Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by its presentation in retail outlets. The above sentence is taken from the reference in 'The 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. It has become such an important element in retailing that a team effort involving the senior management, architects, merchandising managers, buyers, the visual merchandising directors, designers, and staff needed.
Visual merchandising is creating visual displays and arranging merchandise assortments within a store to improve the layout and presentation, and to increase traffic and sales.
As an example, mannequins are commonly used, as a way to promote products relating to ap-pearance, such as clothing or accessories.
Mannequin dress forms for generating visual displays.
Visual merchandising may include all or some of the elements outlined below:
Choice of fixtures and fittings to be used.
Method of product presentation.
Construction of 'off-shelf' displays.
Choice of store layout (to encourage complementary purchases).
Use of point of sale materials (to encourage impulse purchases).
Construction of window displays.
The way products need to be presented and displayed within the store, will largely determine the choice of fixturing.
The way in which products are presented as routine, will depend on the types of fixtures available but essentially can be visual merchandising
Vertical stacking, for example, for magazines or CDs.
Horizontal stacking, for example, for tinned foods or folded garments.
Hanging - on hangers or hooks.
Hanging - mounted on card or bubble packed.
Visual merchandising also encompasses the design of a store layout. A store layout will be heavily influenced by the assortment and variety on offer and will be constrained by the size and structure of the shop itself. The layout will also determine or be dependent on the type of fixturing used. There are a number of different approaches to store layout, although they are all designed with the intention of moving customers to every area in the store in order to expose them to the full range of products.
These displays are designed to have additional impact by showing the product as it might be used, or perhaps alongside with other products to suggest, complementary purchases. Displays can also be considered as visual features that create interest or excitement within the store.
Window displays have a particularly important role to play in communicating to the potential customer, what the retailer stands for, in terms of product and shopping environment. Window displays make customers aware of the type of merchandise being sold, and hopefully will attract the interest of target customers.
A retailer's window is the most controllable element in relation to image and must match its merchandise's target, demographically. Display windows 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 the value for money with easy and obvious ticketing.
The best store window can generate great excitement and are a talking point. They contribute to the environment by entertaining pedestrians, while simultaneously communicating the products and service an offer.
For, a retailer willing to exploit the full potential, that a window gives, the image-building process can be exciting and have enormous potential. A fashion retailer, for instance, will often change a window weekly to show the latest items on offer. A glance into a shop's window, by a passerby, establishes the time of the year, and, very likely, a timely contemporary event. It might combine seasonal and festive points of the year such as Back-to-school, Spring, Summer, Easter, Christmas, New Year approach-ing, Diwali, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day etc. At other times the propping may be based on colour schemes, materials or cultural themes.