The Importance of Visual Merchandising
The purpose of visual merchandising is to enhance the aesthetics of a product with the purpose of generating sales. When it comes to enhancing a product’s appeal, visual merchandising plays an important role in the culture of a brand as well as the feel and the total look. Done well and it can draw customers into the store or can make them close a sale. If you are a brand looking to learn more about the importance of visual merchandising, read on to learn more.
The key success factors of visual merchandising start at the front of house. This includes the store’s appearance including signage, lighting and window displays. Going into the store visual merchandising (also known as VM) encompasses staff uniforms, point of sales (any displays positioned right at the cash desk), ticketing and instore displays. When done correctly, all these elements should come together to showcase a brand with a unique identity. So much so, that when the customer enters the store – they are immersed in an experience that is totally unique to that brand.
When it comes to VM, it’s important to make the customer secure in their experience. This means that the visual components that showcase your product must in some way be related. This will ensure that the correct demographic is drawn into the brand but that the brand values remain loyal. Of course, this is not to dispute the success of brands who manage to constantly challenge perceptions of retail design. For years, Selfridges has earned a reputation for being the owners of London’s most inspiring window displays – charging artists and designers alike with creating pop-up windows that serve to provoke. And yet, dig deeper into what is seemingly a work of contemporary art and you’ll see that every window is geared to one particular product whose brand identity gels just perfectly with the window setting – which leads on to the importance of themes.
Brands can better execute a VM strategy if it’s set up as part of a theme which can then remain loyal to throughout the store. Themes are what is used to tell a story and ways of sharing the story is through colours, fonts, design, photos, pictures and even new layouts. One current trend is the raise of the “pop-up” collection, a store within a store. In pop-ups, the customer is immersed in a stand-alone experience – almost like they walked into another store. Strong in its own identity, even in a shared space. With more and more bands fighting for space in department stores, the importance of VM to a brand grows and grows. The fact is, a customer no longer just wants to buy a brand’s product, they want to feel a brand’s presence.
Tonality is your brand’s consistency of message in all marketing materials. It also refers to your brand’s tone of voice, as well as the feel, look and overall completeness of your brand. To achieve tonality, all VM elements have to come together not just instore but also online. This also includes any third-party spaces (including online and offline) which can proof more difficult to control and which is why many brands are stringent with their brand guidelines.
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