How Too Much Visual Merchandising Can Harm a Retail Store

Some people call it visual merchandising while others call it visual noise. Regardless of the label, product displays posters, promotional materials and products in a retail store all combine to create a visual impact. In that sense, they are noise, craving for attention from shoppers.

Where is a shopper supposed to look in a store with plenty of posters, displays and other materials craving for attention?

Sometimes, retail stores are too visually cluttered to be effective. The best way to discover this is to:

  • Observe customers as they enter and browse the store.
  • Where do their eyes look at what are they drawn to?
  • Do they notice displays?
  • What do they pass by?
  • What products do they browse and for how long?
  • Where do they move to next?
  • What is the success of major displays in driving incremental sales?

Answer these questions and you start to develop a feeling for the effectiveness of the visual noise in the store.

Some suppliers will tell you a different story. They want their products on display regardless of what the sales impact may be for your business. They see such displays as promoting their brand – like a billboard.

Another way to observe customer interaction with displays, promotions and other visual presentations in-store is to watch security camera footage on fast forward. Notice how many times customers appear to notice a prime position display. It could be that the visual merchandising effort is achieving little more than filling space.

In a busy retail store with plenty of customer traffic, an approach worth considering is less is more. Sometimes, cutting back on visual noise can help draw attention to the products you want to promote.

To choose the displays, posters and other visual material you want to take down, look at sales data. If a product is not responding to additional effort, it should be a candidate for reduces display space allocation.

It could be that you replace a big bold display with something more strategic and better located. These are decisions to be made by senior business management as they involve strategy.

If you do take a retail display down, track the sales result to ensure that there is no negative impact as a result.

By reducing the visual noise volume in a retail store you provide more fresh air for the remaining displays. The goal is to have more eyeballs noticing them and therefore following the call to action.

Good visual merchandising is all about business strategy and driving better outcomes for the retail business.


Post time: 09-05-2017