Why Visual Merchandising is So Important to Retail Success

If you’ve seen a product in a shop window and been drawn in by its visual appeal, you’ve experienced the power of visual merchandising first-hand. Visual merchandising is the delicate balance of science and art of creating attractive product displays in retail stores and other commercial settings that tempt customers into making purchases.
5 september 2022

This subtle form of marketing involves creative styling, lighting, colors, display props, and even technology to create the best possible visual presentation for retail products. Visual merchandising includes in-store displays and display windows, and it’s an essential part of retail design.

This blog post will explain exactly what visual merchandising is and how to create displays that generate the maximum effect. We will also discuss nine critical aspects of visual merchandising, and how you can implement them in your own retail store.

So let’s get started!

Visual Merchandising display by Beth R Martin (bethrmartin.com)
Silk scarves are the visual merchandising focal point in this window display I designed for Hermès.

What is Visual Merchandising?

Standing out in the retail world is tough, and the best way to do this is with visual merchandising. This is the science of optimizing product placement and displays to create the most appealing visual presentation possible.

By using color theory, lighting, and other design techniques, visual merchandisers can make products more attractive, encouraging customers to buy.

Effective visual merchandising will not only increase sales but will also cohesively represent a brand’s image. Visual elements should create a space that speaks to the customers.

Every part of the store where products are displayed counts as visual merchandising, so you want to make sure an impact is being made on your customer even before they walk through your front door.

Visual Merchandising display by Beth R Martin (bethrmartin.com)

Why Is Visual Merchandising Important?

Using the practice of visual merchandising to your advantage is essential for four main reasons:

  1. To let your customers understand your brand’s identity, and attract the appropriate customers for your shop. For example, luxury goods are typically displayed more subtly with soft lighting and lots of visual space between products. A store with a younger audience might use bright colors and bold visuals to draw in its target customer.
  2. A great in-store experience will make your customers want to return to see your space in person. This is extra important in the days of online shopping when customers need a reason to not just make purchases from the comfort of their homes.
  3. If you create an atmosphere in your retail store that feels more like a special event, you are more likely to engage new customers and keep them coming back.
  4. And most importantly, fantastic visual merchandising will create business and drive sales, which is the whole point. I’ve worked on many displays where customers purchased the products in the windows as soon as I placed the merchandise.

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