21 Jul 2020

How to visually merchandise your shop

Whether you’re wondering how to make your shop look enticing whilst following the Government’s Covid Secure guidelines or you just want to refresh your space, visual merchandising is key. To help you transform your retail space, we’ve enlisted the help of merchandising experts Cory Barrett and Paul Imbusch who have shared a few of their top tips.

Creating a safe space

Of course, at the moment, the number one priority for shops should be making people feel safe when browsing. This is Paul’s very first point; he says, “stores should be kitted out with fully stocked sanitation stations at the entrance so customers can sanitise their hands, the option to wear gloves and/ or anti-bac wipes to wipe down shopping baskets.”

But the safety element is more complex than that. As both Cory and Paul point out, social distancing provides a perfect opportunity to map the customer journey around your shop space. Paul’s top tip: “clear, concise and on-brand way-finding signage helps to direct customers around the store safely. This is a great opportunity to engage your customer through carefully considered and creative product displays… The consumer journey should be made as easy as possible for the consumer. No clutter and adequate space between fixtures for people to move around with ease and comfort.”

In fact, you can make your ideal customer journey even clearer than that; as Cory says, “the customer journey is literally mapped out in most stores with safety tape, acrylic barriers in place at the till point”, so bear this in mind when it comes to stocking your shelves. Cory continues, “with space at a premium with distancing measures in place, store owners have to be so much more cautious and creative make their customers just feel at ease”. If you have a small shop floor, make sure to create the illusion of space to put customers at their ease. You may need to rotate stock rather than have it all out at once if space is more of an issue.

Avoid sensory overload

This is a rule generally, but is more relevant now, when people have been inside their homes for so long, more than ever. To frame your stock in the best light, Paul says, “concise product displays should stand out, should never be over-crowded or over-stocked”.

The same goes for your window display. This is your biggest marketing tool to convert passersby to potential customers, so it makes sense to use this to your advantage. Right now, the inside of your store is just as important as what’s on display in your window, so show off all your hard work to make your shop an inviting space! Cory’s recommendation is to “reduce the amount of product so customers can see in the store and can see a safe welcoming environment”.

Talk to your customers

Yes, this is another guideline that applies all the time, but with less footfall than usual, this is now easier than ever. Paul advises, “this is a prime opportunity to engage with your customers on a deeper level than ever before. Be open for their feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask their opinion. It could prove to be invaluable info to be considered when it comes to buying in next season’s stock” or even just getting their thoughts on the layout and feel of your shop.

Of course, knowing your customer inside out will also help when it comes to informing your displays. Paul continues, “best seller knowledge and a clear understanding of consumer behaviours, favourite products and customs can really help you with your displays and offering exactly what your customers expect and need”.  

What next?

There’s no denying that this is a difficult time for retailers, and we’re not out of the woods yet. As Cory says, “the customer service and environment that you create will see you through”.  Whilst clear storytelling, a reduced product line up on display, inviting windows, and your safety measures are key, Cory’s number one tip is, “ensure you customer is safe and happy and the product will sell itself”.

Has the lockdown changed the way you merchandise your space? We would love to hear from you on email and social media, so get in touch!



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