Influence of Visual Merchandising on Consumer

Discussion in 'CAT / MBA INDIA Forum' started by krishna, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. krishna

    krishna Banned


    The retailing sector, an important agribusiness option, is witnessing a paradigm shift having long-term implications on the way food retailing will evolve in the emerging economies like India. The organized food retail industry in India is still at the infancy stage with a share of less than one per cent in the total food retail market, in spite of the fact that food is the largest component in the consumer's spending basket. Retailers are trying to capture a larger share of consumer's spending by expanding their product portfolio. The share of private labels in the basket of key food retailers is also increasing, with in-house brands competing fiercely with well-established brands. Further, with the opening of supermarkets and international corporate groups are quickly grabbing investment opportunities in the Indian retail sector and the quantum of investments is likely to skyrocket. Amidst this competition where products and quality will be almost similar, the only point of differentiation will be the 'experience' that the consumers will get while shopping. The biggest role of providing the shoppers with an unforgettable experience will be that of visual merchandising. In the present competition the retailers are leaving no stone unturned to gain the loyalty of the consumer. One bad experience, the loyal consumer is gone for good. This not only imply assuring good shopping experience every time a consumer enters a store, but also to retain them by ensuring an impressive visual treat. We get one chance to create the first everlasting impression. This would either create a loyal consumer or would eliminate their chance of ever stepping into the store again. A store that projects a different image and branding definitely gains in the long term. With this competition in the retailing, only merchandise and the brand name of the retailer would not help eliminate the competitors. Instead, more attention and fine detailing needs to be done in terms of designing the store, visual merchandising in the store, competitiveness in pricing, availability of products, etc.

    In this information laden consumer world, shoppers are increasingly asking for better and newer products. Most of the times, the consumer is more knowledgeable than the store employees. With the above facts a successful retailing business requires that a distinct and consistent image be created in the customer's mind that permeates all product and service offerings. Visual merchandising is the answer for raising the bar of what retailers and the store employee should know. Visual merchandising can take the retail experience to a different level. Visual merchandising can help create that positive customer image that leads to successful sales. It not only communicates the store's image, but also reinforces the stores advertising efforts and encourages impulse buying by the customer. Visual merchandising is a major factor often overlooked in the success or failure of a retail store. It is second only to effective customer relations.

    What is Visual Merchandising?

    Visual merchandising can be defined as everything the customer sees, both exterior and interior, that creates a positive image of a business and results in attention, interest, desire and action on the part of the consumer. A story can be told that communicates to the prospective customer what the store is all about. It includes the dramatic presentation of merchandise as well as other important, subtle features that create the store's overall atmosphere. Visual merchandising is the art of implementing effective design ideas to increase store traffic and sales volume. VM is an art and science of displaying merchandise to enable maximum sale. VM is a tool to achieve sales and targets, a tool to enhance merchandise on the floor, and a mechanism to communicate to a customer and influence his decision to buy. VM uses season based displays to introduce new arrivals to customers, and thus increase conversions through a planned and systematic approach by displaying stocks available.

    Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets (New Oxford Dictionary of English, 1999, Oxford University Press). This includes combining products, environments, and spaces into a stimulating and engaging display to encourage the sale of a product or service. Visual merchandising is not a mere arrangement of products but goes deeper and wider into the essence of physicality of the store (Davies and Ward, 2005). It has become such an important element in retailing that a team effort involving the senior management, architects, merchandising managers, buyers, the visual merchandising director, designers, and staff is needed. Eighty percent of our impressions are created by sight; that is why one picture is worth a thousand words (Bastow-Shoop et al., 1991). Each customer has a mental image of a store and its merchandise. A store should have an inviting appearance that makes the customer feel comfortable and yet eager to buy.

    Visual merchandising starts with the store building itself. The management decides on the store design to reflect the products the store is going to sell and how to create a warm, friendly, and approachable atmosphere for its potential customers. Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays including color, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs (such as smell, touch, and sound), as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations.

    It is more like an art in the sense that there are implicit rules but they may be broken for striking effects. The main principle of visual merchandising is that it is intended to increase sales, which is not the case with a "real" art. Visual merchandising is one of the final stages in trying to set out a store in a way that customers will find attractive and appealing and it should follow and reflect the principles that underpin the store's image. Visual merchandising is the way one displays 'goods for sale' in the most attractive manner with the end purpose of making a sale. "If it does not sell, it is not visual merchandising."

    Recently visual merchandising has gained in importance as a quick and cost effective way to revamp retail stores. Traditional levers of competition, such as assortment, service and customer and market segmentation are no longer the buzzword. More people are placing extra emphasis on interior design which has progressed from the shop fitting to entertaining and inspiring the consumers, and hence providing added value to the store. Consumers respond both consciously and unconsciously to visual clues when they visit a store. Visual merchandising is an artistic method to ensure that merchandise sells faster. It's a tool to appeal to the visual senses of the customer. It is gaining popularity with the introduction of self service in retail services. There is increased emphasis on store layout, building, fixtures, equipment, colour displays, silent communication tools and window display. In store displays have taken the art of retailing to a higher level.

    The basic objective for visual merchandising is a desire to attract customers to a place of business in order to sell the merchandise. Visual merchandising is offered to the customer through exterior and interior presentation. Each should be coordinated with the other using the store's overall theme. Creating and maintaining a store's visual merchandising plan, however, is not a simple task. It is necessary to continually determine what the customer sees. The VM from the customer's perspective should start on the exterior and work completely through the interior of the store. The top five tips for visual merchandising are entice, impact, inspire, identify and add on .

    Visual Merchandising helps in

    * Educating the customers about the product/service in an effective and creative way.
    * Establishing a creative medium to present merchandise in 3D environment, thereby enabling long lasting impact and recall value.
    * Setting the company apart in an exclusive position.
    * Establishing linkage between product, product design and marketing by keeping the product in prime focus.
    * Combining the creative, technical and operational aspects of a product and the business.
    * Making it easier for the shopper to locate the desired category and merchandise.
    * Making it easier for the shopper to self-select.
    * Making it possible for the shopper to co-ordinate & accessorize.
    * Informing about the latest trends or offers by highlighting them at strategic locations.
    * Publicises the business.
    * Publicises the product.
    * Lays a foundation for the future sales.
    * Builds prestige.
    * Supports popular trends.
    * Establish, promote, and enhance the store's visual image
    * Harmonises pure business interest with aesthetics.
    * Arouses Interest.
    * Creates Desire.
    * Causes decision to buy.
    * Takes Advantage of highest profile location.
    * Directs and redirects common customer traffic patterns.
    * Introduce and explain new products.
    * Encourage the shopper to enter the store.
    * Entertain customers and enhance their shopping experience.
  2. krishna

    krishna Banned

    Exterior Presentation

    VM begins where the consumer connect first with the store- the exterior of the store. This part sets the tone for a shopper's experience. The quality of a store front is a major determinant for a customer, particularly a new customer, and should not be underestimated. The exterior appearance of one store, a block of businesses or a cluster, silently announces what customers can expect inside. Good exterior visual merchandising attracts attention, creates interest and invites the customer into the business. The exterior presentation can offer a conservative, progressive, and lavish or discount image to the customer.

    How a store visually welcomes customers has a lot to do with whether or not they enter the store. Although good prices and positive word-of-mouth advertising is important, it is hard to overcome the negative image of a poor store exterior. When examining a store's exterior, consider the following questions:

    * How do customers locate the business?
    * Are the sidewalks clean, safe and accessible?
    * Are the exterior signs clean, fresh and readable?
    * Does the store front need cleaning, painting or touchup?
    * Are the outside entrances clean and accessible?
    * Are the windows clean, bright and inviting?
    * Are the window display preparation materials such as tape, pins and packaging materials removed?
    * Are the window displays frequently changed?
    * Do the window displays carry a theme?

    The Visual Merchandising tools for exterior presentation are

    1. Exterior Signs.
    2. Awnings.
    3. Walks and entries (Entrance).
    4. Landscaping.
    5. Window displays.

    Exterior Signs; A sign is a silent salesperson, and part of a shopper's first impression of a store. In less than 10 seconds the sign must attract attention, tell who the business is and what it has to sell. An effective sign will communicate what type of business is being conducted. Off-premise signs provide information and direction, especially for travelers and new residents. Signs can also help effectively communicate a poor location. The lettering should be large enough to read from 200 feet. Signs with 8-inch letters can be read from a distance up to 250 feet. A sign's design conveys a great deal about the business inside.

    A stark design and limited materials may suggest discount prices and no frills. Elegant and expensive sign materials may suggest luxury goods and services. Signs may also be used to target a specific market segment such as youth, women, senior citizens, singles, etc. Where many signs compete for consumer's attention, design and logo become even more important. They should be unique, noticeable and readable. When preparing a sign to draw the customer's attention, consider size, shape, materials, lettering, height, placement and structure. For example, among several rectangular signs in close proximity to one another, construct an oval or circular sign that will stand out. Signs with unlit or missing light bulbs, flaking or faded paint, or cracked and peeling backgrounds can hurt the overall store image. A shabby or dilapidated sign implies a lack of concern with the business image, and a sloppy, poorly managed business.

    Signage not only highlights the name of your business, but it also adds visual beauty to the street and streetscape. Signage is a direct indication to store image.

    The signage should be

    * Brief, well-designed, well-lettered and easy-to read signs will convey a feeling of welcome.
    * Design graphics appropriate for the nature of the business, and create a message that is clear and simple.
    * Focus on one or two key words to describe the business. A clean, clear message will have more impact.
    * Signs should be well maintained, and painted every three years or sooner if they weather or fade.
    * A store's sign is its signature. It is personal, original and continuously recognizable to the public. It should create an image that is consistently carried throughout the remainder of the store and its business actions.
    * The lettering should be large enough to read from 200 feet

    Marquees: This special type of sign is used to display the name of a store. An effective marquee must stand out from the other businesses to attract attention. It can be used to announce a change in seasons, a special event or a promotion.

    Banners; Banners are used increasingly as an inexpensive but colorful, eye-catching means of promotion. A new and interesting appearance can be offered by changing the banners frequently. Consumers will think exciting changes are taking place, and be drawn into the store. To provide continuity, the same banner design, reduced in size and scale, can be hung from the marquee and displayed inside the store. However, do not overuse banners because shoppers will stop noticing them. With each new banner, select a different size, shape and color from those previously used .The design concept used on the banners will be more effective if an attempt is made to carry the colors and graphics throughout the store, and on promotional materials and newspaper ads.

    Awnings; Color and appeal can be added to a store's exterior with the use of awnings. They provide the customer with protection from weather and makes viewing the window display more pleasant as it reduces heat, cuts down on glare and reflection, and prevents fading of the merchandise from exposure to the sun. However, an awning in poor condition may do harm by distracting from the total store image. Many businesses are updating their storefronts with new back-lit awning systems. Other names for these may include electric awnings, interior lit canopy signs, and back-lit conventional awnings.

    These modern-looking awnings are used on new as well as older buildings and are usually bright and attractive, especially at night. A variety of styles, exist such as concave, convex, long dome, square and coop style. Most are interior lit with an egg crate type bottom that allows light to shine through and yet will not allow birds, etc. to enter into it. The illuminated awning fabric is a translucent vinyl that comes in a wide variety of colors. The store name is incorporated into it with a translucent (vinyl) film. Sign and awning companies can assist you in selecting and installing the right style, color and design of awning that would be appropriate for your building.

    Walks and Entries (Entrance)

    Approximately 75 percent of first time customers remember a store's entrance, which provides the first and last view of the store's interior. Picture walking up to an expanse of wall whose flat surface is pierced only by a plain glass door, as opposed to the protective feeling offered by walking under a porch or canopy. A properly designed canopy or porch not only protects the customer in bad weather, but can add to the aesthetics of the building. When adding an entryway, be sure it is designed to blend or be consistent with the architecture of the building.

    A cluttered entryway causes shoppers to indefinitely postpone entering a store, while an attractive, well designed entrance is inviting to the customer. Entrances that allow shoppers to come into a store without being aware of their entering, is also becoming more popular. An example is a v-shaped window display that funnels window shopping traffic into the store.

    The entrance to the store leads the customers to the store and merchandise. Stores with selling racks and tables outside the store should always ensure entrance is not blocked. Decorative tile work on the floor of the entrance could reflect the image of the store. At the entry we can put a tropical tree on either side which makes the entrance more attractive. At the counter it is better to keep products that are close substitute or complimentary to the main product. But the counter and the entrance should not be clogged with excessive products.

    Landscaping; Landscaping should lead the customer's eye to the focal point using color and texture to provide contrast and harmony. The focal point is the business sign and/or the building itself. Landscaping can also screen undesirable sights such as garbage receptacles, power transformers and refrigeration equipment.

    The essence of good landscaping is simplicity; simple landscape designs that are easy to maintain. Planters, flower boxes and plants used in front of a store add to the general appearance, regardless of what type of merchandise is being sold. Plants (especially flowering bedding plants) enhance the overall look of the store, and also add to the store's positive reputation in terms of beautifying the community. Planters placed below and in front of a display window actually strengthen the display by adding greater depth to the setting.

    The following guidelines are suggested for stores that have flexibility:

    * Concentrate hardy native tree species in groups at ends of buildings. Plant low-branched trees, along back lot lines to reduce noise and give privacy to buildings.
    * Most shrubs should be planted as individual specimens or in small groups.
    * Hedges may be used at strategic points, such as street corners, where they must be kept low. Preference should be given to species that have an acceptable appearance and height without continuous trimming or pruning.
    * Vines and other ground covers may be useful in shady spots and to protect banks against erosion.
    * Sturdy benches for resting and relaxing can be a part of the landscape and may encourage customers to stay longer. Aesthetically designed and strategically located garbage receptacles for customer use will help keep the grounds free from litter.
  3. krishna

    krishna Banned

    Window Displays: Special emphasis should be placed on a store's window displays because they are the information link to the potential customer. A good window display enhances communication of the product, brand and image. As many as one in every four sales, could be the result of a good window display. Window displays should attract attention, create interest and invite people into the store to purchase goods.

    A retailer's window is the most controllable element in relation to image and must match their merchandise's target demographic. Display Window may communicate style, content, and price point. They can be seductive, exciting or based on emotional stimulus through stimulation, or evocation of all five senses. Another direction taken by retailers who rely on volume sold is price-based selling. These clearly emphasize value for money with easy and obvious ticketing.

    Be careful not to crowd too much merchandise into a window, as customers find it difficult to determine the message and what items are being promoted. Shoppers also lose interest when the same window display is left up too long. It is especially important to frequently change window displays in small towns where customers pass by several times a week. New displays indicate that new, up-to-date merchandise is available.

    Properly lighted window displays can help sell specific products or ideas that promote a store's image. Window lights should be strong enough to overcome the reflections from outside objects, such as parked cars and buildings. At night, additional lights on overhead marquees and projecting cornices can make the window area look larger. Closed-back windows require a high level of general illumination. Massed window displays are often lighted with overhead fluorescents which are supplemented by closely spaced clear incandescent lamps. Use miniature portable spotlights to accent small display areas, price cards and specific items in a massed display. Compact footlights help relieve shadows near the bottom of vertical displays.

    Window displays are more successful when a dominate theme is carried throughout the display, regardless of whether the featured products are fashion-oriented, institutional or promotional in nature.

    Suggested window treatments that have proven successful include:

    * A single object against seamless paper.
    * Merchandise displayed as it would be utilized in a realistic setting.
    * A theatrical setting using fantasy and drama.
    * Straight merchandise glamorized with props.
    * Animation, such as in holiday windows that draws crowds of shoppers.
    * The use of sculpture, paintings or art objects for a touch of class.
    * Media tie-ins, with current area activities, films, stars or best selling books.

    Window displays should be in harmony with the entire surroundings. When planning a window display consider the building facade, street, people and their perceptions, color harmony, lighting and viewing angle

    How to get maximum impact of Retail display window? To obtain maximum impact follow the simple ways mentioned below;

    1. Keep it simple. Too many graphics, too many messages translate as clutter. Make sure that your window message can be understood quickly from afar and that it is memorable enough to be noticed.
    2. Be relevant to your customer and season.
    3. Have a window display strategy on visibility. Are they open windows to see through to the retail inside? Or shadow box windows with a promotional graphic backdrop? Interactive? Defining the type of window display can make future maintenance easier and help to lay the groundwork for display limitations.
    4. Think in stories.
    5. Have a third window. If you don't have room to envelope multiple areas with the window message, make sure to have a third window that is focal, as you walk into the store.

    Interior Presentation

    Selling space is the most important part of a store and therefore, efforts to utilize each square foot will help to maximize sales. One proven way to do this is through interior displays that effectively show merchandise to the customer. When planning interior displays, remember that the theme and image presented on the exterior must be carried throughout the interior of the store to provide consistency for the customer. The purpose of interior display is to develop desire for the merchandise, show what is available, and encourage both impulse and planned buying.

    Three major goals of a store should be to:

    1. Motivate the customer to spend money.
    2. Project the image of the store.
    3. Keep expenses to a minimum.

    Well-designed displays and in-store promotions are essential for a consistent theme and to help the customer find advertised items. Information provided by the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI) indicates that nothing influences the consumer's purchase decisions more than advertising used where the sale is actually made—the point of purchase.

    Researchers have found that 64 .8 percent of all purchase decisions were made inside a supermarket. This included impulse purchases along with substitutions and generally planned buys where the shopper had an item in mind, but no brand. Most people indicated they purchased the item because they saw it displayed. Displays or advertising alone may not increase product sales substantially; however, combining advertising and display into an integrated promotional campaign will usually be more effective. Some effective displays are created by suppliers or brand-name manufacturers, while others are developed from scratch.

    Display Design

    An effective way of attracting customers to a store is by having good displays, both exterior and interior. A customer will be attracted to a display within three to eight seconds; that is the time a customer spends to determine interest in a product. Every display should be planned and have a theme. Good design makes a visual presentation come together. This means the design attracts attention in a way that strengthens the store image, as well as introducing merchandise to the customer. The display does not totally determine purchase, but does make it four times more likely (Kerfoot et al., 2003). The store environment has to be designed consciously designed to positively affect the consumer (Kotler, 1973–1974).

    A product display is a composite of some or all of the following: products, background (e.g., ¥oors and walls), mannequins, ¥xtures, props, signage, lighting, and music that create an enriched experience for the customer through a gestalt of retail environment elements concentrated in areas of the store. Research (Ko & Rhee, 1994) investigating the consequence of product displays in stores on consumer approach responses has been scant.

    Before designing good displays few questions has to be answered which helps in making a good display. The questions are;

    1. What is the store's image?
    2. What type of customer is being attracted?
    3. What is the concept of the merchandise to be presented in the display?
    4. Where is the display going to be set up and how will the location determine the design?
    5. Why is this merchandise being put on display as opposed to other merchandise?

    The principles of display used in design include;

    1. Balance.
    2. Proportion.
    3. Rhythm.
    4. Emphasis.
    5. Colour.
    6. Lighting.
    7. Harmony.

    To execute a display that will sell merchandise, it is necessary to have a working knowledge of the principles of design. When applied appropriately, all parts of the display are pulled together to create a purposeful, effective and aesthetically pleasing presentation. An understanding of these principles will make it easier to design a display for all types of merchandise.
  4. krishna

    krishna Banned

    Balance: Balance involves the equilibrium and weight of elements between two sides of a display. Two types of balance include traditional or symmetrical balance and Informal or asymmetrical balance.

    Traditional or symmetrical Balance is large on one side and large on the other. This can be effective where expensive and quality merchandise is being presented.

    Informal or asymmetrical balance creates flow or rhythm and a feeling of excitement. The two sides of the display appear to be of equal weight, but they are not replicas of each other. Something large can be balanced by several small items or an expanse of empty space, a bright color or a shot of lights. Several soft colors in a large space can be balanced by one bright color because the intensity of the bright color will compensate for its small size.

    When planning a display, consider the following points concerning balance:

    * If colors are too bright, they will overwhelm pastels.
    * If several small objects are more exciting than the large object, they will overpower the large item.
    * A large expanse of empty space will call attention to a single object placed within it.
    * If an item is placed at an angle or to one side (off-center), the space on either side of that piece becomes important.
    * If an object is centered, the empty space loses importance because its shape is predictable and therefore has less recognition as its own element.

    Emphasis: Emphasis is the point of initial eye contact. From this spot all other eye movements flow. Emphasis is therefore the formulation of a focal point, with all else in the display subordinate. There should be emphasis in all displays. This can be by virtue of the focal point's size, color or position. The merchandise is the focal point in a majority of displays.

    When planning a display, consider the following points concerning emphasis:

    * A display needs to emphasize a theme or mood. Themes may also depict seasons, anniversaries, celebrations, holidays and other special store events.
    * An isolated item can be emphasized when surrounded by blank space.
    * Shiny surfaces emphasize and enlarge objects. Dull surfaces de-emphasize an area.
    * Color is a powerful medium for creating emphasis. Small amounts of advancing color, bright intensities, extreme tints or shades contrasts in the right places will provide striking accents.
    * Unusual textures highlight an area.
    * Emphasis is diminished with receding variations such as thin, fuzzy lines; nondescript shapes; regular spacing; even light absorption; cool hues, dull intensities, medium tints or shades; dull, opaque textures; and small, all-over or no pattern.
    * Repetition usually means something is important; so repeated shapes, colors or motifs grouped together reinforces their importance, creating emphasis.

    Proportion: Proportion is the ratio of the parts to the whole display. It is a comparative relationship of distances, sizes, amounts, degrees or parts. Each item may look normal when isolated, but if it is inconsistent in area or dimension with neighboring items, it seems out of proportion.

    When planning a display, consider the following points concerning proportion:

    * Do not use all large objects, because there is nothing to break the monotony and sameness of that large feeling.
    * Adding an odd number of smaller, related items to large pieces creates more interest and balance.
    * Proportions take on more meaning when items define one another.
    * Proportion and balance can best be accomplished when articles within the display play off each other through their size, shape and color.
    * Ratio of merchandise to space is critical.
    * Proportion and contrast are important elements of good display.

    Rhythm: Rhythm or flow involves the measurement of organized movement; a self-contained movement from object to object, background to foreground, and/or side to side. The rhythm in a display should lead the viewer's eye from the dominant object to the subordinated object(s) or from the primary presentation of the grouping down to the arrangement of accessories or alternate parts of the display. Rhythm may be broken-up or continuous; clearly stated or subtly suggested; repeated or vaguely similar.

    The initial pattern or design when repeated makes more of an impression on the viewer because it provides a continuous beat and completion, which is satisfying to the viewer. Rhythm entails an arrangement of organized motion and does not necessarily need repetition. A flow exists if the eye travels from one area of a display to another, covering the entire display. The eye should travel easily through the entire design. A display can lead the eye with color, repetition, shadows created by light placement, lettering or texture.

    When planning a display, consider the following points concerning rhythm:

    * English-reading people read from left to right. A left to right reading should be created in the display.
    * Use elements that mean something together and relate to the merchandise.
    * Create a pattern through the use of light and dark, either with color or light.
    * Overlapping of objects placed together in the display area can prevent the blank space that could exist with an even number of items in a display. Overlapping is one of the most effective tools for creating good flow.
    * It is usually recommended to use an odd number of items when displaying multiples.
    * Use a fabric or color that unifies the theme.
    * Use props that are repetitious either in form or theme.
    * Use lettering with repetition of similar items or with dominance by using oversized items to create flow.
    * It is important that the eye is led throughout the display and does not leave until all parts have been seen.

    Harmony: Harmony is agreement in feeling and consistency in mood; i.e., the feeling that all parts of a display relate to each other and to the whole display. Without harmony, the observer is uncomfortable and will not be enticed to purchase merchandise.

    Three forms of harmony (functional, structural and decorative) must be in agreement in a display.

    Functional harmony deals with how something works physically, which means it must be realistic and must work.

    Structural harmony is correctly fitting together all the pieces; merchandise should not be out of place in the display.

    Decorative harmony includes the parts of a display that are included only for decorative purposes. If an atmosphere of spring is being developed, butterflies and/or flowers may be used as props. These items are attractive and add to the theme.


    Colour contributes significantly to people's impression of a display, as well as a store's overall appearance. Colour in a display can catch the eye and make people pause and look. The colour combinations of the ceiling, walls, floor covering and the overall decor can affect the atmosphere of a store. Changing the colour scheme can change people's attitudes and perceptions of a store, and can increase (or decrease) business. Colour can change the shape and add interest to a dull room, and can direct attention toward a specific object or away from problem areas. People tend to respond a certain way to different colors. Colours alter the meanings of the objects or situations with which they are associated and colour preferences can predict consumers' behaviour

    Warm colours (red, yellow, orange and colours with red or yellow hues such as yellow-green, beige, peach, brown and orange-red) are stimulating and cheery. They make a room feel warm and intimate. Warm colours make a room seem smaller while making objects in the room appear larger. A warm colour on the end walls of a long narrow room will appear to shorten the room.

    Blue, green, violet and colors containing blue, such as blue-green and violet-blue are cool colours. These help create a relaxing atmosphere. Rooms decorated primarily in cool colours tend to appear larger and more spacious. Cool colours are especially pleasing in smaller rooms. A colour wheel is a handy tool to use in developing a color scheme for a store. The color wheel consists of 12 Colours (Yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, red-violet, purple, blue-violet, blue, blue green, green, yellow green).
  5. krishna

    krishna Banned

    The usual order to arrange and present colors is as follows:

    1. Start with neutral colors: off-white, cream, ivory, beige, tan and brown.
    2. Proceed with warm colors: yellow, gold, orange, peach, rust, pink, red, cerise, lavender and violet.
    3. Finish with cool colors: blue, green, gray and black.

    Colour rules that can improve displays;

    1. Consider intensity, value and contrast when developing colour schemes.

    a. Be careful when using strong contrast and loud colours.
    b. The more intense the colour, the smaller the area it should cover.
    c. The more intense the colour, the softer the second colour should be.
    d. Do not paint large areas in strong colours.

    2. Match the colour scheme to the merchandise on display.

    a. Use a neutral colour, or one of the main colours of the merchandise for the floor, walls and background.
    b. Use soft tints rather than saturated hues.

    3. Associate the value of the merchandise displayed to the selection of colours in the display.

    a. Lower-priced merchandise is generally displayed in a colour scheme of vivid hue.
    b. Use a more refined colour scheme with the more exclusive merchandise.
    c. Do not mix high-priced and low-priced merchandise in a display. Items should be grouped by price and design.
    4. Light tints are pleasing to the eye.

    a. Light tints seem to deepen the window space, increasing the window size.

    5. Dark shades appear to bring the background to the fore, shortening the perceived window space.

    6. Colours are labeled as either warm or cool.

    a. Warm colours are yellow, orange, red and their combinations with black and white.
    b. Cool colours are blue and green. These colours are calming, soothing and balanced.

    7. Colour contrasts are welcome, but dangerous.

    a. Watch for colour clashes.
    b. Be careful about confining strong contrasts to small accessories.
    c. Bold combinations can be very effective if done in good taste.

    8. More than two principal colours can be grouped proportionately in one display.


    Lighting is essential in calling attention to merchandise in a display. A shopper's eye is drawn automatically to the brightest item or area. Lighting treatment may be used to draw attention to part of the display area, a specific item in the display, or to coordinate parts of the total display area. Lighting can also be used to direct shoppers through the store, attracting them to various displays along the way. Because of this tendency to follow a lighted path, display lights should be two to five times stronger than lighting in other parts of the store. Supplemental lighting treatments had a positive effect on consumer behavior, as qualified by display. Interactions between lighting and display were found to be statistically significant (Teresa A. S. et al., 2001)

    There are three types of lighting used in store illumination: primary, accent and atmosphere lighting.

    Primary Lighting is the overall level of illumination of the store using fluorescent or incandescent light sources. Outside, it includes 150-watt bulbs used as basic window lighting, marquee lights illuminating the sidewalks, and lighting for the general lobby area. Inside the store, primary lighting is that which fills the selling floor from overhead lighting fixtures and provides the bare essentials of store illumination.

    Accent or secondary lighting provides illumination for designated display areas. Flat, shadow less, overall lighting can create a tiresome selling floor. Accent lighting provides change from light to dark or highlights to shadows, to prevent this boredom. This can be accomplished with down lighting from the ceiling, showcase lighting and valance (drapery or canopy) lighting. Incandescent bulbs are most often used for secondary lighting. They range in size from tiny Christmas tree lights to small candle-like or complexion bulbs, on up to full-size globe or reflector-type bulbs.

    Atmosphere lighting is used to play light against shadow to create a distinctive effect on specific displays. Generally this category includes the use of color filters, pinpoint spotlights and black lighting to create dramatic effects.

    Suggestions for using light effectively include:

    1. Increase display light when visual detail is important.
    2. Create a buying mood by using various amounts of light or manipulating light and shadow.
    3. Save the brightest lights for the merchandise and avoid anything that will detract from the merchandise.
    4. Bring out the tempting colors of meats, fruits and vegetables by using fluorescent lamps rich in red energy, including the deluxe cool white type.
    5. On sunny days, provide contrast to the natural light by using more light in window displays. What seemed perfect during the daylight hours may appear harsh or loud at night. Make sure lights are not flooding over into the street; into the eyes of passersby and the road traffic.
    6. Avoid heavy shadows.
    7. Direct lighting across a display to avoid creating unpleasant and unattractive shadows.
    9. Hide or disguise electrical wires.
    10. Create the right setting for merchandise by using colored light on props and backgrounds. If colored light is used on a garment to intensify the color, stay with the pastel filters; pale pinks for the reds and red-violets, pale straw for the yellows and oranges, daylight blue for the cool colors and nile green for the greens.

    Props, fixtures and signage

    Props: A prop is something used with a product in a display that clarifies the function of the merchandise being sold or the story being told. Props are an integral part of a display. They are used in visual merchandising to tell a story about the product, the merchandise concept or the store itself. A display prop may be something that is not for sale, such as floor coverings, wall treatments, backgrounds, mannequins, shelves and steps. Props may also be merchandise that is for sale, but is not the theme merchandise. When using salable merchandise as a prop, be sure it is appropriate for the theme of the display and in sufficient quantity to meet an increase in demand arising from the display. Prominently display theme and prop merchandise in their respective departments for easy access by the customer.

    Props may also be natural or ordinary objects such as items carried in from the woods or prairie, or rustic antiques found in someone's attic. Examples include a branch from a lilac bush for a spring or summer theme; shocks of wheat, dried leaves and wood crates of assorted sizes used to enhance a fall theme; large boulders used to give the idea of strength and power to a tractor; and gray rocks to provide contrast to jewelry.

    Commercially made props are readily available. The merchandise in a display should always be the dominant element. The prop is there to complement or highlight the salable merchandise and add visual excitement to the surrounding area. A prop is not there to distract the customer from their original purpose of shopping for and purchasing goods.

    Fixtures: Goods can be effectively displayed on a variety of fixtures such as gondolas, tables, cubes, mannequins, waterfalls and other racks, display cases, and manufacturer point-of-purchase displays. A fixture should not only complement the merchandise, but also the atmosphere created in the store. Each fixture should present the merchandise to the public and thereby act as a silent salesperson.

    One of the most common fixtures in stores are gondolas; movable shelving approachable from all sides used in self-service retail stores to display merchandise. They can be lined up in rows as in grocery, hardware and drug stores, or used singly to create an island. End-caps are units at the end of aisles. End-caps are important selling locations and should be used for high-profit impulse or seasonal merchandise.
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    Related merchandise should be grouped together on the end-cap and gondola sides. The end-cap should indicate the type of related merchandise on the gondola sides. Customers generally look to the center of gondola sides first, and then to either the right or left. Additional high profit impulse items should be placed in the center of gondola sides and other related merchandise to either the right or left. Larger more expensive merchandise should be placed to the right.

    The high turnover, high-profit items should also be placed at eye level. If possible, remove a sample from the container to allow the customer to handle and feel the item. Use a starter gap in which at least one item is missing, so the customer will not feel like they are messing up a neat display. Restock the display before it gets down to the last item so customers will not get the impression that something is wrong with the item. An acceptable means of arranging merchandise on a gondola is by color. People think of colors in a rainbow pattern and are comfortable with that presentation.

    Basic rules for fixture placement:

    * Allow 3 feet between racks.
    * When placing racks, progress from small (sized or capacity) fixtures at aisles to large fixtures near the back walls. When working with hard goods, place cubes in the front with gondolas to the rear of the department or store.
    * Higher-priced stores require fewer fixtures because there is less stock. Use primarily T-stands and four ways to create an illusion of space and selective goods. This feeling is necessary to sell higher-priced goods.
    * Create exciting displays of mass merchandise by using quantity and color. Display merchandise in quantity on quads, looming dales, rounders and T-stands; use cubes for folded goods.
    * Fixtures that work well for sale items include tub tables, round racks and rectangular racks.

    Interior Signage: Retail signages are of various types such as Standee, Wobblers, Drop- Downs, Shelf Stock Signage, Wall/Pillar Paintings, and A-4/A-3 Signage, etc. The purpose of application of these signages is to acquaint the customer with various product categories available at the store and aid him in making the purchase.

    Signage is a critical part of interior display and point of purchase promotion. Store signage that communicates a sales message to the customer can make up for lack of sales personnel. A good point-of-purchase sign, properly placed, acts as a salesperson without wages. Signs were originally used to identify a store, name various departments and announce sales and sale merchandise. Signs also commonly advertise vendors, colors, styles, quality and prices. They can be used to explain customer benefits and describe merchandise features. Benefit signs or a combination of benefit and price, are one of the most effective merchandising tools. A good sign provides the most information in the fewest possible words.

    The success of these signages solely depends on the extent to which they attract the customer's attention without creating any ambiguity in his mind. Therefore, it is important to identify as to which type of signage gets maximum influence on the buying behaviour of the customer for the purpose of replication at the store for increasing the sales volume.

    The indoor signages are applied for various purposes such as to promote offers and schemes on different products such as 'Buy One Get One Free', to highlight price discounts on a particular product, price comparison between store price and MRP, seasonal and festival promotions, etc. It is important to identify messages conveyed through these signages, as referred to by the visiting customer. It was observed that out of all types of messages communicated by signages, discounts were the ones for which customer had a preference to look at, followed by the price comparison and branding, with almost similar kind of scores (V.P.S. Arora, et al., 2007).

    Point-of-purchase signs or shelf talkers should:

    * Draw the customer's attention to the product.
    * Identify the merchandise item being sold.
    * State a customer benefit.
    * Tell something about the product that they do not know or understand.
    * State the price of the item.

    Point-of-purchase signs can be obtained from suppliers or wholesalers, manufacturers and trade associations. Many retailers make their own signs; when done properly, hand-lettered signs can be very effective. Other retailers may use a sign-making machine.

    Common principles in designing and using signs effectively include:

    * Special attention should be given to sign and show card margins. The left and right margins should be exactly equal and usually not exceed 2 to 3 inches. A border drawn or printed around the edge of a show card can help the customer focus attention on the information.

    * The focal point of a sign should appear near the optical center of the sign which is exactly halfway between the left and right margins and slightly above the top-to-bottom midpoint. The eye will make contact with this portion of the card first.

    * Try to maintain as much white space as possible around the copy.

    * Use action adjectives or adverbs only to describe a hidden feature that will benefit the customer.
    * Use key words that attract shoppers: you, money, save, new, easy, love, discover, results, health, proven, free and guarantee.
    * Avoid overkill or clutter. Keep it simple. Do not use signs when the merchandise can tell the story.
    * Use exact price information rather than percentage discounts; it is easier for the customer to compute.
    * Check daily to be sure they are current and not left over from a previous sale or promotional event.
    * Print information on both sides for signs in holders, as customers approaching from different directions can read the signs.
    * Use the same style print and color for interior signs to add a cohesive appearance to the store.
    * Appeal to as many customers as possible. Do not limit the audience.

    Retail Planogram: A retail planogram is a diagram that shows how and where specific retail products should be placed on shelves or displayed in order to increase customer's purchases. A skilled planogrammer at retail store develops these planograms for different types of visual merchandising displays (such as shelf-displays, pegboards, or slat board). These are developed based on the information available for the product such as the amount of inventory left for the product, volume of sales per square foot of retail space, and other specific information about products (such as stock keeping unit numbers, product codes, etc.). By analyzing past and current sales patterns, a planogrammer makes recommendations about the number of 'Facings' (how many of the products should face straight toward the customer) a certain product should have on a retail display, how high or low it should be on the display, as well as which products should surround it. This planogram is then printed out as a visual to be followed by the part time helper that is often hired to restock retail shelves and displays. This gives management of a retail store or chain more control over how products are displayed, and allows them to track and improve on the success of their planograms.


    Visual merchandising (VM) is an important function and lot of tools in west have been developed in west. The new tools of VM apart from colour, lighting, texture, mannequins and other traditional aids to engender the much-used 'wow effect' are; i) Digital Signages & High Definition Screens, ii) Mobile Technology (SMS/ Bluetooth): Nokia came out with its coolzone technology in 2005, allowing retailers to put a base station in the store and bring specific content to consumer with Bluetooth-enabled phones. With coolzone, retailers like music stores, phone shops and cinemas can offer promotional or paid content to the customers iii) Touch Screens, iv) RFID Technology v) Holography "Magic of diaphanous" vi) Moving Mannequins vii) IC Colour - using a software programme to control intelligent lighting fixtures, IC colour captures the aesthetic energy of a video source and translates it into a colour theme that saturates the surrounding area, enhancing the content and sensory stimulation, viii) Scent Technology,- Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, MARS, Hershey's, and General Mills are testing this new, patented technology for use at POP (point-of-purchase) in retail stores to spread the aroma of a product without having to open the package. ix) Interactive POS, and x) Robots: Chatbot, a new avatar of robotics can interact with people and give response to the shopper's queries. Japan's Aeon has emerged as the pioneer retailer to introduce a robot in its stores. These tools are used in the implementation of visual merchandising. Decision support systems are used in visual merchandising decisions such as Visual interactive modelling.
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    VM Implementation

    The VM encompasses a number of activities starting with the designing of layout for the store and packaging of products to the final display of products in the store. All these activities are carried out through the joint efforts of various teams, such as category team which deals with a particular category of products like staples, fruits and vegetables, etc.; marketing team which plans promotional strategies. Out-of-house team takes care of places outside the reach of customer and visual merchandising team. The major task of final designing and implementation of VM is carried out by the visual merchandising team which comprises visual merchandiser (one each at head office and at the respective store) category team and coordinator.

    The process usually takes 10 to 15 days. Whenever a VM has to be executed at any of the stores across the country, the category team briefs the coordinator about various promotion schemes that are to be highlighted in the store, estimates of cost involved in VM implementation, specificity of the products to be displayed at the store, focusing on the unique selling points, etc. The coordinator in turn passes the information to the visual merchandiser at head office. He then develops planogram(s) for the launch of the product and passes it to the coordinator, who in turn shows the various options to the category team for its approval. All options are either shown graphically or a demonstration is made at a store to decide the best one.

    Once approval is made, Visual Merchandiser at the store executes the plan with the help of housekeeper. The process of VM execution in any retail store varies according to the category of the products. For example, in the processed foods category, VM is required for product promotion, pricing, launch, etc., especially in the case of festivals, whereas for other categories of products like staples, VM is required for the launch of new products and promotion of the existing products. The companies like Britannia, Pepsi, etc. are involved in brand promotions for which they pay a price as per the specifications of the space allotted such as shelves, bays and gondola space, etc. for the VM. The budget involved in VM of any product category is directly proportional to the MRP of the product.

    Problems in VM Implementation

    * Undefined Areas of Responsibility: The tasks and responsibilities of teams involved are not clearly defined which results in over-lapping of tasks and underutilization of manpower.
    * Lack of Coordination: The visual merchandiser sometimes faces difficulty in coordinating with sales staff and even with category team.
    * Improper Communication: Information flow sometimes gets distorted at various levels of the hierarchy.
    * Limited Freedom of Thought: The visual merchandiser is not given enough freedom or confronts interference in his work by the category team.
    * Poor Time Management: Time management is poor at various fronts such as there is a gap between the time at which stock and VM reach the store.
    * Poor Synchronization of Activities: There is a poor synchronization of activities, as sometimes VM is ready but the stock does not arrives at the store; as a result VM is not put up, leading to wastage. On the other hand, it is difficult to put the stock on hold in case of non-availability of VM when needed urgently, as effective space utilization is a major concern at any retail store.
    * Poor Monitoring and Evaluation
    * Designing VM for perishable products like fruits and vegetables at the store has become the major area of concern for visual merchandiser, as excessive lightning display deteriorates them due to changes in the sensitive pigments present in these communities, causing huge wastage.
    * In other product categories like that of beverages, light used for VM causes their oxidation, leading to foul smell and off flavour.

    Errors commonly occurring in visual merchandising:

    1. Too much merchandise.
    2. Too little merchandise.
    3. Lack of underlying theme.
    4. Too many props.
    5. Poorly selected props.
    6. Displays changed too seldom.
    7. Length of time necessary to change a display is too long.
    8. Limited or no display budget.
    9. Lack of attention to detail.
    10. Errors in applying the principles of display.

    Tips used for Visual Merchandising:

    1. Take it outside.
    2. Identify everthing.
    3. Creating displays - think about composition. Set the mood with your windows. Show them how it will look at home.
    4. Group like with like.
    5. Group by lifestyle.
    6. Embrace all the senses.
    7. Use colour effectively and don't be afraid of colour.
    8. Invest in decent mannequins.
    9. Bright ideas on lighting- use the spotlight.
    10. Be creative with themes- integrate motion.
    11. Be brief on signage.
    12. Change your displays often.
    13. Remember rule of three- while creating a display work in sets of three. If we group by height, have tall, taller, tallest if in a group of price have good, better, best.

    Some final dos and don'ts in Visual merchandising

    * DON'T have dirty display areas.
    * DON'T copy your neighbours' ideas.
    * DO use your imagination.
    * DO stick to the rules.
    * DO change your displays regularly.


    Visual merchandising is the art and science of presenting the products you sell in the most attractive way possible, in order to generate traffic, create interest and buzz -- and of course, generate sales. Many retailers struggle with visual merchandising -- after all, we're retailers, not artists or designers! Luckily, this is one area where you can improve quickly -- without having to spend a ton of time or money.

    Visual merchandising is both an art and a science. Approach it with an open mind. If something doesn't work this time, change it! Try something else. Keep a record of displays you've tried -- with a digital camera this is quick and easy! -- and noting how well merchandise sold with any given display. After a while, you might start to notice a pattern: particular types of display might work well with your customers. Obviously, use those types of displays more often. And if something doesn't work? Change it. Your merchandise is still good; your store is still great: the stores that thrive are the stores that adapt and change to changing customer behavior. Just keep track of results and try new things often.

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