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  • Verity Gray

5 Visual Merchandising Tips to Improve Your Displays

I recently set myself a challenge on Instagram to post visual merchandising display tips every week. I got a lovely response from my followers who seemed to find the tips useful, so I have collated them altogether here to create a blog post.

Tip #1 - Use Contrast.

If your displays are looking too chaotic with loads of different colours, patterns and textures, then a simple way to sort it out is by using contrast lines. To do this, you will need to pull together all the products that have the same colour or pattern in common e.g. all your red products together, or all your products with a Summer floral pattern on it. Then alternate the product groups to make contrast lines, so you have a row of pattern followed by a row of plain colour, followed by a row of glass products for example. Or on a garment rail use plain colour hanging clothing in between patterned clothing.

This display technique creates a cleaner more graphical appearance, which is really useful when your product offering has got quite random due to sell through rates and fragmented lines. It creates visual 'rests' for the eye which makes the display much more aesthetically pleasing.

Tip #2 - Get More Height!

Create more height in your display and you will create more impact. There is an old retailing term 'eye level is buy level', which is really useful to remember when working on your displays. Customers will naturally look at eye level which is why this is the most valuable spot to place product. If you think about supermarket shelves, you will always find the cheap products on the bottom shelf. The premium brands will be straight in front of you (at eye level) and the middle ranges above and below this spot. So when you're next creating a table top display, try and raise some of products up to eye level. When you're creating displays in your windows, also aim to get product at eye level not just down below on the window bed. Increasing the visibility of products will always enhance your sales.

Tip #3 - Tell a Story.

When you are trying to get more height in your shop displays, give some consideration to the riser or plinth. Avoid using clear plastic risers and try to chose something related to your display. This is a great opportunity to create a story. For example, if you're displaying natural or organic product ranges try using log rounds. They're great for adding in texture and conjuring up images of nature and woodlands. If you're trying to build a seasonal Summer display, how about using buckets and spades or vintage suitcases. This will tell a story of holidays, travel and long hot days on the beach.

Tip #4 - Give Products Some Breathing Space.

I understand that space can be limited and you need to get as much stock out as possible (your stock room is bursting and you need to sell down some lines to make space for new stock). However, if your displays are rammed full then customers won't even want to look. They'll take a glance then walk away, because visually it will look like too much hard work.

Instead, work in a little breathing space around the product. Create some visual 'rests' for your customer's eyes. This will encourage the customer to look and draw them along, looking at more and so increasing the product's visibility.

Tip #5 - Consider the Composition.

Now you have a little breathing space around the products, try thinking about the composition and how you're grouping items together. Make product displays more pleasing on the eye and engage your customers.

Group in pyramid and triangular shapes, starting at the top then drawing the eye down. Another classic retail phrase is 'Mountain, forest, lake' and this refers to placing the largest product at the rear, so it isn't blocked by the smaller 'trees' or the 'lake'. This also encourages the eye to start at the top and move downwards, reading all of the display.

Odd numbers are always more aesthetically pleasing, try using 3 or 5 of each product. Repetition can create a lot of impact too.

Colour blocking (similar theory to using contrast) can simplify a display and create a powerful graphical look.

Now look again at your shop displays...

Too cluttered, too low, too full or not telling a story? Now you know some ways to improve them. I hope these quick tips will help you make those displays better. If you're not sure where to begin, get in touch I'd love to help you. If you would like more display tips like these, give me a follow on Instagram or sign up to my newsletter.

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