One of the most underrated, but also most decisive parts of the store formula is product presentation or visual merchandising. It is also a part of the formula that cannot be developed and supervised by others, but which you should create in the store in collaboration with the employees. Even if you have successfully linked a fantastic layout to an attractive store design with the best possible lighting, your store will not achieve the desired result without a proper presentation. So this part of the formula also entails an additional difficulty.
The purpose of store formula management is to think in processes as much as possible and to develop systems in order to manage the store by remote control at low management costs. Visual merchandising should be created by experts in the store. This requires vision and skill on the part of the employees. However: you also want to keep the costs under control!
To this end, good visual merchandising concepts always combine two factors. First, they are developed on the basis of a system, whereby the presentation can be created using the product itself, without using too many tools. Secondly, the concept is connected to a training programme for employees focusing on the use of the system created and its application in the store.
The costs of a good visual merchandising concept are always recovered. Examples are known where, without any further adjustments to the store formula, a 5% rise in turnover was realised plus a remarkable margin improvement, merely by enhancing the formula. Just by offering the right combinations of products. And this, without investing a penny in hardware!
In actual practice, a good visual merchandising formula means:
> That the focus is on the product in the store;
> That the desired ambiance in the store is created by ‘merchandise pressure’;
> That the consumer is almost unable to avoid buying the product;
> That impulse buying is stimulated in this way (‘It really looks delicious’, ‘what a great offer’, or ‘what a fantastic product, I want... no, I have to have this!’)
A good visual merchandising concept provokes this emotion in the consumer.
Therefore visual merchandising does not only determine the ambiance in the store, but is also the driving force behind the turnover. When a store designer starts work on a new store formula, he first has to think about how to fit in the visual merchandising concept when he draws the initial sketch. This is because the desired result will only be achieved if the store design and the visual merchandising concept are approached in an integrated manner. To achieve the best result using this concept-based approach, a few rules should be observed. These can be briefly summarised as follows:
Ten golden rules for Visual Merchandising
The basic visual merchandising concept has to match the identity and positioning of the formula. Massive and exuberant versus modest and high-quality.
‘Product is the hero’. It is all about the product; all the furniture and display materials are merely intended to reinforce the product presentation.
Think in systems. A good presentation is easy to make, without many explanations and complicated tools.
Think three-dimensional. Height is important to create product dominance.
Do not use too many products in one presentation. Many repetitions of a few products are more effective than displaying many different products.
Combine, in a single presentation, attractively priced products (eye-catchers) and products carrying a wide profit margin. This creates the maximum impulse buying effect.
Using attractive colours and supporting combinations of materials is important as the basis of the presentation's dynamics.
The right lighting and clear price information are basic preconditions for a good build-up
Graphics and photography can support and add distinctiveness to the presentation. The product's use should be central.
Evoke emotions. A good presentation that has the right product build-up, atmosphere and lighting not only impresses the consumer but also generates extra sales.