As a retailer, you know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep your business running. And while there are many different aspects of your business that require attention, arguably the most important is your sales. Ninety percent of the information sent to the brain is visual, therefore, a key strategy to boost sales is to focus on visual merchandising.
And while traditionally visual merchandising applied to a retail store’s physical environment, the science of visual merchandising is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar — retailers can now use the same tactics to create immersive online shopping experiences as well.
Effective visual merchandising transforms a physical or digital environment into an extension of a brand’s image. As such, visual merchandising efforts must be consistent throughout both physical and digital environments. A simple example is using the same color scheme in-store, on your website, and in your app.
Here are five strategies to help any retailer master the art of visual merchandising, both in-store and online:
1. Know your customer.
Knowing your customers is the difference between being a successful visual merchandiser and an average one. Successful businesses know who they’re selling to, what kind of people buy from them, and how best to provide satisfying solutions for those consumers both in-store and online so that more shoppers will come visit or make purchases on any product offered by this company — not only improving customer experience but also boosting profits.
Visual merchandising is most effective when it’s guided by customer data. Using a customer relationship manager (CRM) tool to track what, when, why and how people shop in-store or on your website can help inform which products you should feature, how products can be better grouped together, and specific preferences of customers.
2. Create captivating window displays.
Make a great first impression on consumers with window displays that “wow.” Since your store windows are the first thing people see when they come across your business, creating appealing and/or themed exterior design is one of most effective ways to drive potential consumers into entering where their money can be earned.
When shopping online, the homepage is the first window into your brand that a consumer experiences. Thus, it should work just as hard. Use your homepage to interest and excite visitors with compelling images promoting your products. And, unlike static window displays, you can use personalization to deliver a more tailored point of entry for website or app visitors.
3. Make it easy for customers to find products.
Store your most valuable and recent products in a prominent location so customers can find them easily. This will increase sales because people are drawn to buy what they see first. Consider using an interior design technique called “leading with value” which involves placing high-value items at the front of stores. The same principle can be applied to maximize engagement online. Place high-value products on the homepage and optimize navigation to maintain visitors’ attention and inspire action before clicking away.
4. Use technology to your advantage.
Technology has changed the way people do business. One of these innovations is cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) software. This type of technology provides anytime, anywhere visibility and control on a computer or mobile device with an integrated solution for in-store sales as well online purchases. POS customer data can be used to take your in-store or digital merchandising to the next level by providing insight into customer trends as well as individual customer preferences to inform your merchandising strategy.
5. Use product grouping.
Grouping products in visual merchandising is a good way to attract customer attention and spark their imagination with ideas on how they can use the same items for enhancing their homes. For instance, a furniture retailer can set up displays that contain multiple pieces to show off what each piece could look like within someone else’s space, while also giving consumers an opportunity to visualize where these pieces might be placed in their own home. Bundling doesn’t have to be exclusive to brick-and-mortar stores. This visual merchandising tactic can easily be applied to online retail stores, and if done correctly, can increase average order value.
Visual merchandising is a powerful tool to increase retail sales. By understanding your customers and using creative displays, you can attract attention to your products and make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. With the help of technology, you can take your visual merchandising to the next level.
Nick Gurney is the general manager of Jewel360, an all-in-one, cloud-based retail software built to meet the needs of modern jewelry retailers.
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