The Christmas season is a crucial one for retailers. This year it’s more important than ever as many brands and businesses try to use this time to make up for lost sales and opportunities earlier in the year. While there are many effective channels for reaching consumers at Christmas, from social media through to paid advertising, there is one that can really push efforts into overdrive and that’s visual merchandising. Working with visual merchandising is especially powerful at this time of year. It can not only help to bring customers to the brand but convert them into fans for the long term too. So, why is it essential right now?
Retail Marketing and Visual Merchandising: The Clue is in the Name
One of the reasons that this tool is so powerful is in the name - ‘visual’ merchandising. Consumers are attracted to visuals and those that are effective enough can really make a brand stand out. However, at this time of year it’s not just about adding some green and red and a few bows here and there. Truly powerful visual merchandising comes with a strong story woven through it. This is evocative and emotion-driven and goes beyond Christmas, triggering in a potential customer a feeling that they can follow to connect with the brand and its products or services on a wider scale.
Using visual display techniques in-store
Visual merchandising often starts with a well thought through window display that will bring customers looking to discover more through the door. However, once customers are in-store there needs to be something to keep them there and this can be achieved in a number of ways. For example, the use of colour can be a very powerful tool, not just in conveying festive messages but when it comes to evoking emotions too. It’s essential that whatever is being used in-store to engage customers - from displays and tables to fixtures and mannequins - achieves a balance between simplicity and variety. Going over the top can create a chaotic feeling that shoppers may want to escape from but too much minimalism may leave them bored.
A visual marketing: A comprehensive approach
Customers can experience a brand through many different touch points, sometimes in the same moment. They might be browsing in store and looking at the website at the same time to find prices or check for online discounts. Key to visual merchandising is ensuring that there is no friction between any of these channels and that each one flows cohesively together, supporting a thoroughly positive experience overall. Information and customer journey are two key elements that apply both to website and in-store experience. It’s essential to make sure that the way customers experience the website and the store is easy, simple, enjoyable and satisfying. Both should also be set up to deliver key information at the moments where customers need it, from online product descriptions to in-store signage.
Visual merchandising has a lot to offer retailers this Christmas. It’s an essential part of the process of attracting consumers and ensuring that they remain engaged with the brand.