What Is Visual Merchandising?

When you think about visual merchandising, you probably think about a physical experience in a brick-and-mortar store. Whether positive or negative, visual merchandising leaves a lasting impact, determining whether or not you enjoy your shopping experience (and, therefore, are more ready to make a purchase) or if you are more likely to high-tail it to the stores next door (and potentially never return). Traditionally, visual merchandising in physical stores deals with all of your senses — not just what you see. Things like the overall floor plan, the colors used, the lighting placement, and the types of displays created all work together to create a marketing experience for customers.

And, when done correctly, visual merchandising can have a huge impact on the number of sales made.

Of course, the principles of visual merchandising can be implemented online just as much as they are in physical retail stores. In fact, some might argue that it’s even easier to excel at online visual merchandising because you’re in more control of what customers see. (For example, you don’t have to worry about what your neighbors are doing or whether or not you have a great view from your windows.) Additionally, online visual merchandising really is visual, which means other senses can largely be ignored while still creating a powerful and compelling experience.

Why bother to spend time on your store’s visual merchandising?

First and foremost, it creates a complete brand experience, letting your customers know who you are and what you stand for. This brand consistency is big for earning your customers’ trust.

Second, creating a positive visual merchandising experience is one of the fastest and most effective ways to engage your shoppers. The more welcomed and excited they feel when they enter your store (whether physical or online), the more likely they are to spend time exploring. And, even more importantly, the better experience they have the more likely they are to come back again and again.

And, finally, the more energy you put into your brand’s visual merchandising, the more sales you’ll make. Period. By creating a fun and engaging experience that puts your products right at your customers’ fingertips, the easier it will be for them to make a purchase.

To start improving your visual merchandising, especially if you’re an online business, begin by looking at the story you tell on your homepage. Make sure you are using a good mix of images and text, putting the most important information first. The more visual you’re able to make your story and explain your product, the more engaged your visitors will be.

Another tip for online stores is to employ collections when it comes to organizing products. Labeling collections and grouping products together makes it easier for your potential customers to explore. And, because they’re pointed in the right direction from the get-go, it dramatically improves your bounce rate and your overall conversions. Remember, the best collections have great images and are organized in a clean way, like a grid or square tiles (think social media platforms to get the vibe right).

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