Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. It sets the context of the merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, presenting them in a way that would convert the window shoppers into prospects and ultimately buyers of the product. A creative and talented retailer can use this upcoming art to breathe in new life into his store products. Passion for design and creativity are essential to be a good visual merchandiser. A perfect design process and the ability to create ideas that are different are required.
“Visual Merchandising is the means to communicate a store’s fashion, value, products, and quality message to prospective customers so as to entice them to buy from the store on a sustainable basis.” — Gini Frings
Visual merchandising is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three- dimensional displays in order to maximise sales.
Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. 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 director, industrial designers, and staff is needed.
Visual merchandising includes window displays, signs, interior displays, cosmetic promotions and any other special sales promotions taking place.
Both goods and services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. Visual merchandising commonly occurs in retail spaces such as retail stores and trade shows
Visual merchandising is not a science; there are no absolute rules. It is more like an art in the sense that there are implicit rules but they may be broken for striking effects. The main principle of visual merchandising is that it is intended to increase sales, which is not the case with a “real” art.
Visual merchandising starts with the store building itself. The management decides on the store design to reflect the products the store is going to sell and how to create a warm, friendly, and approachable atmosphere for its potential customers.
Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays including colour, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs (such as smell, touch, and sound), as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations. Visual merchandising is one of the final stages in trying to set out a store in a way that customers will find attractive and appealing and it should follow and reflect the principles that underpin the store’s image. Visual merchandising is the way one displays ‘goods for sale’ in the most attractive manner with the end purpose of making a sale. “If it does not sell, it is not visual merchandising.”
Especially in today’s challenging economy, people may avoid designers/visual merchandisers because they fear unmanageable costs. But in reality, visual merchandisers can help economise by avoiding costly mistakes. With guidance of a professional, a retailer can eliminate errors, saving time and money. It is important to understand that the visual merchandiser is there, not to impose ideas, but to help clients articulate their own personal style.
Thus, visual merchandising is the art of implementing effective design ideas to increase store traffic and sales volume. VM is an art and science of displaying merchandise to enable maximum sale. VM is a tool to achieve sales and targets, a tool to enhance merchandise on the floor, and a mechanism to communicate to a customer and influence his decision to buy. VM uses season based displays to introduce new arrivals to customers, and thus, increase conversions through a planned and systematic approach by displaying stocks available.
Recently, visual merchandising has gained in importance as a quick and cost effective way to revamp retail stores.