Visual Merchandising Really is THAT Important
How my least favorite brand became my favorite brand, all thanks to visual merchandising.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever be wearing anything from Athleta, I would have laughed. Athleta, to me, was viewed as this pinnacle of athleticism that I would never reach. They were only suited for a specific body type - much like Lululemon, so I stayed clear.
However, in June of 2023, I stepped into my first Athleta store and was stunned. At that moment, my preconceived notions of Athleta vanished simply because of the store's visual merchandising.
If you have ever been into an Athleta store, you are welcomed with a lively, bright, and open space. It’s not overwhelming, clothes are neatly folded on tables, and mannequins are dressed in aesthetic outfits, while also looking like everyday people with varying body types. I could go on and on, but the moment that stuck out for me was when I decided to purchase a top that I never would have bought otherwise.
As I walked around the store that day, I came across this dark blue cropped tank top. I generally stay clear of cropped anything, but when I saw the mannequin outfitted in that top with a pair of high-waisted leggings and various other accessories, I fell in love with it. I could envision myself in that outfit running, walking my dog, getting lunch with friends, hiking, and much more.
After that moment, I purchased one more top, two pairs of running shorts, and a pair of casual pants that I wear more than I would like to admit. Not to mention, I signed up for their rewards program that day.
So, why does this matter?
I am a firm believer that visual merchandising can make or break a store's success because, for many, it is the first impression a customer gets of your store. For instance, when people walk past your store, they see it from the outside - from the windows. There is a reason it’s called “window shopping” because that is what attracts customers into your store if they are just walking around. So, wouldn’t you want it to be appealing?
As the holiday season approaches and new items make their way onto your sales floor, here are some key ideas to keep in mind when merchandising, to maximize your sales.
- Less is more. Yes, during the holiday season, it can be overwhelming with the amount of product coming in, and the need to get stuff on the floor tends to take precedence over merchandising. However, less on the floor increases customer interaction because you may have to go to the back to get a size or style not on the floor. In turn, that encourages connection with that customer that could lead to a new lifetime customer of your product(s).
- Merchandise for your customer base NOT for yourself. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my retail experience was making sure I was not merchandising for myself. Though many would say I have impeccable style (no one would say that lol), I found myself outfitting mannequins for me rather than the customer base we attracted. Examine who comes into your store the most and merchandise based on those demographics.
- Attention to detail. This can be a loaded statement for many working in the retail industry, yet, it is crucial. Are all the pants and shirts in order based on size? Are your water bottle logos facing the same way? Are you showcasing different features of that jacket? Are the hangers facing the same way? The list goes on and on, but paying attention to the little details elevates your customer's experience even more.
As you approach the holiday season, we hope you keep these ideas in mind and continue to maintain your merchandising practices. For more information, contact us with questions, and we would be happy to set up a 30-minute free consultation.
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