The Five Steps to Visual Merchandising Planning
Visual merchandising is so important to the success of your store that it could be considered a critical element, second only to store location. It makes sense to give considerable thought to your overall merchandising plan before you jump into display creation. Deliberate on a few salient points as you build your merchandising plan. The effort will lead to a solid foundation on which to build the most effective merchandising for your store.
What is the image you’re attempting to convey with your store? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: What do you want them to experience? Your vision might translate to a bright, airy and uncluttered feeling. You may decide to treat your patrons to diorama-style displays throughout the shop. Or, maybe you’d like to create a relaxing space that includes coffee or other beverages. Consider in your vision an overall color scheme and ambiance-creating components, such as the type of music you might use and the lighting you will employ to enhance sales.
Using the mental image of how you envision your space, begin to evaluate your floor plan and layout. The front of the store should feature your best-selling products showcased in displays or on fixtures that enable customers to closely view or touch the items. Does your floor plan furnish you the ability to install displays that won’t block visitors’ view of the rest of the store? If you plan to incorporate a refreshment kiosk, study your layout to find the location that will be attractive enough to draw people farther into the store, yet won’t block sales merchandising efforts.
Determine what you will display in prime selling locations, such as to the right of the entry and along the right side of paths most traveled by shoppers, considering that people seem to have a tendency to move to the right upon entering a store. For example, it might be beneficial to place in these choice sales spots a display of clearance items or perhaps some high-end merchandise. Think about point-of-purchase displays -- what type of merchandising will be most advantageous near the payment area, another prime selling location.
Utilize the psychology of product placement. Shoppers generally look first at eye level for the items they need, so you may decide to place at that level inventory with high profit margins. Your plan can encompass where to display bright or shiny packaging or objects, which, as suggested by Envirosell, Inc., people automatically slow down to inspect. Give some thought to the product placement in window displays -- a highly visible location for eliciting sales -- as well as to the placement of in-store signage.
Include in your merchandising plan an assessment of traffic movement within the store. The plan should allow for a way to avoid clutter, such as employing storage areas off the main floor. People using strollers or wheelchairs should be able to comfortably maneuver through the aisles or displays. Your plan may offer the option of altering the layout with additional partitions or modular dividers to augment customer movement, enabling shoppers to spend more time at each display.