Visual merchandising has always had the same goal: strategically promote products, drive revenue, and create a unique store experience. However, the role and execution have drastically changed in the last 50 years. Visual merchandisers need to adapt to the always-changing consumer behaviors, technological advancements, and the need for more immersive shopping experiences. If you’re not keeping up with the latest tools, you’re leaving revenue on the table!
The Start of Strategic Visual Merchandising
The paper planogram was created in the 1970s by the once mighty retailer Kmart as a means to optimally plan and place products throughout the store in order to drive an unmatched customer experience.
At this time, displays were limited to simple product arrangements on shelves or counters. However, as competition grew, retailers began to realize the importance of strategic visual presentation and the effect it had on sales and customer loyalty. Window displays became a powerful tool as well to attract the right customers. Retailers began understanding and leveraging even more creative elements such as lighting, props, and mannequins to tell a compelling visual story and engage customers. This creative insight then began to spread to in-store strategies. Retailers started experimenting with signage and fixture arrangements to enhance the overall shopping experience.
As time went on, visual merchandisers became more aware of strategic design and effective communication. They even began incorporating what they called “psychological elements” into their store plans. In 2023, we refer to the psychological elements as in-store marketing campaigns affecting customer behavior.
A lot changed over a short period of time, and there’s a ton to keep up with in the world of merchandising and not enough time to do it. It’s imperative for retailers to keep up in order to continue to attract engaged customers. The idea that each experience needs to be unique holds a lot of power, but also a lot of responsibility for visual merchandisers.
Innovative Retail Solutions
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, innovative retail solutions are playing a pivotal role in transforming the visual merchandising space. Visual merchandising tools like One Door, automate localization for store-specific outcomes. This ensures unique store-based experiences for customers can ease any additional planning challenges. Additionally, proper communication to empower in-store employees to feel confident setting up new plans helps visual merchandisers two-fold, ensuring in-store compliance, but also minimizing room for error. It’s also important to note the power of analytics for effective visual merchandising in order to understand where the in-store experience truly had an impact on customers and drive sales.
With visual merchandising tools like One Door, merchandising efforts are streamlined in one, simple platform. One Door centralizes all of your visual merchandising data. Retailers can manage and distribute store plans that are automatically tailored to each region down to the individual store level, ensuring consistent branding and customer experiences. One Door streamlines communication between headquarters and stores, reducing the time and effort required for manual coordination. The platform allows retailers to create and visualize planograms digitally, enabling them to experiment with different product placements, signage, and displays before implementation. This empowers retailers to make data-driven decisions, enhancing the effectiveness of their visual merchandising strategies.
Visual merchandising has evolved significantly over the years, adapting to consumer preferences, technological advancements, and the need for immersive shopping experiences. Innovative retail solutions like One Door are playing a crucial role in transforming the retail space by providing a cloud-based platform that streamlines visual merchandising operations, enhances planning capabilities, and leverages data analytics. As the retail industry continues to evolve, it is evident that these solutions will shape the future of visual merchandising, enabling retailers to create engaging experiences that drive customer satisfaction and boost sales.
Want a little more? Check out Designed to Sell: Visual Merchandising for Modern Retailers where our CEO discusses how stores require innovative solutions to succeed!