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Visual Merchandising in modern retail is an art as well as a science. It helps in displaying products at a retail outlet in an attractive manner to lure customers to buy products from them. It doesn't limit itself by only making merchandise look attractive, but does branding, and psychological appeal to make a sale and increase profits. This involves using various arrangements of displays, signages and/or fixtures to make it even more tempting for customers. This is achieved by an expert who understands the customers, store layout, product placement, colour, lighting, signages, and mannequins to make a good customer experience overall.
An expert does all this with meticulous & careful planning at the backend using various software for instance BeatRoute, IWD, Mockshop, SmartActive, and Simplified. Next, he/she executes collections at the front end with the help of the store operations team. Good planning at the back-end can actually help the front-end staff at the retail outlets. It doesn't only attract customers but also increases the engagement of brands with customers, it can guide them at the store ultimately increasing the cart value at the store level. It can improve brand equity i.e increase brand image, brand awareness, brand loyalty and customer perception. Nowadays Visual Merchandising has become even more crucial because there are a plethora of brands present in the market, and it becomes even more important to stand out amongst the competition. Today, it’s not just pushing the merchandise to the desired customers but rather giving a good overall shopping experience.
But in the era gone by there was no such thing as Visual Merchandising. Retailers used to push products to customers. They would put things on display to show off their entire stock and its availability. This leads to cluttered retail outlets. It was only in the 1840s post huge technological innovation with the production of glass and light fittings which impacted the visual retail shopping experience. In 1883, Harry Gordon Selfridge who owned Selfridges a departmental store introduced counters with tables for display and this led to customers noticing and the sales improved. This led to the start of Visual Merchandising's ultimate guide and there was absolutely no looking back post this.
There are various elements through which Visual Merchandising can be done at a store, there is a science and several techniques behind it.
These are some of the techniques which are used by a Visual Merchandiser. They need the support of the Store Operations team to set up the outlet and make it look more aesthetically appealing. With that, they also need the support of an Interior Designer to create functional and safe spaces for the customer to experience a positive and lasting impression. An interior designer can also help create the overall atmosphere of the store, as well as provide advice on how to make the most of the available space because they are expensive for every inch. An interior designer can get involved with brands in two ways broadly speaking,
If a brand has all things in place and they are only looking for technical drawings and permits then it’s easier for Interior Designer to sweep in and put things in place. But, if anything is out of place then the Interior Designer has to get involved and start his journey from as basic as a brainstorming session. The designer’s goal is that the shop fits the brand promise and speaks the same atmosphere whereas a Visual Merchandiser would focus on “sales per square foot or profit per square foot” or “focal point” or “fixture etc.
Nowadays Visual Merchandising training manual is not only required in offline retail outlets but also required in online stores. In an online setup, VM is required in visual elements such as images, graphics and videos, to transition the boring buying journey and to make it into a good customer experience. It involves making the user interface easy and accessible for the customer to find it aesthetically appealing and for better engagement. Another reason why visual merchandising becomes even more important for e-commerce is that the conversion rate declines i.e the percentage of visitors who make the purchases compared to the total number of visitors is much smaller as the sales staff isn't around to push the products on customers. Some common tricks to used by websites these days are:
It is a lucrative field to pursue as a career especially today because of the number of growing national/international/e-commerce brands in India. To stand out with their peers these brands need to arrange items in an eye-catching and organized manner, add signage and style the space to create a cohesive aesthetic which can directly increase the sale of any brand. A visual merchandiser can work not only for the store in online/offline outlets but can also work for Exhibition displays, birthdays, set design (theatrical sets included), theme parties, hotel lobbies, homes, wedding decorations etc. Many apparel/home brands like Fabindia, Puma, Myntra, Zivame etc. maintain in-house teams. Opportunities abound especially during special occasions like Diwali, Dussehra, Christmas, New collection launches etc.
The future of guides to visual merchandising is likely to be focused on the use of technology to create interactive experiences for customers. This could include the use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and other technologies to create immersive environments that draw customers in. AI-driven technologies will also be used to better understand customer preferences and tailor displays and promotions accordingly. Additionally, retailers are likely to leverage data-driven insights to better inform their visual merchandising decisions.
Overall, visual merchandising in modern retail will continue to evolve as technology advances and customer expectations change. It is an essential tool for engaging customers and communicating with them, and it will remain an important part of the customer experience for many years to come. The complete guide to visual merchandising is to become more knowledgeable about digital tools and how to use the craft. And a visual merchandiser’s job is going to only grow as the competitor increases in the market.
Hi! I am Shraddha Kochar, I was born, raised, and have completed my education in Delhi. I have been in the fashion industry for the last 7+ years, with varied experience working in startups, national brands, e-commerce, exports and education secto ...
r. I like travelling and exploring places for food. I landed in the education sector very mystically, and since then there is no looking back. I enjoy reading about fashion & lifestyle brands, fiction, fitness, personal finance and philosophy. Keeping in mind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) , I am trying to become a conscious and aware human.
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