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?
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.
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!
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”.
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
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.
For example, Barbara White in her article: 'Principle #3: Pyramid Power' talks about one of the techniques in detail.
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.
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.
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INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Key Elements of Visual Merchandising
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Barbara Wright: Principle #3: Pyramid Power
Visual Merchandising in Fashion Retailing – an Introduction
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5 Most Important Elements of Visual Merchandising
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