Visual merchandising is one of the most powerful tools available to modern retailers. When used correctly, it allows brands to easily showcase their products and services while also crafting a unique look and feel for their store. A strong visual merchandising strategy has incredible potential to increase sales and revenue, so retailers who neglect or overlook this fact will be doing so at their brand’s expense. With this in mind, let’s have a look at five visual merchandising techniques that work especially well for wireless retailers.
Guide customers through the store
A good visual merchandising strategy does more than highlight a brand’s products—it guides customers through a store. Well-placed displays have the ability to grab customers’ attention and direct them where the store wants them to go. These displays can engage with customers and speak to them in subtle, non-intrusive ways that encourage the exploration of the store without appearing too "salesy". This means visual merchandising is becoming an important factor in how brands can rethink their store layout to enhance the customer experience.
Communicate the image of the brand
Due to the competitive nature of the wireless retailer industry, it's essential that brands differentiate themselves in how they speak to their core consumers. Visual merchandising offers a great way to clearly and instantaneously explain your brand’s story and purpose. In this way, retailers need to consider their store as being a place for customers to experience their brand, rather than a place to simply sell their products. Visual elements send instant and obvious messages about what your store sells, who it caters to, and what it stands for, and allows customers to feel they are buying into something, rather than simply purchasing an item.
For some wireless retailers, this may mean accentuating their high-tech expertise through their signage, while for others, it might require the creation of a warm and welcoming environment. Think about what your brand is and how you want it to be perceived, and allow your in-store displays to echo this sentiment.
Invest in daring digital signage
One of the best tools omnichannel retailers use to spread their brand story is digital signage. These electronic screens offer companies multiple benefits: the capacity to entertain patrons and educate them about products, the flexibility to adjust messaging easily (versus physical signage), and a “wow” factor as flashy videos light up the aisles. But how can digital signage be used in an omnichannel way to gain more in-store traffic?
T-Mobile made a splash at its Times Square store by incorporating massive touchscreen interfaces and even bigger digital displays. These big, bright, and bold displays stand out even in a location known for loud messaging. Digital signage is an ideal addition to a virtual merchandising effort—even if retailers can’t match the scale of T-Mobile—as the interactive nature of animated displays makes for an engaging, educational, and enticing experience. They also give retailers more freedom and flexibility over the visual landscape of the store, which can lead to a unique design.
Also several hotels have found that employing digital signage to serve useful information to guests increases traffic and provides opportunities to enhance brand significance. For example, Marriott's SpringHill Suites used digital signage to supply helpful information about nearby gallery openings and other local events, travel details like weather conditions, and much more—plus a QR code that let patrons access the hotel's exclusive Pandora online radio station. This means someone might get in the habit of stopping by for helpful data (increasing in-store traffic) and continue developing personal ties to the hotel brand while away from the property.
A good digital signage solution can provide just about any content companies can envision. That includes general information that draws in-person traffic (such as a video calendar of local events) as well as brand-specific messages designed to drive conversions and increase brand loyalty.
Use customer data to push the right products
The hard part of visual merchandising is figuring out the details. Being bold and creative is important, but visual merchandising is generally more effective when it’s guided by customer data. Pulling data from a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) tool and other customer-facing touchpoints reveal what, when, why, and how people actually shop within a retail environment. That data directly informs what products retailers choose to emphasize, what messaging they rely on, and where they locate signs and displays. This approach is always more effective because it works with—rather than against—the consumer’s natural instincts and preferences.
Analyzing shopper selfies
Anyone familiar with the GoPro phenomenon or image-heavy social media sites such as Instagram knows that selfies are huge. So is shopping. Put the two together, and retailers have a major magnetic pull into their brick-and-mortar outlets.
Victoria's Secret ran a successful campaign that demonstrates how retailers can capitalize on the excitement shoppers feel when they encounter a hot brand and want share their experience with the world. In 2015, the lingerie business used Instagram to ask devoted customers to travel to Victoria's Secret locations, snap selfies in front of window displays, upload the pics to the Internet with certain hashtags, and tell sales
Create consistency across channels
In the age of the omnichannel, visual merchandising efforts must be consistent throughout physical and digital environments. A simple example is using the same color scheme in-store, on your website, and in your app. Retailers understand that visual merchandising is important online, but they often fail to realize how important it is to streamline efforts across channels. When a store looks and feels different depending on the channel, it creates customer confusion and can discourage sales.
The best general tactic for visual merchandising is to balance basics with boldness. The visual landscape of a store must be appealing and intuitive, but it must also be interesting and exciting. The wireless retailers that strike the best mix create stores that are true destinations for their customers.
Contrary to the buzz about e-commerce replacing brick-and-mortar, getting consumers in the doors of physical retail locations remains crucial to brands' success.
After all, primary household shoppers in the United States dramatically prefer in-store purchasing over digital buying for nearly every product category. As evidenced by recent surveys, shoppers still want to shop in-store.
The challenge for retailers following an omnichannel approach, then, is to capture in-store traffic in a way that's compatible with online offerings. That way, both realms—offline and cyber—can work together seamlessly.
To achieve this goal, companies can use visual merchandising techniques that strategically arrange retail space to encourage transactions. Here are some ways to leverage Internet assets to enhance stores' appeal.
Succeeding at visual merchandising requires the right hardware and software. Find out how you can implement retail technologies without disrupting your merchandising.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Affendy Soeto, Shutterstock / Tooykrub, Shutterstock / Tinxi