In a highly competitive market with consumers watching their wallets, it pays to make your instore experience as enticing and engaging as possible. As Mark Davis reports, creative visual merchandising is the key to this. What’s more, it needn’t cost a lot of money, and if you’re plugged in to online networking, it has the potential to turbo-charge your business.
An expert and trainer in all things retail, business coach Mark Davis divides his time between Australia and Europe, traversing the globe to share his retail, sales, business and Internet marketing insights.
Great displays are an art form. For many years they’ve been the domain of window dressers, merchandisers, company reps and strategic designers. But given the current move to cost cutting, retailers now have to improvise, using their imagination and the tools immediately available. For many this is less about having enough merchandise, or risers, or stands and racks… and more about creativity. In all likelihood it’s also about leveraging the power of that little thing called social media.
A display that grabs customers’ attention, be they old or new, and tempts them to take more interest in the rest of the store, is a powerful motivator to get them to stick around, hopefully for long enough to buy! Just as a good website encourages users to click and browse, the key merchandise displays in your store are there to grab attention and engage with customers.
In some cases, people will often make the journey to a destination just to see stand-out visual merchandising. Be it a mountain of teddy bears and tigers in the Disney Stores or an eye-catching seasonal display, a destination or feature merchandising ‘moment’ can be the thing that makes your store a must-see in your town, city or suburb. Department stores’ Christmas window displays are a good example of this, but there’s no reason to limit creativity to Yuletide.
And take note; social media has given good visual merchandisingan exponential power boost. People love to take photos and put themselves up on Facebook, whether it’s next to a living Statue of Darth Vader on Hollywood Blvd, or beside the logo of the store they just shopped in. They hold up bags, they pose, and they promote your store for you. If someone poses with your stock items, in your store, with your staff, next to your renowned merchandising display, then posts the photo to Facebook, you get 100 to 1000 free advertising shots.
And it doesn’t end there. Offer to be the photographer for them, take three or four snaps, from which they can create a mini-shopping album, and you get even more photos online. Ask them to add your business to Facebook, and you can tag your store as well!
So, to re-cap:-
• Create a merchandise display people want to be photographed beside and tell their friends about.
• Encourage photos.
• Tag people in photos including your Facebook profile.
• Get creative. Have competitions, prizes and offers for all your Facebook friends.
Never forget that the fusion of visual merchandising and social media creates an unbeatable way of driving more business into your store. Good luck with designing that display!
Images: Sportsgirl (left), Anthropologie – US (right)