Merchandising a Retail Store: Tips

Visual merchandising is all about catching your customers attention, bringing them in to your store, encouraging them to look at products they may not otherwise have noticed or realised they wanted, creating an atmosphere that encourages the customer to browse, and of course, maximising your sales.

If you have a blank canvas it can be difficult to know where to start, equally if you have a mature business it can be difficult to decide how and where to integrate new stock. We’ve researched the defining visual merchandising techniques and pulled together our top tips on visual merchandising.

1. Be timely

Timing is everything, and visual merchandising is no different. Out of date displays will leave your customer disillusioned, after all how can they expect the most up to date products if your Valentine’s theme is still in place at Easter.

Update your displays regularly, use national holidays to guide your main displays, but make sure you keep your secondary displays current as well. If you’ve got new stock, show it off, if you need to make space remove older displays starting with products ranges that are well established.

There’s a whole host of products available to make keeping your display current easy, tailors dummies and shop mannequins are perfect, with a quick clothing change immediately refreshing your display.

Props such as paper carrier bags are also really easy to change and use again in a different display.

2. Use lighting

Lighting can be used successfully both inside your store and in your shop window displays to encourage customers to focus on the items you want to draw the most attention to.

If you’ve created an eye-catching window display, but the item you really want to push is melting into the background, use lighting to pick it out.

Display cubes can be a strong tool when using lighting to pick up on individual products, use the reflections from the display cube to really make the most of your illumination.

3. Think about customer’s impulses

Most of the customers stepping into your store with have an idea of what they want, but successful visual merchandising will direct them to the products they didn’t know they wanted.

Group products that go together, the customer may be coming in to buy a new dress, but if your visual merchandising brings the matching handbag and shoes to their attention you stand to increase their spend.

It’s likely your dresses will need to be displayed on a shop clothes rail, make use of any space you have close to the rails to display the perfect shoes and handbag to accompany the dress.

Visual Merchandising Tips


4. Think about inside and outside

Make sure your focusing on both bringing the customer into your store and getting the most out of them whilst they’re inside.

Use your window display to grab attention, highlight your most sought after products, the items you know your customers will love.

Use your internal displays to upsell, bring the customers attention to items they may not otherwise have taken an interest in.

5. Keep the whole store tidy

Eye catching displays can do a lot, but the layout of your store and the how easy it is for customers to browse is just as important.

Make sure your customers aren’t becoming frustrated by products falling over or off hangers, and do regular checks of your displays to ensure they finish the day looking as great as they started.

Clothing falling on to the floor, rails breaking and products being put back in the wrong place are common problems. A heavy duty clothes rail could help alleviate this.

Visual Merchandising Techniques


Valentino’s offer a huge variety of shop fittings to help you create beautiful, engaging visual merchandising, visit our website to see for yourself.

How do you use visual merchandising in your store? We’d love to hear your visual merchandising tips. Let us know in the comments section below.

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Maximise Floor Space With Our Shop Fitting Tricks

Whether your retail unit is small and dark, large and airy or somewhere in between, it’s important to make the most of the space you have available. Our shop fitting tricks will help make even the smallest, darkest space appealing and welcoming to your customers by utilising the space you have available to you.

1. Don’t overcrowd your space with furniture

Less is definitely more when it comes to furnishing your space. It’s easy to get carried away with shopfittings, wanting your customers to have a place to sit and wait, but your store will feel much more welcoming to customers if you have clear walkways and easy routes to products for browsing.

2. Clever use of mirrors gives the impression your space is bigger

This links nicely in with tip number 3, mirrors will help reflect natural light around your store. They’ll also create the illusion of a bigger space making even a small area feel accessible and welcoming.

If you’re a clothes retailers its likely you’ll be used to displaying mirrors in you store, but this trick is suitable for any retail space.

Make sure you keep your mirrors clean though, streaks can spoil the illusion.

Shop fitting tricks


3. Use light and colour to create the illusion of space

It’s possible to use light and colour to help make the most of the space you have to play with. Take advantage of any natural light you have and compliment this with artificial lighting to ensure brightness throughout.

If you’re limited on natural light use bright colours to maximise it, dark colours may be your preference but can lead to your store feeling like a confined space that customers can’t wait to escape.

4. Make sure your store is as neat and tidy at the end of the day as it was at the beginning

Clutter takes up space, even if it’s not actually taking up space it feels like it is. Clean lines, space under your shop clothes rails and clear walkways all contribute to the feeling of space.

Have a plan for the shop to be checked regularly so you can ensure your last customer has the same impression of your store as the first.

5. Reach for the stars

Your shop floor area may be small, but by making use of the height of your store you can free up vital floor space. It’s advisable not to display stock at a height unreachable to the average person, but the space above is perfect for signage and promotions. If you can’t fit a shop dummy comfortably onto the floor it’s worth considering using the higher wall space.

If you’re a clothing retailer showcasing your stock on shop mannequins is really important, so, baring tip 1 in mind, if you don’t have the floor space, look at how you can utilise your wall or ceiling space.

Maximise floor space with a shop dummy


Valentino’s Displays are the shopfitting shop, providing a wide range of shopfitting supplies available for delivery in the UK. Visit our website to see for yourself.

How have you used your shop fittings to make the most of your floor space? If you’ve any tricks of your own we’d love to hear, let us know in the comments section below.

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Brexit For Retailers

Following the EU referendum last year and the decision to leave the EU, there’s been a lot of confusion about what it will mean for UK businesses. In this blog we’ll be focusing on how Brexit will affect retailers, looking at the facts, and trying to cut through some of the speculation, as the country prepares for a Britain no longer in Europe.

There’s been a lot of talk about hard Brexit and soft Brexit and, with 2 years of negotiations ahead of us, it’s impossible to say what kind of deal they will strike. Add to this the snap General Election taking place in June, it’s understandable that frustrations in the UK are building.

Brexit For Retailers


Below we’ve covered some of the key Brexit subjects for retailers:

1. Uncertainty affects consumer confidence

At times of political and economic uncertainty consumer spending slows down, especially on non-essential items. We may have already seen the worst of this, but with the added concerns of a snap General Election, consumer confidence could further reduce. That said, once the negotiations are done and dusted and we all know where we stand, consumer confidence should begin to recover.

2. Most UK retailers rely on staff from the European Union

The current Prime Minister has refused provide reassurance that EU nationals working in the UK will have their residency protected, although she did highlight this as a negotiation priority in her Article 50 letter. With the potential for a new government prior to negotiations commencing, it’s difficult to predict how Brexit will impact upon access to the workforce in European Union member countries, but there is a possibility recruitment in retail could become more difficult.

3. If the value of the pound decreases prices will increase

The value of the pound has already been negatively impacted following the EU referendum result, as a consequence Mothercare have announced they will be increasing prices by up to 5% this summer. As the pound weakens the cost of imported goods and fuel increases, and with the snap election knocking sterling’s climb, it’s likely more and more retailers will need to decide whether to increase prices or take a hit on their margins. However, once uncertainty starts to settle down it’s likely the pound’s value will stabilise and may even recover.

4. Changes to tariffs and legislation will impact retailers

It’s impossible to say what the effect of any changes will be at this stage, it all depends on the success of the trade negotiations as we leave the EU. It’s likely the costs of buying from Europe will increase, again retailers will need to decide whether to take the hit themselves or pass it on to consumers. However, the UK will be free to strike trade deals outside of Europe, which could offset any increase in costs from EU imports.

Britain In Europe


Amongst all the political and economic uncertainty having a focus is important for UK retailers as Brexit goes through, focusing on these 4 key areas, and having a plan in place for each possible scenario will help you be ready to move forward whatever the outcome. For those able to respond, change is often the mother of opportunity.

What are your concerns about Brexit? Do you have a plan of action to limit the impact, or even take advantage of Brexit, for your retail business? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Are Plastic Hangers Recyclable?

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your excess coat hangers, you may have asked Google if they are recyclable, perhaps hoping for a simple “yes, just pop them in your recycling bin”, but it’s more likely Google’s answer was a bit more “possibly, maybe, it depends” than you were hoping for.

The simple answer is, some plastic hangers are recyclable, and some aren’t, some recycling centres take them and some don’t. This causes a problem, with many plastic hangers that could be recycled going to landfill, and many that can’t be recycled taking a detour to the recycling plant before reaching landfill. It’s estimated that plastic of this kind in landfill can take up to 1,000 years to break-down, so recycling wherever possible is really important if we don’t want to run out of land to fill anytime soon.

So, how do you know if you can recycle your plastic hangers?

It depends on the type of material that went into the hangers originally, solid plastic hangers are generally made from one of two plastic resins, polypropylene (PP) or polystyrene (PS), and if this is the only material used in the production of the hangers i.e. there’s no metal or other materials included, the hangers will be, in theory, recyclable.

Your plastic hangers should be marked with a RIC code to identify which plastic resin they’re made from.

Are plastic hangers recyclable?


The difficulty for the recycling plants is knowing which resin the hangers are made from and having the facilities to sort them by resin type, as once different resins are mixed together the material becomes unusable.

If the plastic hanger also has metal components, like the type you generally find in clothing stores, it’s less likely they’ll be recyclable, but if you remove the metal parts first this may make them acceptable.

The best course of action if you’d like to recycle your plastic hangers is to get in touch with your local council’s recycling team, tell them what the RIC code is on your hangers, and they should be able to tell you if they can accept them. You can find your local recycling team’s details here.

What to do with them if they can’t be recycled

If your local recycling service are not yet set up to be able to take plastic hangers, there are still options to prevent them ending up in landfill sites.

  1. Check with your local charity shop. It’s likely they’ll be more than happy to take them off your hands.
  2. Drop them off to the local drycleaners. It may be that some of your hangers came from there in the first place, and most dry cleaners will be happy to re-use them.
  3. Keep some of them. If you’ve got some extra hangers in your wardrobe, next time you buy something new and they ask you if you want the hanger, you can confidently say no. This way the shop can re-use them.

Whatever you decide to do with your plastic coat hangers, hopefully there are enough options available to prevent them ending up in landfill.

Have you got any ideas we haven’t thought of to stop plastic coat hangers ending up in landfill sites? We’d love to hear your ideas, the more creative the better! Let us know below.

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