Don’t judge a book by its cover - it’s a phrase most of us have heard our whole lives and like to believe we abide by. However, it has been seen in studies that people who score high on intelligence-related tests are more likely to purchase a product based on its aesthetics. For retailers, this is why visual merchandising is crucial.
Visual merchandising is the aspect of marketing in which retailers use the way they display their products to highlight those products’ features and attract customers. Many elements are included in the process of visual merchandising, including height, textures, colors, text, and lighting.
Visual merchandising is essential to creating an in-store experience that is consistent across all locations and keeps old customers coming back while also attracting new customers.
Even though visual merchandising is an age-old element of retail, it is as important as ever in the industry. While we continue to see trends toward e-commerce, the majority of shopping is still done in-store, and visual merchandising is a vital element of both online and brick-and-mortar retail.
Visual Merchandising & Attention
In our increasingly digital world, the average person’s attention span is 8 seconds, which poses a problem for retailers. However, the majority of people identify as visual learners.
Visual merchandising is essential in helping to attract that attention and tell the customers a story through product displays.
If done successfully, eye-catching visuals can help increase an individual’s message retention by 42%.
Intelligence Node highlighted 3 aspects of visual merchandising that are as important as ever for omnichannel retail.
1. Starting with architecture, a well-designed store or website is vital to making the shopping experience a great one. The photos and layout of a retail e-commerce site are every bit as important as a beautiful store layout, and they have the same effect - customers are going to be more likely to shop if the architecture is eye-catching and easy to navigate.
2. The narrative is another important element. Visual merchandising is intended to tell the customer a story and invite them to be a part of it. It is essential for this story to highlight the brand’s identity, and this can help create an emotional connection between the retailer and the customer. This emotional connection can then drive repeat sales as a customer continually shops at the retailer.
3. A component that might not be something retailers pay as much attention to is purposeful “white space” - empty space in a store or negative space on a website that helps the space feel clean and uncluttered. This helps make the space feel calm and prevents the shopper from feeling overwhelmed by the store offerings, which could result in a loss of a sale.
While these are just a few of the many elements of a retail space encompassed by visual merchandising, it is important to determine your brand image and use your visual merchandising to communicate that through your store and/or website. This is where consistency among all of your brand’s retail channels becomes vital to your success, and there is an incredible resource to help you maintain this.
Retail for the People is excited to announce that we are now partnering with IWD, the industry's leading planogram and visual merchandising software used by hundreds of retailers around the world, including companies like L’Oréal, Cartier, and Under Armour.
IWD’s goal for over 20 years has been “to make your retail life easier.” Today, their SaaS (software as a service) platform allows retailers to efficiently execute in-store merchandising campaigns, create a consistent customer experience, and ultimately increase sales. Over 500 retailers in industries such as beauty, fashion, and home goods use IWD to enhance their visual merchandising experience.
IWD’s software allows retailers to create and share visual merchandising guidelines, execute in-store merchandising with planograms, and analyze performance. IWD’s software can be used for both brick-and-mortar store planograms and for wholesale accounts to create visual merchandising for the wholesale customer’s buy assortment.
IWD Saves You Times
This innovative software can help save retailers time by making it easy to design a store layout, and it can vastly improve efficiency by allowing instant communication between all members of the team, no matter where they’re located.
Users can optimize shelf space and build their “brand book” with merchandising guidelines right in the software. Their comprehensive array of visual merchandising tools is exactly what retailers need to help drive sales through a robust visual merchandising strategy.
How could IWD help your business? Here are some ways in which you can increase your sales with this software.
1. Ensure consistent store experience
IWD allows you to ensure that the execution of your merchandising campaigns is consistent across multiple locations, creating a seamless experience for customers. In a world in which the retail channels available to companies are constantly changing and growing, consistency is a seemingly simple element that can make or break a customer’s experience with your brand.
A McKinsey survey found that measuring satisfaction on a customer’s “journey” is 30% more predictive of a customer’s overall satisfaction than analyzing satisfaction on each individual experience. They also found that maximizing this satisfaction can increase revenue by 15%. IWD’s software allows retailers to share information about visual merchandising across corporate offices and retail locations to ensure that everyone is involved in the in-store experience and improves communication between all employees. This saves time and will result in brand consistency which drives an increase in sales.
2. Use data and analytics to plan campaigns and analyze store performance
IWD’s software allows you to build sales reports that provide analysis of store performance. This information allows you to develop actionable insights for future merchandising campaigns. The data can help merchandisers place products in the right locations to drive sales and predict what customers will purchase. The software also allows you to track key performance indicators and compare your performance against that of your competitors. Having this information at your disposal can result in increased sales and profitability as you alter your strategies to improve your results.
3. Create planograms
Planograms are tools used in visual merchandising that allow merchandisers to plan a store’s layout, focusing on product placement and POS locations. Planograms allow stores to examine how product placement affects sales, and using past sales data allows merchandisers to identify both the fast-moving and slow-moving merchandise. Once these products have been determined, product displays can be designed in ways that will maximize sales. Planograms also assist with inventory management and keep the store organized and easy to navigate. IWD’s software allows retailers to build both 2D shelving planograms and 3D store model planograms. By digitizing planograms, you can save up to 70% of the time spent on creating the visual merchandising plan.
IWD is an incredible solution for retailers that are looking to elevate their visual merchandising and improve efficiency across all channels. A seamless omnichannel presence is something that will make your brand stand out to your customers and create the environment that keeps them coming back to your store. Utilizing a platform that keeps your merchandising cycle up-to-date and easily accessible by all members of your teams will ensure you provide the best customer experience possible.