Why Visual Merchandising is Important

First impressions are one of the most crucial things to get right when it comes to advertising, and also one of the most difficult.

When it comes to retail, it can be the difference between a happy new customer that lasts you for years on end, or a completely botched sale that could have gone the other way. If your store has product displays, that means you need to be at the top of your visual merchandising game at all times.

Visual merchandising has everything to do with how a product is looked at. Whether it is an online store where customers only get to see the real thing after delivery, or it is a retail store chain where the product is stacked up in a line for them to see, visual merchandising is a critical part of product display.

Certain high-end stores, such as watch stores—or even car showrooms—play the visual merchandising game as well. So, here, we will cover how you can use visual merchandising to make the best kinds of product displays for better sales and satisfied customers.

The Purpose of Visual Merchandising

Like everything else, visual merchandising has to be used carefully, sprinkled in between the product displays rather than use everything there is in the book to make your product stand out.

It is a widely adopted practice to showcase your product, and one of the best kinds of product displays where visual merchandising is used can be looked at through superstores.

Those stores display related products together. So, if you are hunting for fruit at a store, you need to get into the grocery section, and search for the fruits and vegetables isle. Over there, the best and highest quality fruit is kept at the front to maximize product display appeal, while some underripe fruits maybe under or out of view.

Visual merchandising, then, is used to attract customers and motivate a purchase. It also helps with organization, whether it is a small apparel store that sells perfumes, or a large retail chain with every product imaginable.

Get Product Displays Right Through Visual Merchandising

The best kind of product display is one that does uses a super-high budget to create elaborate visual merchandising stints, but rather, one that subtly uses everything at their disposal to make for a beautiful showcase of the product, bringing together themes and relevance from other products, the location, the store, etc.

That is why these things are necessary to get product displays right when using visual merchandising.

  • Understand your target audience and their niche(s).
  • Lean into an inspirational product display.
  • Make sure to appeal to the senses.
  • Boldness gets attention.
  • Use design language.
  • Keep on refreshing those product displays.
  • Ensure that relevant products are grouped together.
  • Use your store or seller’s theme.
  • Set it as a guide for your customers.
  • Signage is part of the merchandising.

Understand Your Target Audience

Understanding your customers and their psychographics is the first step. Psychographics refers to the customer’s reactions visually and emotionally, and how different colors, placements, and other psychological factors come into play for visual merchandising and product displays.

It is important to know that psychographics are fundamentally different from demographic data, meaning that age, gender, income, and other data is not part of what is focused on.

Here, understanding your audience and how they react to the point of sale is crucial to gain a better understanding of visual merchandising and how best to use it.

Inspirational Product Displays

Inspiration can be a one-time thing or come in droves. Think of how energy drinks are marketed as sports-fuel, meaning that those seeking a burst of energy to get another few laps done for their race need only to drink the fizzy energy drink on display.

Similarly, healthy product displays can inspire through fitness and better health, creating a sense of individuality to the person seeing that visual merchandising and appealing to them.

Then, by the time they get to the product display itself, they are already inspired to make the purchase.

Appeal to the Senses

The five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste have their own sensory trackers that look for specific things when it comes to visual merchandising.

Sight, for example, is around store lighting, product visual appeal, as well as where and what is looked at. The product is the centerpiece of your display, so it is up to the visual merchandising department to determine if that is the center of attention, or something else. A toothpaste or dentist ad, for example, shifts focus towards the teeth rather than the toothpaste itself for better merchandising and sensory appeal.

For sound, music can make a huge difference. Upbeat music associates the product with energy, happiness, and euphoria.

Boldness Gets Attention

In this digital age, everyone has a smartphone. A well-made product display stands out against the myriad of other products that leave that on the table.

Be bold so people take picture, spread the world, and it will ultimately lead to more word of mouth—and sales!

Use Design Language

Your product displays themselves are a crucial part of visual advertising.

Design theory prefers subtlety so that when you do use colors that pop, they stand out visually. Moreover, use contrast to emphasize items or certain aspects of your product displays.

After that, make sure to use some whit space in your store, which is just empty space that uses nothing. This empty space can have a significant affect on the visual appeal and customer perception of the product.

White space creates a sense of roominess, reduces clutter, and gives the products a more premium feel, making the shopping experience all that much better.

Refresh Product Displays

Visual merchandising and its appeal changes over time, so be sure to stay up to date. However, that does not mean change for the sake of change.

A store’s design is not meant to stay the same over years and decades. Try something new, appeal to a new market without losing the previous one, and you can even have monthly changes to the visual design of your store.

As time goes on, customers change. Keep up with it, or get lost behind in the races.

Ensure That Relevant Products Are Grouped Together

Supermarkets often sell certain items, like food or snacks, at a loss, meaning that the cost of manufacturing, producing, shipping, and boxing that product is more than what it is sold for. However, there is a strategy behind it.

In a retail store, those products sold at a loss are well inside the store, meaning that customer has to make a journey from the entrance to where it is kept, all the way back to the cashier. This leaves plenty of time for customers to look at other items without knowing it, allowing them to make a sale.

This is why point of sale matters for the relevant products. Customers that buy pots and pans for their kitchen might also be looking for a high-end juicer or a new spatula. You never know what the customer needs—or, in fact, you should assume what the customer needs, and give them the nudge yourself.

Use Themes

Most visual merchandising designs play off a certain theme. It is also part of the store and each individual product display.

A clothes shop has a fundamentally different look than a supermarket or a grocery store. Think of your store as a brand, and your product display as part of that brand.

Keeping everything on an even keel and as relevant as possible will allow your store to have a positive vibe for customers. 

Guide Your Customers

Ever went to a store and left with far more than you planned to purchase?

This is the power of guiding customers through a journey, giving them the options, and then making it up to them for the purchase decision.

Visual merchandising and product displays play a key role here, too, as the customer will seek familiarity. Therefore, take it step by step, and guide the customer through each leg. Use arrows, indicators, and signage, which leads to the next point.

Signage Is Important

Signage is where visual merchandising creativity can shine, while also keeping up to the theme of the product.

A child-size apparel section, for example, can have playful tones and childish signage, whereas a formal, high-end store will have more cut-and-dry signage that gives off the premium appeal it needs to go for.


We hope that these tips have been helpful for you to get through your own visual merchandising journey, and to get your product displayed up a few notches.

Remember to always let your customers make the decision. You just need to nudge them in the right direction, and they will automatically make the right decision for you.

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