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Chief Editor
& Visualiser

Anuraag S

Swati Bhalla

Special Contribution
Vandana V

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The 6 Components
by Vandana Verdia, Visual Merchandiser, Seattle, WA, USA

Visual merchandising is comprised of six components: image, layout, presentation, signing, display and events. Everything you do within the store- how you develop your layout, your presentation, your signage’s, your displays and your events- must fit into the image you choose to create.

Going the extra distance with the display and merchandising of product throughout your store can not only impact immediate sales but can also help you create an identity and ambience that work to build a loyal customer base. Unless you have a strong sense of design, this area of your business may seem confusing.

Studies indicate that a retailer has roughly 3-5 seconds to capture the attention of a passing customer. The following elements combine to form a distinctive image that not only reaches out and grabs the customer's attention, but makes a positive impression within those precious few seconds.

Before you begin to adjust the design, display, and merchandising of your store you must have a clear understanding of the image you wish to project.

In addition to creating visual image & excitement, remember to keep the five senses in mind when laying out your store. For instance, music related to your store concept and merchandise selections will help create an overall mood. Aroma therapy can work wonders; introduce a light scent such as perfumes or potpourri (remember to keep the scent light, a heavy odor can drive customers away). Where appropriate, allow your customers to touch and "experience" the merchandise.

To do that you will need to understand the demographics of the community in which your store is located. What age groups are represented? What is the average income? What lifestyle do they live or aspire to? What interests do they pursue? Within that community you should identify the type of individual you hope to appeal to and gauge whether the population base can support the sales volume you need to succeed. Look at competitors within your market to see if there is a void you can fill. Whatever approach you take, a better understanding of who you are appealing to, and the message you wish to communicate, will make your displays more focused, more effective and easier to create.

To give you a more hands-on sense of how to display product, be sure to shop at other stores. Whether or not the stores you visit carry like product, a trip through your local mall can offer adaptable ideas. When you browse through the many catalogs that reach you through the mail, look for ideas. Vignettes and presentations pictured may be duplicated or trigger an idea for a fabulous creation. Lastly when attending shows, don't forget to note the innovative exhibit display techniques you see."

Pick of the Month

A chance to get noticed in the industry. A chance to show your creativity. A chance to participate and win display awards every month.
(submit your entries at [email protected])
Zara Kids Diesel
Any Questions?

If you have any display or store planning/layout related questions, send it to us!
Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu, Concept Head - Lifestyle Dept. Store, Reliance Retail, will answer your questions... (Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu has a rich experience of 14yrs in Store Planning, Retail Planning, VM, Presentation & teaching Retail Management.)

(submit your questions at [email protected])

Q: We are about to launch a chain of Fashion Retail stores in Delhi & NCR to start with. Store will carry latest fashion merchandise, mostly fashion denims, Tees & tops. 60% female garments and remaining for men's. The store is almost 1500 sq.ft. (15' w x 100'd).

a) What would be the ideal location for the cash counter?
This is to be considered for the following aspect: I. Store Mission : For a mono-brand fashion store the prime store mission will be to communicate the fashion offering and at the same time keep reminding the shopper of the brand as to make it a 'top of mind recall' brand in the customers' mind. Hence, a feature wall with a larger than life branding at its top with a powerful seasonal feature presentation supporting it ( use graphics if required ) with the cash counter at its base is a good location at the central rear of the store with a clear line of sight from the store entrance. II. Store operations : Its also important to be at a good location to keep an eye on the customers being services and also customer movement in the store and keeping this in mind the Cash Counter should have visibility to most parts of the store.

b) What kind of Mannequins/display forms & how many to be planned?
The Mannequins are the 'silent salesmen' of the store and their selection in terms of styling and posture should match the personality of the brand and store design concept. For a mono-brand casual fashion store offering like yours groups of stylized mannequins are recommended in the window displays to communicate and dramatize the fashion statement of the latest collection. This should be carried instore with fewer but more powerful feature islands or even one single central spine ramp like platform that features well styled and color co-ordinated fashion mercandise. Do ensure that the featured merchandise are prominantly presented on fixtures in the store and in adequate size sets on the floor and in the back-of house. Spreading the mannequins around the store is not recommeded as they will dilute the fashion statement of the collection. Make sure all the mannequins are of the same theme is terms of styling and colors ( all moulded hair or all with wigs or all headless ) and avoid mixing types. For casual merchandise like yours select poses with attitude and action.The number of mannequins planned should be not more that four to five per group and are recommed to be in a mix of casual sitting and standing poses to create pyramidical clusters of mannequins ( the sitting mannequins in the front and the stand behind them). Ensure there is adequate run-up to each ( clear floor space in front for the shoppers to see it and approach it) and they are placed on a platform (to differentiate them from stationary shoppers!) with dramatic lighting on them with adjustable metal halide / CDMT lamps. Partial mannequins ( Busts, Torsos etc. ) can be used on the wall focal points to act as eye catchers and communicators for the prerimeter wall to draw the customer off the aisle to the wall presentations. Groups of three to four can be used on each wall bay run of about 12'.

c) How can we make the windows attractive without spending too much?
Use color, texture and lighting ( Metal halide / CDMT spots are a must ) to create depths in the display using inexpensive materials like paper, fabrics, paints, hired furniture etc... They key objective here is to communicate one single innovative idea with the fashion statement as the hero highlighted with the right contrast to make the fashion statements stand out ( dark background for light merchandise and vice versa). It also helps to pick a theme that the target segment relate to and find "cool" so that they find it attractive. Certain configurations denote certain moods like a pyramid-strength, slant-movement, rounded organic shapes-flow and the same can be used to configure the mannequins and props in the window. Graphics are also a very powerful tool to catch the attention of a passerby and the same can be used very effectively on the window glass ( like white dots on the window of a christmas display to depict snow ) or in the back drop ( prominent black stripes to highlight a collection of bold flat red tops . Common day use props can be used to add an element of drama ( like funky green unbrellas with holes for a group of green collection of Tees with torn denims). So there is no limit to what imagination and innovation can offer and as you can see cost is a function of the elements planned and not the design per say !

News Flash

The M&M’s World Orlando is populated with colorful candies in a variety of sizes and incarnations. In addition to being named STOP OF THE YEAR 2006, ISP/VM+SD Store Design Competition, the project also won Special Awards for innovative concept, fixturing and lighting.

Upon entering the Barneys New York in Boston, shoppers encounter a stainless-steel cube inspired by a bedframe in creative director Simon Doonan’s home. The marble mosaic flooring in this area uses 20 colors to achieve its intricate chain pattern.

Learn Visual Merchandising, Contact

Digital Signage Expo Digital Signage Expo, May 16-17, Chicago
The Digital Signage Expo (DSE) will hold its fourth annual conference and tradeshow
May 16-17 at Chicago’s Navy Peir Exhibition Center.
The former Digital Retailing Expo will host a conference program consisting of four concurrent tracks over two days, or a total of 20 sessions, plus a keynote speaker and two days of workshops. Visit: for more details

Damask-Themed Vinyl Images by Corman and Associates
Introducing damask-themed vinyl images that can be applied to fixtures and are available in a variety of
colors. Corman and Associates Inc. (859-233-0544;
“Fabric Product” by Christine Taylor Collection
The company’s “Fabric Product” line includes box sets, suitcases, cone trees, form covers, tablecloths and
overlays. Pictured is a hand-beaded form cover of dupioni silk. Christine Taylor Collection.

 A restaurant in Japan,
on Toilet Theme...
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Display Snaps
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A display of ceramic characters.
The neck swings/dances when you touch them. It’s supported on a thick & strong spring, which puts these heads in motion once touched.
This display was at Delhi Haat, Delhi.
A wooden fixture of bangles, displayed vertically (as shown). Customers can browse these bangles & surprisingly, these bangles never fall off although they are displayed straight against the wall.

Display of extraordinary size ‘Jutis’, just to get the customers attention.

By Anuraag S
Window Display


1 The depth of the window is quite good. (Approx. 4’)

2 The lights are properly focused on the mannequin.

3 The props used are:
a. Print in frame
(Free standing wooden frame; size-2’ x 4.5’)
b. 3 Vases (with dry leaves)
c. Price signage’s
d. White paper(chart) backdrop ‘roll’
(same as in photo studios)

4 The mannequins are very realistic & are coordinated
very well.

5 Price signage’s are laid flat on the window base/floor, since the floor level is equal to the Mall aisle.


Techno Visual Merchandising

Digital Signage’s & High Definition Screens A study conducted by Mintel in US shows that “customers visit stores with digital media twice as often as stores without it, spend an average of five percent more time in stores with digital media & spend 10 percent more money in stores with digital media. Also, the impulse purchase rate was twice the normal.” Furthermore, Plasmas, LCDs, HDTVs etc have replaced TV sets. Though the utility is still same, crafting an interactive & movable media (display) create enlivened vibes in the store.

Moving Mannequins, a Los Angles-based company, has developed mannequins that can move. In continuation to that, LocaModa, a Somerville, USA-based company has developed an interactive digital mannequin application, which allows customers to customise a model’s clothes displayed on a large screen using a cell phone as a remote control.

Robots With a whirl and a flash of lights, a Robot whizzes to the restaurant table & takes a customer’s order, while a second races to another table to deliver plates of steaming food.
This isn’t a scene form a Science fiction book. Rather, it’s the daily routine at a new dinner in a suburban Hong Kong shopping center. ‘Robot Kitchen’ opened in July to cash in on the city’s love affair with gadgets, claiming to be the worlds first eatery staffed by machines. Chatbot, a new avatar of Robotics can interact with people an give response to the shoppers quries. Japan’s Aeon has emerged as the pioneer retailer to introduce a robot in it’s stores. The Robot developed by Fujitsu, was launched in the retailers outlet in Yachiyo, where it’s main duties were to greet and ascot customers. The robot is also capable of transporting customers bags according to information it receives through it’s touch screen panel, display or it’s voice recognition system. Through the display robot is also able to explain new products while guiding customers to various sections of the store.

  Top in Store Trends
1 Interactive Kiosks

2 Digital signage

3 High definitions screens (LCD monitors, fat screen technology, Plasma, screens, HDTV)

4 Wireless technology (Tie) RFID (Tie)

5 Self checkout

6 Faster checkouts; increased checkout convenience (Tie) Technology’s increasing roll in environmental branding

7 More interactive devices, such as shopping cart (Tie), Intergrating online & brick & mortar (Tie)

8 Audio; retailers programing there own music

9 Scent technology

10 More customization, such as video triggered by the customer (Tie) Bio-metric authentication, such as fingerprint identification (Tie) corporate network broadcasts on in store video screens (Tie)

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Can anyone suggest me a good vendor for fixtures, specially for Gondolas & metral pegs? ... Naveen K Singh (Gurgaon)
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