24 Mar

What is Visual Merchandising and Why Is It Key for Retail Success

What is Visual Merchandising and Why Is It Key for Retail Success - WFS

You have spent so much time searching for the right products to sell in your boutique. Hours upon hours of research, finding a quality wholesale supplier, marketing, and more. You’ve done everything right, so it is crucial you get a slam dunk when it comes to visual merchandising (VM).

Visual merchandising is key to retail success. You could have the best product on the planet, but if it doesn’t get customers to walk through the door of your retail shop, you won’t sell it. That’s where visual merchandising comes into play.

Visual Merchandising Explained

Visual merchandising includes your plan, design, and display of the products for sale in your boutique. Visual merchandising is like your own private floor-model seller. It helps your products sell themselves. If you are in the clothing retail business, this can translate to a mannequin wearing a complete outfit your customers rave about when they enter your shop. They like it so much they buy every piece of the outfit, including the shoes and accessories.

Had all those pieces been hanging up on separate racks, the customer may not have been able to envision the entire outfit. They may have only purchased the shirt or handbag. They may not have purchased anything.

VM Gets Social Media Attention

We are living in a time when everything gets shared on social media. Each post typically gets likes, emoji symbols, or comments, all of which can be great feedback for you. Social media posts can garner new customers who want to visit your boutique in person to check out the clothing options.

To be worthy of social media shares, create product displays that wow both in-person and photographs. For example, if you are trying to sell kimonos, you could take a picture of the kimono and post it. Or you could have each customer try on a kimono and post their photo to social media, asking followers to vote for their favorite. The interactive post will get more attention every time.

VM Provides Data

Social media feedback can be beneficial, even if it is negative. You can learn what customers like and dislike and take that information back to your wholesale supplier. Together, you can create a plan to give the customers what they want.

You can track this data and use it to measure your progress weekly or monthly. Free data like this is invaluable and, when optimized, can help your boutique succeed.

VM Fixes Empty Space Problems

A solid white wall space between display cases, the extra space outside the dressing rooms, and the area in front of the register. These are examples of common empty spaces in retail stores. These are also examples of spaces you could use to sell more products.

There is usually someone waiting on a friend or family member to try on clothes outside a dressing room. They stand around, bored. Why not give them a memorable experience like dressing a mannequin using clothes from your shop? Or install a computerized program in which people can test the best colors for their skin tone.

Find creative ways to utilize the empty space in your boutique without making it look cluttered. You will see positive results.

VM Improves Customer Experience

When you make changes like the examples above, people will start talking about their customer experience. Your customers want to have a good time. They are out of their ordinary environments looking to spend money. And they are in your store. The more enjoyment they find, the more likely they will spend their money on your products. Visual merchandising can help make this happen.

Don’t be afraid to ask customers for ideas on what would give them the best customer experience. Ideas will range from ridiculous to brilliant, difficult to simple. Do your best to provide customers with an experience that keeps them coming back, and when they do, they bring their friends too.

VM Improves Brand Awareness

Your boutique is your brand. Visual merchandising helps customers connect your brand to awesome designs. Your displays highlight the features and benefits of each product, answering customer questions before they even know they have a question.

Visual merchandising can help you tell your brand’s story through store layout, product displays, arrangements, groupings, and flow.

Think of visual merchandising as a form of communication with customers. Think about what you want to tell them, and then create a design that leaves them wanting to know more.

Key Factors of Visual Merchandising

Do not start implementing visual merchandising techniques without a plan, making implementing your vision impossible. Use the questions below to help you create your action plan. You will be much happier with the end result.


  • Which color scheme will match your boutique’s brand?
  • Do the colors reflect the mood you want for your customers?
  • Will the lighting be effective in showcasing products’ features?
  • What is the flow of your boutique? How do you direct customers through your store?
  • As customers move through the store, are they provided with memorable experiences along the way?
  • Which background sounds will play in your boutique? Does it match your brand?
  • What scents and aromas will your customers encounter as they move through your boutique?

Questions like these help you keep the focus on the customer. Utilize all the senses, which can connect a smell, feel, sight, taste, or sound to their memories. 

Finally, consider all the types of visual merchandising, which may include window displays, signage, mannequins, product information, technology use, shelving, and seasonal opportunities.

Final, Yet Important, Tip

Working with your wholesale supplier is important enough to be mentioned again. They have experience with visual merchandising. That may be how they attracted you as a customer. They want you to successfully sell all the products you purchase so you will be a return customer to their business.

Because of their relationship with the manufacturers, wholesale suppliers can be an asset to the visual merchandising process.


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