The rise in ecommerce has given retailers with bricks and mortar stores a chance to offer customers something different, Aston says, as the theatre of visual merchandising is not available online: “It’s about customers touching and engaging with products, admiring and desiring products.”
That being said, Aston says retailers must now work much harder than they did 20 years ago at impressing customers as they have become desensitised to the “Wow” factor. She says inexperience is no excuse.
“I have heard over and over again, ‘No, I can’t do visual merchandising because I don’t have a creative bone in my body.’ You do.”
Describing the right atmosphere to aim for, Aston speaks of a successful farmer’s market – busy, vibrant, buzzing – and the “explosion of colour” in a garden centre during springtime.
Aston’s top tips for creating a display:
- Clutter will overwhelm customers, particularly women. Overwhelmed customers become reluctant customers, and reluctant customers leave the store.
- Sensory overload defeats the purpose of creating a display.
- Successful merchandising is about simplifying choices and doing some of the thinking for the client. The more thinking you do for the customer, the more you can increase sales by being suggestive with selling.