As a visual merchandising designer or manager, a lot of responsibilities fall on your shoulders. After all, the appearance of a store or specific displays can either attract customers or push them to other shops. This means that you likely toil away for hours, developing interesting merchandising strategies based on the time of year, trends and consumer interest.
Visual merchandising is your wheelhouse, but with a full inbox and a dedication to life as well as work, you can’t always stay up to date on the newest happenings and activities in the retail industry, let alone your brand’s specific sector. So, you need to rely on a little bit of help – maybe ask a colleague for an opinion or two, or collaborate with coworkers from marketing. Either way, at the end of the day, you need displays that dazzle and get customers through the door and to buy products and services.
Here are four visual merchandising basics for the 21st century.
1. Cloud-based content creation platform
First things first, you need a place to develop all the content you need – training manuals, posters, catalogs – and you must be able to distribute those documents easily and quickly. You have a lot of participants and these stores are likely spread out around the country. Furthermore, the content you produce must be high-quality if it hopes to stand the tests of employee patience and time.
“A cloud-based content creation platform is useful for the long haul.”
This is where a cloud-based content creation platform can help. Online solutions provide all the materials you need to build and proof training manuals, binders, posters catalogs and digital documents from any location. You can send content digitally or ship documents and files directly overnight, but more importantly, you can access and edit these creations from anywhere via secure online channels.
A cloud-based content creation platform is also useful for the long haul, as you will need to change your merchandising strategies and in-store displays on a frequent basis to keep up with new seasons and holidays. With everything uploaded and stored in a single location, you can always go back and edit displays and guidelines before shipping the amended catalog in minutes.
2. Create regional options
Consumers crave personalization, but in the past, you likely didn’t have many options, as printing multiple disparate manuals and catalogs is time-consuming and difficult. However, the world has changed, and now you can use content creation platforms to adjust and send specific documents to certain areas.
Why personalize and how can you do it? Paco Underhill, founder of the retail consultancy Envirosell, told the Sourcing Journal Online that merchandisers can get a leg up on the competition by creating displays that cater to specific regions. Underhill asserted that visual merchandising catalogs should allow regional managers to choose what they think best suits their shoppers’ demographics.
3. Focus on the five senses
At the end of the day, merchandising is all about the display and store floor, so you definitely need to adhere to the five senses rule, or “sensory branding,” as Shopify calls it. The source explained that you should implement visual cues with colors and lighting, auditory cues via music, and give people the opportunity to touch and try something with a demonstration. Also consider smells and tastes, depending on the retail sector.
4. Perform audits
Last but not least, you need a way to ensure that stores are following your merchandising guidelines. Business 2 Community contributor Nancy Chen recommended implementing self audits along with seasonal ones. So, after creating a catalog, develop a checklist for employees to adhere to, ensuring that every step is followed to a T.
Merchandising might not be easy, but with these four tips in mind, you can create the most successful strategies.