What Story Are You Telling?

Growing up, I loved rearranging my bedroom. And when I say loved, I would rearrange and redesign my bedroom every two weeks. It was a way for me to see something new and communicate the type of person I wanted to be. 


Sometimes I wanted to communicate coziness, so I would corner my bed and put as many pillows as possible on it, making the space warm and inviting. 


Other times, I wanted to emphasize a clean look and make my workspace the center of my room, signaling that I was a hardworking and studious person. 


Every form my bedroom has taken over the years has told a different story of the person I wanted to be. As a retailer, you have the same opportunity to tell your story through visual merchandising. 


First, ask yourself what story you want to tell. 


A place to start is by looking at your company’s vision and mission statements and the components of both of them. What are your store’s driving forces? Values? 


From there, you can begin to carve out the story you want to tell to your customers. 


For example, let’s look at Nike’s mission statement. Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.” 


Breaking this down, inspiration and innovation is key for Nike. They also emphasize the importance that any body can be an athlete. This signals that they will be inclusive of all body types. 


With those things in mind, a way to convey their story through visual merchandising would be to think outside the box. They may use unconventional display items that are dynamic and use varying colors to spark innovation. In addition, if they want to inspire and innovate, highlighting new technologies in their shoes, clothing, etc. would be key. For instance, the Nike Alphafly running shoes have become a well-known shoe among the running community, and if you were to walk into a Nike store, a smart merchandiser would display those shoes in an elevated way, inspiring runners. 


Another component of Nike’s mission statement that should be seen through visual merchandising is using various body types through mannequins and clothing present. If you were to walk into a Nike store, would you be able to see varying body types of mannequins? Or find various ranges of sizes on shelves and racks? 


This is just one example, but these are the questions you have to ask yourself when you’re visual merchandising and storytelling. 


Storytelling through visual merchandising is an opportunity to engage your customers beyond customer service. When done right, it draws people into your store’s history and can make them feel like they are a part of it too, because they are. 


Another component of storytelling through visual merchandising is that it allows you and your staff to have fun with the process! Yes, I said visual merchandising can be fun. When you engage your staff in the process, they can contribute to the overall look of your store and help tell that authentic story.


So ask yourself what story you want to tell. Who do you want to tell that story to? What type of customer do you want to cater to? How many different variations of stories do you want to tell? 


These are the types of questions you have to ask yourself to hone in on your visual merchandising for your store and story.


Stay tuned next week, for the magic formula that brings numbers into the visual merchandising equation!


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