Principles of visual merchandising

Visual merchandising is about presenting your retail space in a way that maximises your sales. Strategically presenting your products in your retail space helps you to create a unique identity for your business. You can set yourself apart from your competition by making your retail space warm, friendly and approachable.

Retail displays can help your business to achieve sales because these visual elements make a good first impression on your potential customers. Retail displays are an element of your branding. If customers like the way your store looks and your products are made to look appealing through window, shelf and stock displays, they are likely to spend more time and money at your business.

Find out more about retail design and shopfitting.

Window displays

Create themes for window displays that reflect your store's style and personality. Use your window display to make a statement about your business, for example, to say you are elegant, sophisticated, edgy or contemporary. You should:

  • be topical and seasonal
  • use props, images, signage and products to convey an idea and message that will help your customers connect with your products
  • change your window displays regularly – make sure products in your display are easy to find inside the store but not necessarily at the front, where your customers will need to look no further
  • when you change your window display theme, remember to change your store's interior theme to match.

Shelf displays

Plan how you will use your shelf displays to feature your products, and how much shelf space each product will get. You should:

  • be careful not to clutter your products
  • place a striking or appealing product in plain view of your entrance
  • capitalise on spaces at the end of shelves
  • place your popular or targeted products between eye level and knee level
  • place your most profitable items at eye level
  • place products for children at children's eye levels.

Stock displays

Group related stock items together, and use your premium spaces – for example, the ends of your aisles – to feature profitable products. You should:

  • group similar products together to encourage add-on sales – for example, place crockery with cutlery
  • group different but related products together to help make companion sales – for example, include all components of a bathroom in a bathroom display
  • change your product displays regularly and keep them clean and well ordered
  • feature a few product items, including product blurb and flyers, at your point-of-sale space.

Hire a visual merchandiser

Professional retail designers, visual merchandisers, window dressers and store planners can help you create effective designs for your store.

Hire consultants and take courses through the Australian Retailers Association.

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