When entering a retail store, customers know that there are a lot of advertisements and information about the products that are fighting for their attention. We often know what products are alluring them into the store, but unknowingly it’s the store’s visuals that entice them to walk in.
Other than an impactful sales strategy, Visual Merchandising is also a way through which retailers can make customers focus on specific products, make them explore around the store, wow them with interactive displays and more. All of this to lead them to the check out but only after enticing them to buy one last product from the checkout counter.
The difference between stores from where a customer makes repeat purchases and from where they don’t buy anything at all and that difference is mostly related to well strategized Visual Merchandising. Here are the common mistakes which retailers should avoid during VM Implementation:
1. Poor Store Housekeeping
Even if a retailer has invested a huge sum of money in creating the fanciest of displays but the store premise and merchandise display is not well maintained, then it sends a message of bad service and quality to the customers. Imagine outdated and expired products on shelves, wrappers from packaging trashed on floor, dusty and torn packaging of products, how badly it will tear the image of the brand and the retailer. Hence, it’s imperative to do proper housekeeping and take care of obvious things like dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the windows along with signages, props, products as well as billing counters.
2. Lack of consideration of the target customer and product price points
The entire exercise of implementing Visual Merchandising will not bear any fruits if a retailer will not take the time to understand the customers buying behaviour, what products they are buying and if they are repeat customers. It will also be a good idea to analyse demographic data like customer’s age, gender, income etc.
Usually, high ticket products are placed on a distance so that shelves don’t look stuffed and gives an understanding to the customers that the product is premium and has its own space to be viewed. Also, retailers think that more merchandise will lead to more sales, but in reality they don’t understand that the customer will find it difficult to find the items he wants to purchase.
3. Not getting your window displays right
Window display in retail stores is one of the most important elements of visual merchandising and thus it should be used to its full potential. Imagine a well-designed store but hardly has any footfall because the window display has no information about the products, posters are bad quality and in general the window doesn’t look enticing for customers to walk in. It’s crucial to find the perfect balance of grabbing eyeballs without getting overwhelming for the customers.
More often than not, displays go unnoticed when they are one dimensional, hence choosing a focal point is a must so that it doesn’t look too messy or occupied. Overfilling the windows should also be discouraged as they do more harm than good.
4. Not buying for your business but pleasing customers
It is a big mistake if a retailer is buying merchandise to please a customer or because a display is successful somewhere else, but is neither in line with his business vision nor fits his business model. As a result of incorrect buying, the product might not fit in the existing set up of the store and might look out of place, confusing the customer at the same time.
5. Inconvenient for Sales Staff to use
How much ever thought and creativity would have gone into planning visual merchandising for a store, if a store’s sales team isn’t able to install and execute Visual merchandising, everything goes in vain. It’s an absolute must that the brand’s vision is reasonably executable by the store team.
6. Distracting Signage
It’s true that displays with signs get 20 percent more traction than those without but it’s also true that overload of signage can have an alternate effect.
Retailers should keep in mind to not use aggressive signages so that they don’t steal the attention away from the product which will give the look of a cluttered store, cheap inventory and making customers uncomfortable. To avoid this, in-store signage should be used to enhance a display, not to overwhelm customers.
Sometimes there are unattractive displays which are hard to read and those result in a poor shopping experience for the customers, leading to very less chances of return visits.
7. Too Little or Too Much Product
If the shelves and racks look empty, customers are bound to think that the retailer doesn’t have a good selection and can’t estimate his sales. Customers expect stores to be well stocked so that they know that the store can be relied upon the next time as well when they want to make a purchase. However, stuffing products on a shelf can also leave customers feeling overwhelmed. Thus, a plan should be formulated to avoid either of the situations.
Remember – Choice is good, but neither clutter nor insubstantial is !
8. Not allowing negative empty space
Cramping products and displays into every inch of the store is another mistake which retailers do thinking of maximising the use of the store space. But it’s very important to have white (negative space) in the store so that there is no overload of information for customers and they are able to absorb the visuals around the store.
9. Lack of continuity in visual merchandising
Oftentimes retailers make the mistake of not continuing the theme of the magnificent displays and eye-catching signs about the promotions and discounts inside the store. The idea of course is that once customers have entered the store, they buy. To make sure that happens, products promoted outside should be easily accessible inside.
10. Outdated Displays
If the displays aren’t changed based on the frequency of regular customers, they might appear stale and give an impression that merchandise is stale as well creating an image that the store is outdated.
Retailers should make the most of Visual Merchandising and avoid these common mistakes. If done right, it is an effective way to increase sales and it can happen by enabling customers to walk around the store comfortably and to pick the items they want to buy in a welcoming environment.
The layout, appearance and visual personality of a retail store are just as important as the products in the store. It’s not easy to implement VM strategy from the beginning and thus it can be a daunting process. But with apps like Wooqer’s Visual Merchandising Implementation app, it can help retailers avoid the above mentioned mistakes as well as enable the retailers to implement VM efficiently and consistently. All retail Visual Merchandisers need is some vigilance and Wooqer app to be able to audit everything related to VM implementation.