Deciding on a great visual display for your small business


There is a lot of competition on the high street. Your small business display is competing with the big players, like Debenhams and, depending on where you are based, Selfridges, Harrods or John Lewis. These companies have the same common goal, to create attractive enough displays that you are charmed into entering the store and parting with your hard-earned cash. Valentino’s believe shops know that visualisation holds the key to purchasing, they have to create enough a persuasion to entice the customers from the window and into the store.

You want to present a visual display that reflects whatever is going on in-store. The aforementioned Selfridges are the kings of visual display, they have been doing this kind of thing for over a hundred years. They appeal to devoted customers and new window shoppers alike by having eye-catching designs promoting sales, or new stock. They always keep displays looking extremely neat and tidy; everything they do is about brand recognition and consumer loyalty. Of course, the Selfridges workforce is thousands strong, including some very talented Visual Merchandisers and Designers. The basic principles they use are simple, so there is no reason why you cannot create something similar in your own shop.

A visual display is a way that your shop connects to customers, it is the thing that they will most remember from their visit. Psychologically, the shops throw out various different tactics all the time to try and get buyers in through the door.

Be Eye-catching

The windows are the main gateway for customers into your shop. It is the message that your business shouts for all of the World to see. That is why it can make or break sales, it reflects the heart of your business. An eye-catching window display is essential for getting customers through the door. Nobody notices (or talks about) the mundane.

There are many techniques that you can utilise to make your visual merchandising interesting, without breaking the bank. Tell the story of your shop, your history and, perhaps most importantly, identify what demographic you are trying to appeal to.

Keep it simple and clean

Don’t clutter up your window with a clash of too many ideas. Use invisible wires, bright colours, and you can even use layers to give a 3D effect. Think outside of the box. Exceedingly cheap items, like balloons or glitter, can be mixed with props like mannequins to create a stunning display.

Windows that are clean are essential because they let customers see into the shop. Dead insects, smudges on the inside or outside, or cracks can all spoil the effect of even the most perfect of visual displays.

Nicely positioned shelves can help create prime positions for your main stock. Planning out colour is essential when designing your visual display; colour coding and grouping similar shades together can really make your display pop. Keep it simple, create contrasting colours and peak customer interest by showing off your best stock on the eye-level shelves. There is also a fine line between full and cluttered.

Think about impulse buys!

Merchandise near the till or displayed on the aisle lines increases the rate of impulse buys. Think about the chocolate and chewing gum near the till in your local supermarket. Identify the bestselling “hot spots” in your shop, ensure the shop shelving is in the appropriate places of the store.

Whether you are in a tiny or a large space in your shop, it is a guarantee that you can utilise whatever space you have effectively.

DIY unusual shelves can be made from bits of unused furniture and, in this case, an old ladder. These can further add to the environment in your shop. Remember to spread everything out evenly. Customers will avoid cluttered areas, areas where there are too many staff, and dirty or neglected areas.

Lighting is essential for your shop to be a success

Without lighting, customers cannot see into your shop and assess what you sell. Correct lighting for your shop can make you stand out, in a big way.

There is nothing better than wandering down a darkened street in the evening and seeing a beautifully lit shop with an impressive visual display illuminating the stock. It warms customers up, draws their eyes to the focal point of your shop and gives them incredible buyers confidence.

The ambience in the store is important and that can be created by some specifically placed lighting. Try to connect the mood in the shop with the lighting, to further enhance your customer’s experience.

The importance of Mannequins

Mannequins are one of the most popular objects that are used in visual displays because they are perfect for communicating your stock to customers and they can be revamped each month to convey the latest trends. Mannequins are versatile, can be used in any number of ways and are the perfect way to present your stock to potential buyers.

Changing the position or stance of your mannequin can make a big difference to your display. Another great way to use mannequins in the display is to recreate well-known scenes that are going to appeal to your audience in a big way. Harrods may have a lot more of a visual merchandising budget than the average small business, but their basic tried and tested methods can be used by everyone. They deem it worth it to spend a proportion of their profit on a wonderful window display when loyal customers would still shop there even if they had no windows.

Aside from traditional mannequins, there are displays like these, which open up a whole new world and don’t cost as much to execute as you might think. A few well-placed props, mannequins and a great idea can have everyone in the city talking about your wonderful visual display.

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