How to beat the Internet with Visual Merchanding

Visual Merchanding is an interesting topic.

Multi-channel retailing is here and it is here to stay.  Instore, over the phone, phone and mobile are the rapidly becoming standard practice.

As part of this discussion the internet is grabbing more away from the High Streets and squeezing pressure onto independent retailers.

But, despite all the benefits that internet shopping offers.  It just cannot compete with visual merchandising.

Take the latest designs from the major online retail stores; John Lewis, Debenhams, Itunes and Amazon.  Current internet design very much leans towards the simple approach.  So the theory’s goes, that  simplicity wins over in the battle between conversions and the brief attention  span of internet shoppers.  Take away any distraction from the crucial internet purchase and the ‘Buy now’ button will surely be pressed.

But Visual Merchandising takes a wholly different approach.  It tries to capture your attention in a way that no other medium can.

Take, for example, hats.  Which of the following examples is the more appealing.

Source: The Shelf Life | Rena Tom / retail strategy, trends and inspiration for creative businesses

Or how about this brilliant image of the Fred Perry Store. Again from Rena Tom’s website. This store just looks terrific. And all that’s on the ground and dried leaves. What a brilliant idea.

And when it comes to the humble checkout till, look at these two. An online version or a brilliantly simple and well executed children’s drawing of a checkout display.

Now, I understand the argument that it is unfair to compare both.  Busy lives, price sensitivity as conspire against shopping on the high street.   All true.  But, if you are looking at customer loyalty and trying to encourage shoppers back and potential away from the online players then you need to capture their attentions in a way they you may not have done before.

After all who really wants to compete on price.

So when I see a great display to, at the very least makes me stop and look.

So what is Visual merchandising.

Well Wikipedia describes it are the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximise sales.

I was recently on Jonathan Bakers’s blog.  He recently wrote about the 10 Commendments of Visual Mercahndising.

  1. Thou shalt encourage localised creativity
  2. Thou shalt put the fun back into schemes
  3. Thou shalt communicate to our audience
  4. Thou shalt maintain retail standards
  5. Thou shalt not use live animals in windows
  6. Thou shalt keep informed about current trends in Visual Merchandising
  7. Thou shalt continue to develop the use of digital technology
  8. Though shalt not use motifs
  9. Thou shalt continue to support Visual Merchandisers
  10. Thou shalt have a fantastic 2013

Check out the full article here

If you are short of ideas on how to spruce up your shop displays take a look at Pinterest, they have some really interesting examples of what is possible.