Swati Bhalla
October 29, 2012

Does Visual Merchandising Really Work??

Retail in India has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast paced industries, with the entry of several new players in recent years.

Rising disposable incomes, especially, among the middle class, increasing consumer base in urban areas, credit availability, growing number of nuclear families, working women, easy accessibility and convenience and a potentially strong rural consumer market will fuel this growth in the near future. Indeed an exciting time for retailers and marketers.

The rising purchasing power coupled with an increasing propensity to consume has led to the emergence of a new class of consumers. Gone are the days when people felt guilty about spending. Not only are people today indulging in buying more, they are spending significantly on themselves.

Retailers place more importance on visual merchandising to differentiate their offerings from others’. Researchers found that impulse buyers usually do not set out with the specific purpose of visiting a certain store and purchasing a certain item; the behaviour occurs after experiencing an urge to buy and such behaviour is influenced by internal states and environmental/ external factors.

Retailers can help customers to find the right products through focused merchandising, intelligent store design and layout, and other visual merchandising practices, such as product displays, packaging, and signage.

Purpose of the research:

Retailers try to find variables that influence shoppers’ impulse buying urges and decisions and attempt to control these influencing variables through strategic marketing and merchandising activity. Based on the literature review, it is reasonable to expect that visual merchandising, a common external factor that encourages consumers’ urge to buy, can affect consumers’ impulse buying decisions. Based on the previous research findings, the purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between young professionals’ impulse buying behaviours and common external factors that trigger impulse buying. External factors that the research will examine are attributes likely to be encountered in many retailing contexts, such as visual merchandising. The types of visual merchandising used as predictors in this study are Window Displays, In-store Merchandise Displays (Merchandise Presentation), Store Music, Store Fragrance, & Promotional signage.

Significance of the research:

Everyone buys impulsively at one-point or another which implies that the findings of this study will be helpful in a wide range of retail products and formats.

A key aspect driving the sector’s growth is favourable population demographics – more than 50% of India’s current population is below the age of 25 and over 65% below the age of 35. About 72.2% of the population lives in some 638,000 villages and the rest 27.8% in about 5,480 towns and urban agglomerations. (Census 2011)

The power of youth today is evident in its large numbers, tendency to consume and in its ability to influence larger household decisions. India’s population is also urbanising at a rapid pace with the urban Indian population projected to increase from 28% to 40% of the total population by 2020.

Keeping in mind the large youth segment of the population, and their tendencies to indulge, it becomes important for any retailer to know how this segment can be captured. The research focuses on the very basic visual merchandising tools used to entice this customer and in turn increase impulse purchase.

For the purpose of this study, we have taken the “Young Professional”.

Research participants:

Sample size:

  • 1866 young professionals contacted through e-mail

  • Links forwarded through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook

Target respondent: Young professionals

Gender: Male/Female

Occupation: Professionals

Age: 25 – 35 years

Data was collected in by online marketing research.

Demographic Questions:

Demographic Analysis: Age

Demographic Analysis: Gender


Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

26 to 35




Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count







Answered question




Demographic Analysis: Age & Gender

Every time you go shopping, how much would you spend on an impulse purchase?