Window Dresser Extraordinaire
The latest news and trends from the world of visual merchandising.
Your “retail space” has to be your most productive salesperson and how you go about maximising the potential for it to create revenue is through the art and science of visual merchandising.
It is a discipline that requires creativity but there are also many tried and true methods that produce results which you can utilise when creating your own displays. Here we will be sharing with you some of our best tips for effective merchandising to not only catch your target customer’s attention, but get them to make that all important purchase as well.
Know your customer
Know your customer inside and out, beyond the demographic data such as age, income and education, by digging deeper into their psychology and behaviours. When you have a grasp on not just the individual but their lifestyles, it can help you tremendously when creating effective displays.
Engage the senses
Remember that People Have 5 Senses, Not 1. It can be really easy to only focus on the visual aesthetic of a display but the secret of super successful VM is to create an immersive multi-sensory experience or ‘sensory branding’. The music you play in a store has a meaningful yet subtle effect on customers behaviour and can be as simple as choosing a style to suit your chosen demographic. Touch is an easy to get right by ensuring you allow your customers opportunities to feel, try on etc the product. Retailers are catching onto a new science known as “scent marketing” with retailers targeting a sense which is strongly connected to emotion and memory. Taste is especially important if you are selling consumables, the equivalent of letting people try on clothes.
Show Don’t Tell
Designing a display so that people can identify with it and envision a product in their own homes or on themselves, is a highly effective merchandising tool. One way apparel retailers do this is by having their sales staff wear the clothing they’re selling but the easiest and most common example is of course the mannequin. Giving prospective customers an immediate point of reference to envision the product in practical use and it is selling itself.
The Rule of Three
Time and again, visual merchandisers refer to the rule of three, meaning that when creating a display try to work in sets of three. For example, when arranging a product using three side by side or in three different sizes. Our eyes are more likely to move around and keep looking when we see something asymmetrical. In much the same way the “Pyramid Principle,” where you step items down from the tallest article, forces the eye to look at the focal point and then work its way down.
Using lighting creatively can guide your customers to experience different moods and emotions based on your choices. Using spotlights to highlight certain products is also a guaranteed way to direct attention and make sure your top products receive attention.
Using these tips, go out and give them a try with your next merchandising display. The most important thing when trying to optimise you square footage for the most amount of sales is to think like a scientist; making a plan, executing the idea, testing for results and then trying it again until you find what works best. Happy visual merchandising!Read More
Welcome to Part 10 of our Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will introduce you to the design principles ‘Dominance/Emphasis’.
False eloquence is exaggeration; true eloquence is emphasis.
– William R. Alger
Something is recognised as being dominant if it has greater emphasis within a setting a setting or composition. Emphasis, in turn, is defined as the intensity that something has or the stress placed upon something so that it is given importance or significance. The element that is dominant will draw attention to itself and emerge from the other parts of a composition. It can create the centre of interest within a display or window that causes the eye to return again and again.
How we use Dominance/Emphasis:
The way we place the design elements can give dominance to one if placed so that it:
- contrasts others by size
- is distinct from the background
- has a distinct form or character
- is isolated from the rest
- is part of a group within a field of isolated elements
- is located at the end of a directional line or the focus of a symmetrical arrangemenet.
One way of achieving emphasis is by creating a focal point which is the point that catches the focus of the viewer’s attention. The focal point may be the largest, brightest, darkest, or most complex part of the whole, or it may get special attention because it stands out for some other reason. No more than one component should vie for primary attention. Where several components get equal billing, emphasis is canceled out.
4. The bright colours and patterns of these flowers could overpower the composition, but using only a single item in the entire window serves to emphasise the prestige of the product.
5. The bold black and white stripes dominate this window display but the vibrant yellow outshines even these, creating a focal point for the mannequin.
6. The natural headpieces of these mannequins dominate two thirds of this entire window to dramatic effect.
Coming up next in Part 11 of our Design Principles series we will be discussing ‘contrast’ – don’t miss out!
Catch up on our previous instalments:
Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?Read More
Welcome to Part 9 of our Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will introduce you to the first of our design principles ‘balance’.
It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.
– Andrew Wyeth
Balance can best be described as a feeling of equality of weight, attention, or attraction of the various elements within the composition as a means of accomplishing unity. Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It’s the weight distributed in the design by the placement of your elements. There are two forms of visual balance. These are symmetrical balance, also known as symmetry or formal balance, and asymmetrical balance, also known as asymmetry or informal balance. When components are balanced left and right of a central axis they are balanced horizontally. When they are balanced above and below they are said to be balanced vertically. And when components are distributed around the center point, or spring out from a central line, this is referred to as radial balance.
How we use balance:
In visual balance, each element of the design suggests a certain visual weight, a degree of lightness or heaviness. For example, light colors appear lighter in weight than dark colors or bright colors visually weigh more than neutral colors in the same areas. Balance is not achieved through an actual physical weighing process, but through visual judgment on the part of the observer. To balance a composition is to distribute its parts in such a way that the viewer is satisfied that the piece is not about to pull itself over.
1. This composition is horizontally balanced despite having two mannequins on one side and a single mannequin on the other by arranging the size of the props to mimic the mannequins and by mirroring the styling of the light shirt with dark jacket.
2. This window harnesses vertical balance with the black hand silhouettes spreading evenly on either side of a central line.
3. The designer has mirrored the mannequins dressed in black with towers of black books to balance this display visually.
4. The mannequins in this grouping have been arranged asymmetrically to soften the overall look, but the colour and placement of the large rose props creates visual balance.
5. This is a perfect example of a symmetrically balanced window where the structured arrangement of objects creates a sense of order and precision.
6. This window provokes an atmosphere of calmness and serenity by balancing the elements on a symmetrical axis.
If you enjoyed this installment in our Design Principles series stay tuned for Part 10: Dominance/Emphasis.
Catch up on our previous instalments:
Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?