Good Visual Merchandising Is More Than Just A Holiday Thing!

“There’s nothing like the holidays to draw attention to the impact of visual merchandising,” says Retail Dive. “It’s the time of year when the art form is most apparent and robust. Stores decorate windows, malls create Santa wonderlands and displays become more colorful and complex.”

Source: Adobe Stock

And while shoppers are admiring the festive decor and compelling product displays, something in their head clicks, and they think, “I wonder if my best friend would love that Santa figurine on the shelf.”

Such is the power of visual merchandising during the holidays. But is it any less important during the rest of the year?

The Vital Importance of Merchandising in Driving Sales

In the digital age in which we live, visual merchandising is more important than ever. Why? Consider the following statistics from Intelligence Node:

  •    The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds or less—shorter than the attention span of a goldfish
  •    65% of people say they’re visual learners
  •    Visuals increase message retention by 42%

As this information demonstrates, retailers must blend artistry and data science to create visual merchandising that will help them get their message across faster and with greater impact.

“Merchandising, at its core, utilizes product placement and displays to drive sales. It’s an art form that draws on data, understanding what drives shoppers and creative problem-solving. When done well it pushes a brand narrative that evokes something joyous and personal.It can also provide touchpoints so consumers understand how to interact with products, especially at a time when shoppers are distracted.”

Source: Retail Dive:

While visual merchandising is certainly about product placement in a store, it also tells the story of a brand and envelops shoppers in an experience.

And as Retail Dive points out, these days retailers are increasingly about that experience—year round. Take, for example,  Glossier’s flagship store in SoHo where Instagram-friendly photo ops surround products and shoppers can play with makeup.

Source: Retail Dive

In Lululemon’s 5th Avenue store in New York City, customers can try out “zen pods”, along with self-guided or guided meditations. Sephora, too, offers immersive experiences with its Beauty TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshops where shoppers have the opportunity to learn about products and makeup application techniques. Additionally, the store offers workstations equipped with Wi-Fi, USB ports, and iPads, allowing customers to browse online and share looks.

“In a time of increased competition for consumer dollars, thoughtful merchandising can be a key factor for increasing sales,” states  Retail Dive. And according to Eric Feigenbaum, New York editor of Visual Merchandising and Store Design magazine, visual merchandising is more about creating a deep connection with the customer than it is about the bottom line.

“Stores are no longer just a place to sell stuff. They are places for social engagement. They are places to learn, places to interact.”

Source: Retail Dive


“In the age of speed, the window dressing of visual merchandising is neither fluffy nor trivial – it is a critical business asset that drives retail conversions in stores . . . ,” says Intelligence Node.

Considering the short attention span of shoppers, visual merchandising must express the retailer’s message with thoughtful and consistent visual cues across all touchpoints.

Retailers that comprehend the importance of visual merchandising and invest in it throughout the year, blending digital and traditional methods that capture and immerse customers in unique experiences, will continue to stay relevant and enjoy a boost in sales.

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Also published on Medium.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.