A Visual Merchandising Guide for Retailers | shop4pop.com
A Visual Merchandising Guide for Retailers

A Visual Merchandising Guide for Retailers

As a retailer, you’ll be well aware of how competitive the space in which you’re operating can be. From price matching and customer satisfaction to staff retention and hitting internal targets, there are a number of challenges facing retailers on a daily basis.

In a bid to help you harness the power of visual merchandising, we’ve put together a handy guide to designing your store; from your window display right through to the checkout.

What does visual merchandising in retail mean?

Retail merchandising is the process of promoting the sale of products, and visual merchandising in retail focuses on presenting products and brands in the most attractive and interesting way – in order to enhance the buying experience and encourage customers to make a purchase.

From enticing passing-trade through the doors to highlighting the key features of a particular product, harnessing visual merchandising techniques can boost both footfall and in-store profit, so taking the time to make your store and stock seem as desirable as possible will soon pay off. In the world of retail, visual merchandising techniques utilise the product and packaging design, price, product selection and display design to make a particular brand or service appeal to the consumer.

Tapping into visual merchandising techniques

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The demands of the different sections of a brick-and-mortar store will mean a diverse range of
visual merchandising techniques should be employed across the store. From getting creative with colour to positioning end caps at the point of sale, maximising the aesthetic appeal throughout a store will enhance the shopping experience and drive sales success.

  • End caps: standing out from the competition improves the likelihood of a consumer choosing the product, and that’s why an attention grabbing display at the end of an aisle is so effective in retail merchandising. As consumers make their way through the aisles, an eye-catching FSDU will attract their attention, meaning you can push a premium brand or encourage add-on sales by cross-merchandising with different products
  • Micro-merchandising: aisle space can often seem uninvolving for shoppers, so drawing attention to certain products with visually arresting signs and shelving fixtures will encourage the customer to stop and take a look at what’s on offer
  • Creative themes: grouping products means retailers can use cross-merchandising tactics to extend their range of merchandise on display, and different seasons and special events offer a timely opportunity to utilise this technique. From snacks to themed mugs and keyrings, themed merchandise will appeal to impulse buyers and encourage additional in-store spending
  • Technology: the digital age has no doubt enhanced the shopping experience, and that’s why so many retailers are dedicated to incorporating the most innovative technology into their store. Contactless systems are responsible for creating a seamless purchasing process, but it’s the concept of the touch-screen tablet that allows customers to learn more about products and services – making your store even more appealing

Utilising effective merchandising techniques

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When it comes to designing visual merchandising displays, adhering to the tried-and-tested techniques can ensure the success of your efforts. Carefully considering colour schemes and choosing catchy slogans will improve the aesthetic appeal of a customisable display, but channelling these in-store marketing techniques will take your display to new levels of success.

  • Rule of three: studies show that we find things that come in threes far more satisfying and memorable than any other number, so it’s no surprise that channeling the rule of three can dramatically improve the appeal of a visual merchandising display. As well as creating an asymmetrical design that will draw the customer’s attention, arranging products in a set of three means price-conscious customers will easily be able to spot which item offers the best value
  • Promoting price tags: lowering price points for a limited-time special offer can often drive sales success, but in order for the hefty discounts to be worthwhile, it’s crucial that retailers increase the sales-volume during the campaign. Showing off any special offers will attract the attention of passers-by, and bargain-hunters won’t be able to resist walking away with a one-off deal
  • Pyramid: shopping psychology suggests that texture is crucial when it comes to designing an attractive display. The symmetry of the pyramid will evoke a sense of organisation in the customer’s mind – which consumers will assimilate with a convenient shopping experience – meaning they’re far more likely to return in the future

How to merchandise a retail store

Adopting visual merchandising techniques for your brick-and-mortar store will attract the gaze of passing trade, and an effective retail merchandising campaign will increase product-appeal and drive overall in-store sales. When it comes to looking at how to use visual merchandising in-store, retailers will need to pay attention to the more practical principles – as well as ensuring that products are advertised in the most aesthetically pleasing way.

    • Regularly update displays: well executed visual merchandising will keep customers coming back for more – and that means it’s crucial that retailers add variety to the store layout by rotating displays around the store and ensuring that promotional goods are relevant to the current season
    • Appeal to desires, not needs: shopping habits show that consumers intend to shop for only things that they actually need, and that’s why retailers use visual merchandising techniques to encourage additional in-store spending. Whether that means showing off an ingenious product that the customer never knew that they ‘needed’ or highlighting the unique features of a more expensive brand, more often than not, selecting the most desirable products for a display will boost the average consumer spend.
    • Keep track of success: a poorly stocked retail display is any retailer’s worst nightmare, and that’s because your efforts will attract consumers and leave them disappointed when they can’t get their hands on the products. Monitoring which products and locations are selling well means you can work out what techniques are working best – and adapt the strategy to continue driving sales
    • Add appeal with price tags: when it comes to products that are desirable – rather than crucial – price will always play an important part in the consumer’s buying decision. Whether it’s a limited-time only price promotion or you’re pushing a new product on the market, an easily-accessible price tag will increase the appeal for those thriftier customers


Incorporating eye-catching visuals into each aspect of the store layout is crucial for making the most of retail merchandising. As the customer makes their way through the store, the needs and demands of the consumer will change, and that means it’s crucial for retailers to adapt their visual merchandising to suit each section of the store.

1. Retail window displays

retail window displays

Along with your shop name, your store windows are one of the first things your customers will see. For impulse buyers in particular, their decision to enter your store can be hugely influenced by your window graphics – so it’s crucial that plenty of time is put into creating a suitable design. For major retailers, their window displays often change with the seasons – and smaller stores can follow their lead by making tweaks to their window designs without exceeding any budgets.

Your retail window displays can be designed using products that are already in store – with budget-friendly window signs being switched out to suit the season or highlight promotional offers. For smaller stores that don’t have the budget for a marketing manager, choose a member of staff with an eye for design and put them in charge of window dressing. From window clings and signs to posters and promotional displays, your window design can really make an impact – so make sure you’re using this space effectively.

2. Accessibility in the entrance

shop entrance display

While your windows can be used to advertise longer running promotions, flash sales can also be a great way to bring in customers. From staff handing out flyers outside of your store to posters at the front of the shop highlighting any timely sales, use the entrance of your store wisely. Your customers have already made the decision to enter your store, now you need to think of ways to increase their spend-per-visit.
When designing your store, keep in mind that customers are looking for an easy shopping experience. From easy-to-read offers to accessible shopping baskets and trolleys, you should be aiming to make their visit to your store run as smoothly as possible. If a customer has to travel into the heart of your store before they find a shopping basket, they’ll be less likely to pick up products along the way. Arming customers with baskets from the moment they enter the store is an easy way to give impulse purchases a boost.

3. Practical aisle design

shop ailse design

Planning the customer journey is a key part of a retailer’s job, and to get a feel of the path they’re likely to travel, it’s a good idea to follow this route through the store yourself. Strategically placed dump bins scattered around your store can bring attention to any special offers or promotions – stopping customers as they pass by. While you don’t want your store to appear cluttered with a dump bin at the end of every aisle, you also want to avoid empty promotional display units and bare shelves.
From placing them in high traffic areas to fully stocking your dump bins, for shops, this can be the difference between a small or substantial sale at the checkout. Product placement plays a key role in how much customers spend-per-visit. Positioning fast moving goods out of reach is guaranteed to lose your store revenue. Flexible cardboard dump bins can be situated around your store and moved with ease when promotions change.

4. Targeting the till point

With your customers’ journey almost complete, the checkout is your final chance to influence any last minute purchases. A customised point of sale display can be used to promote any products your customers are likely to need at the last minute. A flexible free standing display unit (FSDU) can be moved around the till point to give your customers easy access to those final purchases and boost your sales at the checkout.

Retail display stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be customised to suit individual businesses and promotions. From your POS displays to window stickers for shops, if you’re ready to discuss your visual merchandising needs, we’d love to hear from you! Give us a call today on 0191 419 8655 or send us a message with your query.


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