What is retail merchandising?
Retail refers to the activity of selling goods and services to customers or end consumers, if the same products or services are sold to businesses such sales are termed non-retail activity. Hence retail only concerns itself with the sale of goods or services to end consumers.
Merchandising is any practice that promotes the sale of goods and services of a retail business. For example, businesses provide free samples of their new product to customers so they can use it and create the possibility of them liking it and hence buying it with their own money not for free. This is a widely tested and proven method of merchandise.
Retail merchandising is the practice by which businesses increase the sale of their products and services. It includes various strategies related to product display, promotion, advertisement, branding and many more to enhance the profit generation for the business.
Visual Merchandising in Retail stores refers to the practices that stores use in enhancing the display of their products and adopting passive strategies that indirectly impact the customers to browse through the store and make more purchases to hike the sales.
Put simply, retail merchandising is how you present your products in your store. It includes everything from the exterior of your store to the interior arrangement, colours, and categorization of products.
What are the elements of visual merchandising?
Before chalking out a retail merchandising plan there are certain elements you need to consider and include in your merchandising strategy.
How your store looks from the inside affects the shoppers’ experience and behaviour. While designing the interior of a shop, the objective should be to match the theme with that of their products; the colours, layout of the store and furniture should be according to the category of product. For example, a store section exhibiting warm clothes, and routine wear should be furnished with a sofa to make the customers feel cosy and comfortable. Similarly, the layout of the store also affects the shopping experience.
Lighting should be employed subtly to highlight certain sections of the store. For instance, spotlights can be deployed for highlighting new arrivals, special deals or exclusive offers. Besides highlighting, differentiate the amount of lighting according to the mood of each shopping section. Like, keep the grocery section bright for careful examination and the daily wear section dim and cosy.
Make active use of images to deliver messages across the store. Images are a means of communication and are more effective than words. But subtly images can speak more than words could. For example, category-specific sections should display images of happy and satisfied consumers. However, it is important to optimise the volume to prevent overwhelming the customers.
Signage includes signs and symbols used to convey information to customers, like direction signs leading customers to the grocery or clothes section in the store. It facilitates the customers’ shopping experience.
What makes in-store visual merchandising so important?
It has been realised over the years that merely stocking all the necessary products in your store is not enough to drive profitable sales. What is important is their effective display and in fact, an effective display can make the customers shop more than their shopping list suggests.
Visual merchandising is important because it helps sort the confusion in the customer’s mind by arranging the products in clear categories, providing price tags, and decluttering the space for effective thinking.
Note that every product on your display is available online, and the reason that customers still visit retail stores is that they like the sensory experience of shopping. Therefore it is important to focus on delivering good experiences.
Hence it makes customers easy to navigate through the store. It also helps them render attention to quality products. Also it takes them through products of similar categories on nearby shelves which increases their chances of buying more. And also enhances their shopping experience thus leading to every customer stepping out of the store happy and content.
Needless to say that happy customers are more likely to revisit the store and be regular shoppers. And what could be better than your happy customers themselves marketing your store in their peer circles?
Training in Retail management
Retail management is a crucial skill in contemporary times. It is being taken up by individuals to understand retail merchandise effectively. Institute of Aviation, Hospitality and Retail offers courses and training in retail management delivered by professionals and field experts to provide the necessary skills for the field.