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An Essential Guide To Visual Merchandising

by Louise W. Rice

Visual merchandising. It’s a term we’ve all heard before, but do you really know it means? If not, you could be missing out on vital sales and conversions.

When done well, visual merchandising can bring in big bucks for your business, but if done poorly, it could push people the other way.

What is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising refers to the way shop floors, window displays and retail settings are laid out in order to maximise sales.

What are the Staples of Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is one part of knowing your customer base and one part having a creative eye.

It’s absolutely imperative that you understand your customers and their buying habits. If you don’t, you will never be able to put together an effective visual merchandising campaign. Not being good at design is an easier challenge to deal with because there are a wealth of professional visual merchandisers who are experts in their field, but if you don’t give them a clear idea of who your clientele is, not even the best visual merchandiser in the world will be able to create a good display.

If you don’t have the budget for hiring a professional visual merchandiser, there are a handful of tips and tricks you can employ to boost conversions.


The first thing you need to consider is the backdrop for your campaign. A huge part of this comes down to colour. You want your display to stand out, but it needs to be relevant to your client base.

If your customers are predominantly older, a neon colour scheme probably won’t appeal to them, but something more muted will. That being said, if you’re having a sale, red is always an excellent colour to use in your display because it incites a sense of urgency and people are more likely to feel compelled to enter your shop. If your shop sells wellness products, blue is a great colour to use in your displays and throughout your interior because it quells anxiety and puts people at ease.

Pops of colour are important, but so is letting your products breathe. Don’t underestimate the power of white space. If your display or shop is too busy with lots of overbearing colours and tonnes of product crammed into tiny spaces, it could quite easily put people off.

Choosing Products

You need to ensure your window matches the content of the shop. If you’re selling homewares and have a small section of your shop for automotive accessories, your display needs to reflect this. In this instance, lead with homewares – ideally the most popular products in your shop. If you lead with car parts but this is only a small section of your shop, you risk deterring your main customer base.

As a general rule of thumb, put your most popular products on your window display and at the front of your shop. Doing so will encourage people to come in and see what else you have to offer.


No one wants to be swerving in and out of aisles inside a shop. Keep your walkways clear and encourage the customer’s eyes to move around the shop by creating dynamic stands in clear areas. For example, keep all your underwear products in their own section and not dotted around the coats section; make sure your candles are separate from your teacups.

Stay Relevant

If you’re selling clothes and it’s autumn, set up an autumnal scene in your window. Artificial lawn, orange leaves and a display of coats, hats, and scarves are good to start. If you were to put up a summery display with sand, rubber rings and swimwear in the middle of winter, it probably wouldn’t attract many customers into your shop because most people aren’t looking to buy a bikini in December. It’s not relevant, so make sure to keep on top of trends.

More people than ever are choosing to shop online, so it’s absolutely vital that you use visual merchandising to your advantage and offer customers something they can’t experience online if you’re going to compete successfully with your internet rivals.

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