Visual Merchandising 101: Designing High-Converting Retail Spaces

Karissa
SAVE

Visual Merchandising is the art and science of subtle selling technique incorporated with architectural and design methods in the retail industry. A silent salesperson in itself, the aesthetics of pop-up retail spaces or leasable stalls speaks to the users from the exterior signage to the traffic layout and immersive experience inside. Functionally, each specific detail from the stands to the window displays is tailored according to the target market, their needs and their buying psychology. Use of innovative materials such as specialty oversized doors, glass and steel structures, custom lighting, wall and display finishes prevail the retail space design.

Window Display, Lighting and Signage

Window displays attract customers and call their attention by positive branding. Through the use of varied heights of products' fixtures, clustered groups of repetitive shapes and bright colors, and the use of accent lighting accomplished by downlighting from ceiling or valance lighting, the brand and window displays visually speak to the customers to close the gap from the exterior to interior. An integral element of visual merchandising, lighting also provides the perfect mood for each retail space by use of atmosphere lighting. The perfect balance in lighting levels is desired as insufficient foot candle levels prevent buyers from comparing products and purchasing, while excessive lighting level not only provides discomfort to the consumers, but is also not cost-efficient. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are more efficient in providing light per watt than flourescents or incandescents. Signage takes into consideration the design elements such as typology, font spacing and color mixtures. Effective signage from inside and out tells the story that it needs to tell and subtly leads the customers to purchasing by providing visible directions.

Accessible Traffic Layout with Accentuated Areas

Common layout includes grid, circular and freeform. Customizable theme displays of retail spaces which can be updated regularly to maintain freshness provide the transition from outside to inside. Provided with the hook at the center, the traffic layout redirects the users to stay and purchase products through the balance of accentuated areas complimented with background products. Fixtures for sales items include tub tables and round racks, while higher-priced stocks use T-stands and four-ways. Additionally, strategic location of cash register on the ingress/egress or deep at the back of the retail space influences the buyer's psychology. Strategic goals of retail spaces mainly target the users to purchase before proceeding to the egress, hence the emphasis on accessibility and walkability.

The Five Senses

Creating an immersive experience for users entails the use of all five senses. Visually, the use of color psychology and principles of design such as balance, proportion and harmony all correlate to the high-converting rate of a retail space. Olfactorily, the smell per se is vital to invoke emotion and memory for the users, thereby creating a brand influential to the user's buying psychology. Auditorily, the ambience and background music can be customized to serve as a catalyst to your specific target market. Gustatorily, if you belong to the food retail industry, consumables serve as a trigger for creating a dynamic environment between consumers and products. Kinesthetically, interactive, responsive and smart technologies yield a memorable hands-on experience for the users. Combined with visual, the tactile experience significantly contributes to the sales per square foot area.

What other visual merchandising techniques have you applied on retail space design? Share your high-converting architectural techniques below!

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