The Value of Visual Merchandising in the Retail Space

Similarly to all art forms, visual merchandising relies heavily on gut instinct, experience and raw creativity. Knowing where to place display panels, implement pop-up shops and so on is something that can only partly be taught. A visual merchandising professional’s eye for product placement, display stands, organisation, colour, lighting, accommodating senses of touch, smell, taste and even the keen utilisation of sound governs their success in the competitive world of retail display.
Visual merchandising is about creation – creation of a look, a lifestyle, an atmosphere or a world within which potential customers see an element they desire. With the internet retail market so strong (and showing no signs of abatement) the importance of effective real-world marketing is more vital than ever.
The “pop-up shop” represents an exciting branch in visual merchandising. Often cited as the most challenging retail space to cater for in terms of budgetary limitations, resourcefulness and innovative visual merchandising techniques, the pop-up shop provides a transient, fleeting canvas upon which visual merchandising artists stamp their unique mark for all too fleeting a moment. The trick seems to be simplicity. Tried and tested tools such as traditional display stands and display panels are frequently customised to reflect the urban heartbeat that so often thuds at the centre of the pop-up store.
The “shop in shop” approach to retail holds a number of well-documented advantages – less financial risk, a much wider potential customer pool, the steady flow of foot traffic and so on. In terms of visual merchandising, the “shop in shop” can seem limiting at first (diminutive space, store restrictions, budget limits etc), however the advantages can often be favourable enough as to offset negative elements. For example, many of the peripheral concerns regarding layout, lighting, initial décor, flooring etc are unalterable, leaving visual merchandise artists to get on with what they love – creating an innovative atmosphere best reflecting brand message.

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