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Visual Merchandising: Basics of getting it right

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Visual merchandising is not something new. It has been omnipresent through history. It is required by anybody with something to sell, from a fruit vendor to a department store. As long as retail and competition among retailers exist, visual merchandising will exist too.

According to R. Jeswant, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Funskool India – with special emphasis for a toy store – it’s imperative to have an accurate planogram for a store – a diagram that shows how and where specific products should be placed on shelves or displays in order to increase customer purchases. Apart from this, the right set of navigation tools that help shoppers browse through the store are also essential.

“The larger VM strategy is to enhance the look of the stores using the space, props & merchandise to tell a story. We play with colors, like blue and white, and monochromatic colors – both create intriguing, eye-catching displays. The objective is to engage and inspire shoppers and to encourage them to browse through the collection and make purchases,” states Tejaswini Nigam-HEAD VM Pepe Jeans India.

Nina Lekhi, Managing Director & Chief Design Curator – Baggit stresses on the fact that VM should be able to facilitate product interaction with customers and that it should integrate with the brand. On the don’ts that should not be ignored, she shares, “Never ignore the product. You can create beautiful display windows but if your product is not highlighted, then your display is of no use to both your customers and you. Never turn off the lights. When TVC, display ads, digital ads are not shut off, why should your display ads be shut off? Turn them on even when the store or mall lights are shut off.”

Shekar CS, CEO – Unlimited, Arvind Lifestyle Brands, points out that it is not wise to create ‘me too’ layouts. “Do not create layouts that are overlapping between brands/ design collections and that offer incoherent and confusing product/ offer communication,” he says.

Siddharth Bindra, Managing Director, BIBAsays, “The product, not the props or signs, is always the star of any VM production. Always create product presentations from the point of view of customers.” He highlights the need to work on details, adding, “The more you work on details, the more engaging your window and in-store presentations become to customers.”

Custom clothing website, CREYATE by Arvind Internet Limited has an offline presence too with their high-end stores across the country. On the VM principles followed for an effective customer experience, Sumit Dhingra, Chief Operating Officer – Heritage Brands Division, Arvind Fashions Limited says, “Considering CREYATE is a futuristic brand with a minimal approach to VM, we believe in having a display that is ‘prompt’ for seasonal relevance and ‘apt’ to convey the brand message to the customer effortlessly.”

Dhingra opines that it is important to maintain a visual balance with equal weightage of display items on each side of the store besides forging a proper contrast both in material and color, of the products displayed and their respective backgrounds. He further adds, “It is advisable to maintain a seasonally relevant color palette for the products on display, so that buyers can easily connect to the products.”

“We believe that focusing on basics which includes ironing, folding, stacking, balancing, alignment and smart replenishment is imperative when it comes to effective visual merchandising. It is also important to style and display props as per seasonal docket so that the store looks up to date and grabs eyeballs of consumers passing by the store,” he adds.

He also suggests that when it comes to merchandise in the store, rotation on focal points should be done every seven days so that every piece of garment gets its due attention. “At Aeropostale, the rotation takes place every Thursday, at the end of the day. In addition to rotation, styling and wall display should be changed every 14 days. This is done every Thursday at the end of the day to give the store a fresh and new feel to avoid repetition.”

And making VM displays fun is important.

Bindra says, “Passersby who are entertained have a good reason to enter the store. Make sure your window display is well-lit because eventually what you see is what you buy.” He also emphasises on the fact that products which are displayed in store windows – the products which pulled in the customers in the first place – should be easily accessible to consumers.

“Habitually analyse footfall and in-store data to understand whether your storefront displays are working or not. Tweak your displays by changing products or rearranging props and signs accordingly,” he adds.

~ With Inputs from Sandeep Kumar & Surabhi Khosla ~

(Have a fantastic visual merchandising pictures, campaigns and response? Share it with us.)

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