Visual merchandising is a tool that retailers can utilise in their stores in order to attract and retain customers, especially in the current climate where customer attraction is becoming more and more difficult.

More often than not, individual retailers struggle to obtain the tools, education and finances they require to present their retail space in the best possible way to maximise sales. Visual merchandising incorporates window displays, in-store layout, product merchandising, housekeeping, lighting, music, price tickets, posters, graphics, props, colours and more. Your ability to combine these elements, visually organise them and rotate them is fundamental to the presentation of your store. All that you require is a little creativity, inspiration, logic and organisation and the opportunities are endless.

"When a retailing environment makes visual sense, a customer will be naturally attracted to the space, enticed to come in, convinced to stay and shop and, most importantly, inspired to buy", says AUSVM, GHA’s preferred visual merchandising supplier.

The purpose of visual merchandising is to make your products look so good that people want to buy them. The following are some tips from the team at AUSVM:

Stock Strategy: Product knowledge and strategic prior planning with regards to product placement in your store is vital. When purchasing stock, consider: where will these products go when you get them back to your store? Do you have the space for them? Do they appeal to your customers? It is important that you are buying to appeal to your customers’ tastes, not just your own.

The power of posters and prints: Source large format posters and prints to complement product ranges, highlight window displays and to enhance in-store merchandising. For example, if you were creating an in-store display for a new range of dining ware, you may create a backdrop with a large colourful poster of food on a dining table or beautifully presented on a plate.

Up in lights: Great lighting makes an incredible difference to visual appeal and is crucial to completing a visual display. By manipulating your light sources, you have the ability to enhance merchandise and displays, draw attention to particular products and create an in-store ambience.

Colour me happy: While there are various eye-catching colours that a retailer can use to draw attention to their stores, retailers must consider the overall look and feel of their store and their brand in the context of visual merchandising. The most important thing to consider when contemplating colour is the theme or mood. It is the retailer’s ability to tell a complete story that catches the attention of the consumer.

Texturise to tantalise: While the use of colour in visual displays is an obvious way to attract and retain customers, texture can also be used to alleviate visual boredom. Utilising textures and fabrics in the background of your displays can be a highly effective way of catching a customer’s eye. Wall coverings have made a strong comeback and are a great and inexpensive way to freshen up a theme.

Penny pinching: Times are tight and most budgets are likely unable to accommodate refurbishment and interior redesign. However, total refurbishment is not necessary to update the atmosphere within their retail space. Keeping in mind the general theme, retailers can create vignettes of colour around a theme to enhance a display and bring it new life.

Prop me up: Props are the starting point for displays that surprise, delight and sell, and are far cheaper than an entire store makeover. You can integrate props with graphics to craft a work of art. For example, you may create a wall display with a poster/print of a girl extending a 3D arm to display fashion accessories. Integrating clever, relevant props into your product displays can become a signature element of your store.

A daily dose: Build a daily routine that includes visually merchandising your store every single day. This does not mean that every day you need to create new displays or revamp your window display; just a simple change here and there will generate ongoing interest in your store. By creating something new for your customers to see, you are giving them a reason to come back to your store again and again.

The feather duster: Housekeeping is a vital component of your visual merchandising program. Ensure that your store is neat and tidy and always free of dust, dirt and rubbish by setting time aside each morning to give it a quick once-over. Mess makes people uneasy and disinterested. Presenting a neat, tidy and well-organised store will create a welcoming environment that attracts customers to enter and stay longer.

Muddle busting: Clutter-free is the only way to be! There is nothing more distracting and deterring than a store full of clutter. The customer should never feel overwhelmed by your product range. Products should be easily accessible and customers should be able to easily understand what you are selling. Your ability to tell your customer a story is significantly harder when your story is buried under piles of product.