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  Chief Editor Anuraag S | Editor Swati Bhalla | Powered by GigaSoft™  



By Swati Bhalla & Anuraag S
Tata McGraw Hill Education, New Delhi

264 pages I Price: Rs.375 (full-colour)
ISBN 978-0-07-015321-9


Displays in a retail store are an excellent low cost tool available to operational managers to increase footfall and make conversions. In fact, in any highly competitive environment, displays are the only way to distinguish a store from its competitor(s).

The word ‘display’ means to showcase products which a retailer offers customers walking through the street. This function of retail provides the maximum scope for creativity and lets the visual merchandiser use customer-specific insights, cultural tags, popular topics, and plenty of cognitive psychology to impact buying behavior.

The impact of a store display starts from the point where the customer has an unhindered view of a store. This means that a store signage with its clearly visible name and/or tag line is the starting point for smaller stores, whereas for larger stores, along with the signage, external display windows play an important role in drawing customers inside. Once the customer starts walking towards the store the window displays – displaying the seasonal theme, a new product or the latest festival range – provides the customer with an overview of what lies inside the store. For this purpose, in-store signage, props and display elements are considered under the same name of ‘display’.

The Visual Merchandiser and the Store Planner have to be cognizant of the fact that the customer’s senses are being worked upon – starting from a distance of 10 meters to even 100 meters, depending on the store location and size. Learning and applying the impact of visual merchandising on the sub-conscious mind of a potential customer is the skill which makes for brilliant Visual Merchandisers.

Every Visual Merchandiser should be equipped with a map highlighting key locations in a customer’s line of sight. It should be based on the distance and direction from which a view will be established. This map could be broken up into the following blocks:

1. 50 meters from the store – Signage
2. 10 meters from the store – Show window
3. Point of entry – Store directory
4. Display on merchandise fixtures – Category signage
5. Staircases/escalators/lifts - Captive viewpoints
6. Mood windows – Windows which display a new arrival or theme
7. Focal points – Category specific themes highlighting the salient features
8. High points – Props within the merchandise display shelf highlighting a particular SKU
9. Colour blocking – Laying out merchandise with colour blocks to highlight shades
10. Shelf talkers – On shelf product detailing and descriptions

Each of these elements either attracts the customer or cues her/him towards a category or a product. Displays can be
structured according to the tasks they adopt, which may be to:
1. Attract footfall,
2. Cue products and
3. Create theme

Any display has to take into account various parameters that decide the kind of display element to be used. If, for example, these elements are to be used in a large street-facing, window then the size of the prop has to be large enough to be visible to a passer-by. The colour of the prop has to ensure that the elements are visible both during the day when there is sunlight (sometimes sunlight falling directly on the window hinders visibility) and when it is lit up at night.

The following parameters need to be constantly measured to ensure that a display will deliver the objective which it
has been created with.
1. Prop size – Based on the viewing distance and the largest object in the front;
2. Colour – Visibility basis backdrop and contrast;
3. Balance – More product centric than prop centric;
4. Lighting – Should highlight the display; and
5. Location of the display point.

Financials: At the end, as is the case with any business, all efforts have to be measured for their financial viability. The rationale for deciding this will be based on the cost of the display element and its effect on the retail sales. Many a time, Visual Merchandisers are faced with the challenge of justifying the expenditure on props and execution.

The obvious way to justify these spends is to monitor the growth in sales that is happening as a result of the display. Often, it is difficult to correlate sales impact to VM spends. So, a Visual Merchandiser has to work in close association with the operation teams to identify the right theme, the right product to display, and, once the display has been implemented, to meticulously monitor the sales performance of those products that are highlighted.

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