How important is visual merchandising in apparel retail?
It is rightly said that first impression is the last impression. Visual merchandising (VM) is all about creating a good and lasting 'first impression' in the mind of the customer about the store and its merchandise. To put in simpler terms, VM is presenting a store's merchandise to the customer through its window display, in-store display, advertising and sales promotion. An effective display for a store and its merchandise is like a crisp trailer of an interesting movie which allures the audience to want more. A customer devotes only a few seconds to any store window or its display. If the display is able to arouse interest and attract attention within this time, it can convert any passer-by into a potential or actual client. Visual merchandising is an ongoing process and contributes significantly to the brand building exercise for any retail store or brand.
Better visual merchandising and window display also helps to increase sales as consumers get to experience the product in a better environment rather than just as stacks of garments kept in a neat pile. The consumer today demands state of the art service, global standard of the product, and international level of shopping experience.
A good display
is usually planned around a theme. Themes are usually thought of by
merchandisers at least a season in advance. Intervals can differ from
establishment to establishment. International standards support a 30-45 day
cycle. The reason is that repeat customers usually visit an establishment after
a gap of about that many days. Stores follow a VM calendar which gives a date
wise schedule of themes a store will follow through the year as per events,
festivals, product launches etc. Regional trends and preferences play an
important role in deciding themes for any store, e.g. Lohri is an important
festival in the North especially Punjab and Durga Puja in the East or West
Good Visual Merchandising also helps to show the merchandise in use, giving the customer ideas about the usage of the merchandise. This approach is very effective in interior based display especially in home décor items. In terms of display, the stores can either follow a concept of similar product merchandising where one can show the customer the depth of merchandise the store has on offer or cross mix merchandising wherein a number of unrelated products are displayed to create an interesting visual story.
Published on: 29/02/2012
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