Fashion Business Ideas: Visual Merchandising

Fashion Business Ideas: Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising is a truly unique business idea not being explored currently in Nigeria, business owners will be open to working with you if you can prove to them that you can utilize it to boost their sales. You’ll have very little competition and the startup costs are very low because it is a service not a product.

What is Visual Merchandising?​

victoria secrets display

Victoria Secrets Window Display

Have you ever looked into a store window at a mannequin dressed up with the perfect set of clothes? Did it appeal to you so much you wanted to make a purchase? If so, this is known as visual merchandising. 

However it goes beyond just putting clothes on a mannequin.  The entire customer experience in your store is vital to making a sale.  This includes the store layout and the space, the hangers, the signage and even the music.

Lady Gaga - Barneys window display

Lady Gaga, Barneys Window Display

I remember once going into a store and they were playing my favourite music.  Of course I could not stand just in the middle on the store and start dancing.  I had to go through their stock when all I wanted to do was just listen to the music till the end.  Eventually my eyes fell on a pair of earrings which I bought and I still have that pair till this day as I write this.  That is the power of visual merchandizing!

Think of all those sweets at the checkout points in supermarkets.  They are not there by accident. It was all carefully planned.  You stand at the till waiting for your turn, your eye falls on the chocolate bar, it is not too expensive, you pick one and either start eating immediately or put it in your basket, the job of a visual merchandiser is done!

Macys display

Macy's Display

The purpose of visual merchandising is to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase.⠀Other purposes include to increase sales by showing and promoting merchandise. Make the display visually appealing to encourage customers to enter the store. Get the customer to pause and “shop”.

Macys 2014 window display

Macys 2014 window display

Elements of Visual Merchandising

Elements of Visual Merchandising

Visual Merchandising is a skill that if properly harnessed can be extremely rewarding for both the visual merchandiser and the client.  Think about it - why do event managers and wedding decorators invest so much in the decor of their engagements?  To give the guests a memorable experience.  For a retailer, however, it is much much more than just the decor.  I have always believed this job would be perfect for someone who studied psychology or sociology because they truly have studied human behaviour.  But the truth is - the skills can be learnt even if you studied other disciplines.  The important thing is the ability to be creative.

Hubert in its article,  'Infographic, 5 Key Elements of Visual Merchandising', further expantiates on the key elements of visual merchandising:

  • Colour: The Soul;
  • Landscaping: The Ups & Downs;
  • Texture: The Touch and Feel;
  • Communication: The Storyteller; and
  • Decor: The Finishing Touches.

The 5 elements come to play when creating a visual merchandising strategy.  I remember workshops given by Truworths then when I was in fashion school.  Visual merchandising was as precise as how many cms up the mannequin should be, how many cms back from the window, if the props were to be tilted, by how many cms, etc.  

Then there was this technique (can't really remember the name) but the explanation was how products were arranged in such a way that though they seemed to be on a straight line, one is given more prominence over the other.  That one is the focal point which they wanted to emphasize and which they needed the customer to buy.  I found the subject of visual merchandising quite captivating and really wished I could delve into it as a career - but alas we really can't do everything can we?!

Techniques of Visual Merchandising

Merchandising techniques

A SlidePower Presentation by Georgia Perkins

For a successful visual merchandising strategy, there are various techniques to consider to ensure the goals are achieved.  We all know the main goal is to make sales - but there are different ways to achieve that goal.  

Georgia Perkins in her Slide Power presentation clearly articulates these techniques so I will advise you to watch the slideshow.  

Group like with like visual merchandising

Photo credit: Polly Redman.

pyramid principle - visual merchandising

Photo credit: Polly Redman.

rule of 3 - visual merchandising

Credit: Polly Redman.

people have 5 senses not 1 - visual merchandising

Photo credit: Polly Redman.

For example, Barbara White in her article: 'Principle #3: Pyramid Power' talks about one of the techniques in detail. 

Pyramid Technique

Barbara Wright: Principle #3: Pyramid Power

Merchandising your content

The Pyramid technique

At the end of this post, I will put a glossary of recommended articles you need to read to establish a career in visual merchandising.  There is so much content online that you can use to establish a career in visual merchandising or even adopt in your store.



Debenhams Store

In conclusion, in this environment, we are yet to scratch the surface on what visual merchandising can really do for us as retailers, merchandisers and as a business opportunity.    

Use visual merchandising to enhance, establish and promote the store’s visual image. Also to improve customers’ shopping experience and entertain them.⠀Eventually, this will directly translate into increased customers, sales and revenue for your fashion business.

Do you think it’s something you’ll like to try?⠀Let us know in the comments section.

Recommended Resources

Fashion Business Growth Tip: Use Compelling Images

Visual Merchandising Definition, Importance, Elements & Overview

Inspired Collections Retailing: Merchandising

20 Essential Tips and Ideas for Visual Merchandising

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Key Elements of Visual Merchandising

5 Most Important Elements of Visual Merchandising

Merchandising Your Content: Inspirations from the Retail World

Barbara Wright: Principle #3: Pyramid Power

Visual Merchandising in Fashion Retailing – an Introduction 

Visual Merchandising Display Techniques: 4 Tips to Increase Sales

Quick Guide to Visual Merchandising

5 Most Important Elements of Visual Merchandising

The Five Elements of Visual Merchandising

About Me

Tope Williams-Adewunmi

Tope Williams-Adewunmi

A fashion entrepreneur passionate giving power through fashion

by sharing knowledge guaranteed to help fashion lovers

turn their love for fashion into a viable business.

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