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The importance of Visual merchandising
Changing the arrangement of the displays in regular intervals will initiate new interest about the products in the minds of the customer. By designing a plan-o-gram and activating changes frequently one can thus be a proactive retailer. With globalization and the retail boom, visual merchandising is growing in leaps and bounds. It is not simply concerned about decorating a store beautifully; but must also symbolize the brand keeping the target audience in mind.
Visual merchandising today is really important. It forms a critical element of retailing. Besides the facade and windows, which are clearly done up with an objective to attract passer-bys and induce walk-ins, there is also in-store decor that is designed to raise the customer’s comfort and convenience while shopping and over all, offer a superior shopping experience. Consumer behaviour studies have confirmed that the lure of a beautifully done up show window and a tastefully decorated facade, more often than not, prove irresistible as they walk in to check out what is on offer. It also ensures exclusivity since no two stores should look alike. Besides, when the mood and theme of such displays change at regular intervals, it makes certain that the store remains top of mind. Loyal customers have often been known to anxiously wait for the next display.
Visual stickiness: Stickiness in retail formats is also ensured by the imaginative use of colors, lighting, space, furniture and visual elements with regard to in-store displays. Once customers walk in, it is but imperative to ensure that they enjoy their first encounter with the store. After all, repeat visits will only happen if a customer’s first visit is a memorable one. The logical arrangement of counters, with clear passageways allows for easy access to merchandise. Space is allocated to various product categories taking into account the number of stocked and shelves space requirements are worked out accordingly. Clear passages are provided for products, which require touch and feel. All impulse purchase driven products are also clearly displayed so that the customers can reach them. Also, it has been observed that when a person enters a zoom, the human eye moves in a Z pattern, i.e. from rear left of the room to right rear, followed by front left of the room to front right. Care should be taken to do up the rear left end of the room in an appealing manner so as to guide the direction of vision and keep a shopper visually interested.
A great deal of research has been undertaken on the impact of lighting on a customer's purchase behavior. Results clearly indicate that in general, stores that are brightly lit, with the lights cleverly blending with the interiors lead to higher customer comfort, and as such, more sales. Different types of lighting and interiors are used on different floors, the change reflecting the various products that are on display on a particular floor, the proposed target audience and the time of the year.
The ladies floor, for instance, is most often subtly lit with soft lights in summers, cool bluish lights are used to impact an impression of coolness and comfort. The careful use of spotlights helps add to the appeal of products such as crystal and jewelry. Signages related to various product sections are put up clearly to demarcate areas, allowing customers a clear understanding of what is stocked where. Different brands have their own signages so that customers can find their favorite brands easily. Additionally, within the product sections, signages help to publicize the various promotional schemes that might be running in the store. Stores also make use of signages to indicate the facilities available at the store, such as washrooms, cafe etc.