People have heard about visual merchandising, and they know it is an important part of running their online business. However, most of them find it confusing, and artistically challenging, and think that it might break the bank.
The truth is totally different. Retail displays are easy to implement, not expensive, and significantly enhance the customer experience by promoting the right products to the right consumers. To help you put more cash in your pocket, we are excited to walk you through top strategies for creating enjoyable and impactful visual merchandising.
- What is Visual Merchandising?
- Why Visual Merchandising?
- 5 Major Principles of Visual Merchandising
- Common Types of Visual Merchandising
- Effective Visual Merchandising Strategies for Shopify Stores
- Make Your Homepage Interactive
- Create A Strongly Convincing Product Page
- Use eCommerce Search As A Powerful Tool
- Provide Product Filtering and Facets
- How to Measure The Impact of Visual Merchandising Strategies
What is Visual Merchandising?
You own high-quality products and are figuring out how to use them to engage shoppers so they spend money. That's when visual merchandising comes in. It is a continuous process of planning, designing, and showcasing your items to highlight their features and benefits to the target shoppers.
This practice becomes more important in digital storefronts as there is no salesperson to introduce visitors to what you have to offer.
Why Visual Merchandising?
Once you employ the art of visual displays, you can make the retail space the most efficient sales clerk. Let's see some real advantages of impressive merchandising strategies.
- Increase customers: store owners should use visual merchandising to give first-time visitors a favorable impression once they enter the store. If they enjoy the positive experience, it will encourage them to return and become your loyal customers.
- Optimize your retail space: Some think that they would need to set a huge budget to expand their space for merchandising practices. But the truth is, with a smart approach to merchandising, you can get more out of it without any renovations. For example, to boost the sale of high-margin products, merchants often place them in more prominent spots while implementing several merchandising rules to market hard-to-sell items instead of reducing their prices. Importantly, the store layout must be easy to follow and lead buyers to merchandise you would like to highlight.
- Boost revenue: Retail sales can be significantly impacted by effective visual merchandising. While enhancing your consumers' shopping experience, clear pricing, fully stocked shelves, straightforward displays, and conspicuous sale signs can help you increase earnings. According to Shopify, on average, shoppers visit 4 out of every 10 stores and make 3 impulsive purchases.
In short, customers will enter your store and look around for visual cues. Therefore, you will make higher sales if you can hold their interest, and direct them through your store.
5 Major Principles of Visual Merchandising
These rules are something that visual merchandisers and store owners should follow. They are a guide to producing a successful visual layout that will keep customers engaged and urge them to purchase more products. So what are they?
- Proportionality is to achieve a proper balance between diverse elements like color, space, light, smell, etc. in presentation while keeping them proportional so that they do not overpower one another.
- Balance means balancing the arrangement between left and right, top and bottom, or around a central point, visual merchandising balance strives to generate visual equilibrium and prevent visual fatigue in-store visitors.
- Emphasis is a technique that establishes a focal point that immediately catches attention and lures customers into your shop/store.
- Harmony is all about building a visual connection between different things on display so they appear to belong together.
- Progression entails directing the consumer's gaze through your business to create a natural flow and encourage them to investigate every part of the shop/store.
Common Types of Visual Merchandising
Before digging deeper into effective merchandising methods you should try, we will walk you through the most popular kinds of visual displays that retailers around the world are implementing.
Slat walls are a common merchandising display utilized by stores all over the world. These display fixtures are made up of panels and horizontal grooves (slats) that can hold a variety of merchandising accessories. Slat walls can be attached to walls or used as a freestanding fixture when paired with a base. They are utilized in conjunction with accessories like arms, hooks, and shelves that can be quickly slid into the slats without using tools.
(Source: Erik Mclean)
The grid wall is another promotional display that is increasingly popular among stores. This marketing display is constructed from a lattice of wire panels that can easily support a range of hook and shelf solutions that attach to the grid.
Grid wall fixtures are especially beneficial for clothing businesses because hooks and hangers are easy to remove and rearrange. Hence, it allows merchants to perform a quick merchandising update effortlessly. With the addition of bins, baskets, and shelves, impulse merchandising displays including loose goods such as confectionery, books, and magazines may also profit from this style of display.
Table displays, as the name suggests, are merchandising displays with a flat, table shape that can be tiered or only have one level. Although the term table may imply that it is constructed of wood, it can also be made of a variety of other materials.
The advantage of this form is to draw and encourage a buyer to purchase products that they did not intend to buy. Likewise, store owners can employ table displays as seasonal holiday decorations as they are extremely visible, evoking a call to action.
Point of Purchase (POP) Displays
POP displays are among the most crucial displays in any retail store. Most vendors would give them to businesses for free to increase sales of their goods. These merchandising displays can be as simple as a sign or as extensive as a full free-standing exhibit where the goods are prominently displayed.
POP displays are typically located in high-traffic places, such as close to the cash register or near the entrances. Why? Store owners want to make them immediately accessible to customers and boost the likelihood of an impulse purchase.
(Source: Nadco Inc.)
Effective Visual Merchandising Strategies for Shopify Stores
What about visual merchandising in the eCommerce industry? Similarly, it is the strategic display of products on a website in such a way as to attract customers and encourage them to interact with your website. eCommerce visual merchandising, often known as site merchandising for retail websites, is integral to creating the experience your customers enjoy on your website.
Your merchandising plan should address all of the essential aspects that shoppers expect from your site. Some things to mention here are the layout, the feel of your website, your homepage, the site search, product data, and product suggestions. With the right strategies, you may revolutionize your online business, both in terms of differentiation from competitors and revenue growth.
Try the following methods to boost your efforts.
Make Your Homepage Interactive
Honestly, your homepage should offer an interesting and dynamic experience. This will work to reduce bounce rates and encourage customers to explore the site. So what should store owners and marketers keep in mind when building a homepage?
(Source: Katy Perry Collections)
At the entrance point, impress your shoppers with your brand story once they enter your online store. Why? A convincing brand story will distinguish your business in their minds, and give them a reason to stay with you. Some visible elements for you to create a positive brand image would be color, design, logo, and key message.
Additionally, don't forget to make your search bar/search icon highly visible. Besides, the homepage is a great spot for merchants to feature some fascinating collections and products that immediately spark customers’ interest.
Aside from impressive photos of your items, adding call-to-actions (CTA) will be a must if you desire to drive conversions. CTA buttons act like a clear pathway that shows consumers how to explore your store.
Another thing that online merchants often forget is social proof. User reviews, social media photos, and other forms of user-generated content will directly engage e-shoppers to keep them staying longer. Furthermore, their ratings are compelling evidence of your product quality and services.
Create A Strongly Convincing Product Page
Most people would think about product photos only when it comes to visual merchandising. It is true but not enough! Obviously, Shopify merchants must display high-resolution images to show the best angles of their items.
(Source: Pro Photo Supply)
However, to make customers say ‘Wow! I can't resist the urge to buy it!’, use your product descriptions as a sales representative to pitch and persuade prospects of the need to own your items. Although there is no example that fits all, an ideal description should list product materials, specifications, product usage, and importantly, benefits. Meanwhile, if you have special offers, like free shipping, don’t forget to make them stand out.
Use eCommerce Search As A Powerful Tool
Search is now the entry point when customers visit your online store. Sadly, not all e-merchants know how to use it to the fullest so they miss key opportunities to drive more sales. Take a look at the following suggestions to improve users’ search experience:
- Display promo banners within search results. Store owners can set rules that show the top or in-line banners when users look for certain queries or collections.
- Promote or hide specific items. To attract new customers and retain loyal ones, you probably run some seasonal or new product launching campaigns. Hence, you might want to promote specific products for a search term or a group of queries. Thanks to searchandising, you can easily pin, boost, bury or even demote selected ones.
- Provide visual suggestions in the instant search display. Your consumers would appreciate it if you include some visual helpers such as highlighted text or product images. Also, this way will help you grab their attention, increase click rate, and potentially boost sales.
- Personalize the shopping journey. To bring customers a tailored experience, business owners take advantage of data about the purchase history. Why? Those insights help merchants understand consumers’ demands to offer hyper-relevant results. Hence, they are more likely to buy.
Recommended tools to add personalization on Shopify: Personalized Recommendations by Glood.AI
Provide Product Filtering and Facets
Filters and facets enable users to easily reduce their search scope by product category, and facets enable users to do so across many search dimensions. These can be designed to showcase or promote specific types of products to customers.
To empower your Shopify filters and facets, there are 4 tactics that you can implement:
- Offer the most essential filter types including price, brand, size, user ratings, and color.
- Use thematic filters to encourage shoppers to purchase more items that increase AOVs.
- Enable multiple selections to create a customized catalog based on customer preferences without reloading the website several times.
- Think as a buyer to name your filter options instead of being too creative which makes shoppers confused when looking for your products.
Recommended tool for advanced search and product filtering: Product Filter & Search by Boost Commerce
How to Measure The Impact of Visual Merchandising Strategies?
Here are some metrics for determining the success of your visual merchandising approaches. You can assess:
- Return on investment (ROI) - If you made significant modifications to your retail space, it is critical to compare sales success to previous weeks, months, or seasons for comparative analysis and future planning.
- Customer visits – record the number of visitors who enter your store as well as those who pass by. This will assist you in evaluating the opportunity and possibilities for attracting folks who are hesitant to enter.
- Customer spending - determine whether a customer's typical spend per visit is more or less than before you implemented your visual marketing changes.
- Browsing time - think about how long customers stay in your store - is this a place where you can engage with them and create a welcome experience?
- Returning customers - Determine whether or not shoppers return to your store and how frequently they return within a detailed timeframe. This may also impact how you target consumers who visit less regularly.
Apart from the above-mentioned ones, consider the two following to assist you in driving ongoing improvement to your visual merchandising techniques:
- Employ analytics tools: There are resources available to help you acquire detailed data and insight into in-store customer experiences, as well as track how they affect sales.
- Benchmark your business: Setting benchmarks allow you to compare your performance to others. To improve it, you can identify areas for improvement or apply certain best practices.
The key to visual merchandising success is determining what visitors are most likely to purchase. It is not simple. However, by leveraging your understanding of your customers, you will drive far more sales.
We have given the most useful merchandising methods here, but there are many more tried-and-true strategies. Also, stay tuned to read our upcoming articles to get the latest news around eCommerce and Shopify.