Visual merchandising is an essential component to retail sales since it facilitates the customer’s shopping experience. When customers can shop stores easily, sales are impacted positively. If stores are messy, cluttered, or too full, sales will drop significantly. Displays should also showcase the newest inventory, with plenty of stock available for sale.

The Basics

The basic principles of visual merchandising include stocking, front-facing and cleaning the display. When a product or item is missing from store shelves, sales will suffer. That’s why it’s essential to regularly stock items throughout the day to ensure a shelf space full of live inventory. Front-facing inventory with labels facing out gives the store a neat appearance and facilitates an easier shopping experience for the customer. Cleaning displays or shelving -- including testers, if applicable -- makes inventory look attractive and ready to buy.

Promotional Displays

Stores should pay special attention to in-store displays and focus on promoting items that are in-stock. Visual merchandising an end cap or window display with the most current inventory will positively impact sales for that SKU. When inventory levels are low or if the product is sold out, it’s essential to replace in-store displays with available inventory to make the most of selling through in-stock merchandise. While a store plan-o-gram will call for specific promotional displays, the store manager should always stay abreast of low inventory concerns and make changes to promotional displays when products are close to selling out.

Racks and Shelving

Consumers are drawn to shop in a full, neat store. When shelves are bare or if racks are thin, the customer’s perception is negatively impacted because inventory can feel picked-over or sparse. Keep racks full and shelves well-stocked to facilitate sales. If your store is running low on inventory in specific categories, display double rows of available inventory to create the illusion of fullness. Use this same principle when visually merchandising shelf space. Always make sure ticket prices are marked appropriately when double facing inventory. Be careful not to over-stock racks and shelves since this too could negatively impact sales.

Seasonal Changes

Stores need to appear full of fresh inventory on a regular basis to make the most of its retail sales. Visually merchandising the most current items at the front of the store looks inviting and new, especially for your regular customer and can positively impact sales. If your store has few seasonal changes in inventory, you can create the illusion of new stock by rotating which inventory is showcased at the front of the store. Theme your display changes around seasons or trends to focus less on inventory and more on the visual aspect of the display.