By: Ms. Sharmila Dua and Dr. Anjali Karolia


Visit any mall today and chances are that almost half, if not more shops would be selling garments. In a highly competitive environment where brand names are increasing on the fashion and lifestyle clothesline, garment brand promoters are working on customer pull and retention strategies. Store design, in a sense has more to do with perceiving, understanding and seducing customers through sophisticated marketing, than with the act of merely creating and designing a physical space in which goods are sold.


"Although the primary attraction is the brand name itself, the added quality of the retail experience plays an important role in the overall customer experience" says Hemchandra Javeri, President, Madura Garments.


Whether it is Visual Merchandising (VM) or showroom layouts, brands are gelling particular about giving a complete brand experience to its customers. "VM plays a huge role in the overall customer experience" says Nitin Kasliwal, MD, SKNL (6).


Visual Merchandising is the most useful creative art as far as retail business is concerned be it a department store, specialty store, hotels or even petrol pumps. Though it has emerged on the international scene as one of the most important aims of retailing, it is slowly establishing an identity in India.



The store derives as much of its identity, character and gravity from its physical contours, as from the products it houses and the individuals who manage the transactions there in. It includes not only the products on sale but also the decor, the shop floor and ceiling, restrooms and trial rooms, staff uniforms, lipstick color of female personnel and tie knots of male personnel. It is also inclusive of the attitude of your personnel who interact with customers. Hence everything that makes an impact on the perspective customer is part of visual merchandising.



In the fashion business, however it is usually confused as being part of Fashion Merchandising. But if on one hand, Fashion Merchandising deals with activities involved in the buying and selling of textiles, apparel and accessories at the wholesale and retail levels, on the other hand, activities involved in making sure that the visual appearance of a fashion retailer look its best in order to attract customers comes under the purview of visual merchandising (1).


So what exactly is Visual Merchandising?


According to Apurv Satdeve, "Visual Merchandising is a perfect understanding of one's business strategy filtered into highly creative solutions" (8).


Everything that meets the eye of the customer is a part of visual merchandising. One cannot over - simplify the VM imperative, since it is not just about the physical contents of a store.


The store derives as much of its identity, character and gravity from its physical contours, as from the products it houses and the individuals who manage the transactions there in.


In tangible terms, it includes not only the products on sale but also the decor, the shop floor and ceiling, restrooms and trial rooms, staff uniforms, lipstick color of female personnel and tie knots of male personnel. It is also inclusive of the attitude of your personnel who interact with customers. Hence everything that makes an impact on the perspective customer is part of visual merchandising.