is about creating experiences that sell. You need to maintain a very clear and strategic balance between the look and feel of your store, in relation to its return on investment. It makes no strategic sense to invest all your time and money into a project that gives insignificant return in investments now and in the future, of course unless your strategic goal is to escort your business to its untimely death.

    Read more: 6 strategies to acquire customers and keep them delighted
  1. Stay up to date with trends
    Thanks to digitization and the input of genius consulting experts, you can now stay updated and move with the trends. In an age where we are all in the know thanks to digitization, you cannot afford to be left alone in the darkness. You have got to keep your policies, systems, processes and even products up to date. 

If you remain in the past, everyone will desert you as they look for newer progressive customer experiences or employee experiences. We all have one chance to live and enjoy life, and no one wants to be left out, so stop making your employees and customers feel left out.

  1. Test merchandising variations and be consistent with what you pick
    The thing with visual merchandising, and all other marketing strategies for that matter is that since it is based on the human mind, and the human mind is progressive, then the strategies must be progressive, meaning that the strategies must conform to periodic changes as time goes by, otherwise, you will run into obsoleteness. Invest wisely knowing in a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years, you will not successfully run away from change.

    In order to decide on the most effective visual merchandising strategies, you can test variations in layout, color schemes, signage and displays and collect feedback on what works best. The variations should be close enough to avoid causing perceptual confusion. Some of the metrics to look at while analyzing the performance of the variations include, sales performance as well as traffic to the store/ store section.
  2. Inspiring thematic marketing
    Failure to conform to thematic schemes is more like presenting yourself to the dance floor, only to be successful at dancing off the rhythm- it makes no sense. Themes can include seasonal themes such as Christmas holiday themes, Easter holiday, independence day and even other industry related or world themes, as well as promotional and organizational themes. The use of such themes should be consistent, so that the human mind can process them and begin to perceive them positively, towards a memorable customer experience.
    These themes are applicable both in brick-and-mortar retail outlets as well as on digital retail outlets. Such themes can be as simple as getting the color coordination right, the arrangement/ placement of products, the layout of the store and even the checkout process among others.

Having explored these simple effective strategies in visual merchandising, the ball falls in your court. You can choose to start your journey to creating a memorable customer and employee experience today, or you can wait until you have no option but to do so or run out of business.

Talk to our experts today, or ask us any questions about visual merchandising.

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