What is Visual Merchandising? Techniques & Benefits in Retail Stores

What is Visual Merchandising? Techniques & Benefits in Retail Stores

With the rise of e-commerce as a mainstream option, brick-and-mortar stores are having to work harder than ever to remain competitive and retain customer interest. Visual merchandising is one of the strategies that can be used to increase in-store traffic, boost sales and improve customer retention.

It involves optimizing every aspect of the store environment, from signage and product displays to lighting and sound to draw customers in, make them feel comfortable and encourage them to make purchases. It plays a crucial role in enhancing a store’s appeal, atmosphere and customer experience.

The importance and benefits of visual merchandising

The environment a customer is in affects the purchasing decisions they make. Factors such as a poor layout can deter customers from returning because it is confusing and detracts from their enjoyment of the shopping experience. It’s in retailers’ best interests to create an efficient, customer-friendly environment that makes shopping easier for customers and increases the likelihood of repeat business.

In addition to improving the shopping experience, visual merchandising techniques can be used strategically to highlight products with high profit margins, keep customers in the store longer, and affect their mood to encourage impulse buying.

Visual merchandising techniques

Store layout

The layout determines how customers move through the store, where they spend the most time and what they see. An effective layout will encourage shoppers to go through the whole store. For example, grocery stores tend to place basic necessities like milk at the very back so that customers must walk past other items and are more likely to impulse buy. Another example is Ikea’s famously labyrinthine sales floor, which forces shoppers to walk through every single section to get to the exit.

Signage

Having clear signage is a vital aspect of a systematic, organized store environment. Signs help customers find their way, make them feel more at ease and prevent them from getting frustrated or overwhelmed.

Promotional signage can also be used to draw shoppers’ eyes to particular products and highlight their features and benefits.

Technology

As the digital transformation sweeps the retail industry, phygitalization, the integration of digital solutions into the physical shopping space, is becoming increasingly important for stores that want to remain competitive.

Digital signage

There are endless possibilities for digital signage in retail. This type of visual merchandising can be used to highlight special promotions, product demonstrations or vibrant lifestyle images that help create emotional connections with products. Some digital screens even feature interactive options that allow customers to choose their content and encourage them to input their contact information.

Electronic shelf labels

Electronic shelf labels are indispensable tools for retailers in the digital age! With digital labels, retailers can automate price updates, significantly reducing the number of pricing errors and improving customer experience. These digital price tags also include additional features such as alerting employees to low stock levels, which helps with inventory management and ensures that products remain available to customers.

Product arrangement

The way products are arranged has a significant impact on purchasing decisions. Visual merchandising techniques can be used to attract customers’ attention to specific products and encourage them to buy.

Point-of-purchase displays

Point-of-purchase displays are product arrangements and marketing materials that showcase specific items in-store. Displaying small items near the checkout counter can encourage shoppers to impulse buy, for example, and arranging complementary products together can help remind customers about extras they might need and inspire additional purchases.

Window displays

Attractive window displays are one of the main techniques retailers use to entice shoppers to come into their stores. Windows are the place to display your newest and best-selling items. You can even arrange the items to represent a story or theme to add interest. Remember to keep your shop windows spotlessly clean to make a good first impression!

Ambient elements

While often overlooked, ambient elements such as lighting, sounds and smells have a major impact on customers’ moods. It’s advantageous for retailers to optimize the ambiance of their stores and create an atmosphere that reflects their brand identify and sales goals.

Lighting

Choose your lighting carefully based on what you want to achieve. Bright light creates a sense of honesty, positivity, fun, and excitement. It can promote impulse purchasing, but it also makes customers move through the store faster. On the other hand, softer lighting creates a calmer, more peaceful atmosphere and encourages customers to spend more time in the store.

You can also use lighting strategically to put a literal spotlight on products and areas you want to draw attention to.

Sound

While sound isn’t visual, it is still considered an aspect of visual merchandising because of the effect it has on shoppers. Playing upbeat music can have a positive influence on customers’ moods, while slower music can help them relax and encourage them to spend more time in the store.

The most important thing is to select sounds that will appeal to your target audience. For example, a young, hip clothing shop might opt for pop music, while a mountaineering store might choose to dispense with music altogether and play ambient nature sounds.

Smell

Smell is one of the most subconscious yet powerful senses. It can provoke emotions, trigger memories and have strong positive or negative associations. For example, the smell of fresh bread or apple pie makes complete sense in a bakery, but it can also create a delightfully homey feel in furniture and home décor stores. Seasonal scents like evergreen can help create the right atmosphere during the holidays.

Upgrade your visual merchandising for the digital age with JRTech Solutions!

Modern-day consumers are used to the vibrant, fast-paced and information-rich experience that online shopping offers. To compete successfully, brick-and-mortar retailers need to include digital tools in their visual merchandising strategy to help recreate that experience in store.

JRTech Solutions is a leading supplier of electronic shelf labels and digital signage in North America. Not only can our digital pricing solutions contribute to optimizing the in-store environment, but they also drastically reduce labour costs by eliminating the need for employees to manually change every price tag, poster and sign. Contact us today to take your in-store experience to the next level!

The Benefits of Point-of-Purchase Displays for Grocery Stores and Retail

The Benefits of Point-of-Purchase Displays for Grocery Stores and Retail

Point-of-purchase (POP) display is a term that covers a variety of marketing tools that are used in stores to advertise products and encourage customers to buy. They include physical displays that showcase products, digital advertisements on screens in-store, and more.

Unlike other types of marketing, point-of-purchase displays are not intended to attract additional foot traffic to a store—rather, the goal is to target customers who are already in the store to increase sales. The benefit of targeting in-store shoppers is that they are highly-engaged prospects—they are already interested in the products you offer and very close to making purchasing decisions. All they need is a nudge in the right direction, and that’s where point-of-purchase displays come in!

Types of point-of-purchase displays

Digital point-of-purchase displays

Digital POP displays generally consist of screens that can be mounted around grocery and retail stores to advertise products. They can show slideshows, videos or animations explaining how and when to use the product, feature lifestyle shots of people enjoying the product to evoke positive emotions in customers, or even offer interactive content that encourages shoppers to provide their contact information.

As the digital transformation sweeps through the retail industry, savvy retailers will use creative digital solutions to keep their customers engaged and loyal. A good phygitalization strategy, the integration of the digital into the physical shopping space, can help prevent customers from straying to online shopping or competitors.

End-cap displays

“End-cap” refers to the shelving on the end of an aisle. Customers don’t always venture down every aisle, but almost all of them will see the ends of the aisles, making these high-traffic areas perfect for point-of-purchase displays!

Displays near the checkout line

Displaying small, inexpensive items near the checkout counter can help drive sales. The customers in line have already decided to make a purchase, and are therefore more likely to pick up a few extra items if they won’t add too much to the total bill.

Checkout displays can turn the nuisance of a long lineup into an extension of the shopping experience that will keep customers engaged and interested while they wait. Retail giants like Walmart and Canadian Tire have optimized this strategy by creating a path of product displays where customers line up.

The many benefits of point-of-purchase displays

Attention-grabbing displays

Many shoppers tend to skim the shelves looking for products. Unfortunately, the packaging is often insufficient to convince them to make a purchase. Point-of-purchase displays provide bigger, bolder, more visually appealing marketing material that customers will be more likely to notice. Visually striking or interactive displays help attract customer attention and make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

An opportunity to highlight product promotions

Point-of-purchase displays are a great way to showcase the promotions you have on offer and encourage shoppers to take advantage of them. Promotions affect a product’s perceived value. If consumers think they’re getting a deal, they might be persuaded to make a purchase they wouldn’t buy otherwise. This is also a great strategy for getting rid of excess inventory!

Enhanced visibility

With the sheer number of products crowding shelves these days, it’s easy for shoppers to get overwhelmed and overlook things. Point-of-purchase displays can boost the visibility of products at key points during the decision-making process to increase sales. This can be done by placing product displays at strategic locations such as end-caps or near the checkout counter lineup, or with bold digital signage that draws eyes to the product.

Versatility

Particularly with temporary and digital point-of-purchase displays, it’s easy to feature different products and change them up regularly so that each time customers come in, they can discover something new. Integrating digital signage in retail and grocery stores brings an incredible amount of flexibility, including dynamic pricing capabilities, where prices can be adjusted as needed based on the competition, available stock, and more!

A way to provide shoppers with additional information

Point-of-purchase displays are a great opportunity to tell shoppers about the qualities of a particular product and provide them with more in-depth information than is available on the packaging. Highlighting a product’s features and benefits gives customers important details that can help them make a purchasing decision. Even something as small as a QR code on an electronic shelf label can help customers get the information they need!

A strategy for targeting impulse buyers

According to a POPAI shopper engagement study, 82% of purchasing decisions are made in-store. Harnessing that and encouraging impulse buying can have an incredible impact on sales. Point-of-purchase displays are extremely effective tools for targeting people who walk into the store not knowing what they want to buy.

An opportunity to leverage cross-selling

Point-of-purchase displays are a great way to showcase complementary products, such as condiments near the hamburger buns or pitchers and ice cube trays near the lemonade. This strategy can remind customers about additional items they need and increase the amount they end up purchasing.

Digital point-of-purchase displays for a better in-store experience

JR Tech Solutions is North America’s leading supplier of digital pricing and ESL solutions. We offer completely customizable screens that can be updated with the click of a button for vibrant digital point-of-purchase displays that are sure to entice your customers. Contact us today to bring your store into the digital age!

Digital Price Tags for Home Improvement and Hardware Stores: 5 Benefits

Digital Price Tags for Home Improvement and Hardware Stores: 5 Benefits

Home improvement and hardware stores often have vast sales areas and thousands or tens of thousands of products to manage. In such large retail environments, manually updating each shelf label every time a price changes is a massive undertaking that wastes valuable man hours and leads to significant pricing errors.

Fortunately, new technology is available to streamline the price changing process, optimize inventory management and much more! Discover the many benefits of digital price tags for hardware stores in this article.

 1. Central control and efficiency

With digital price tags, also known as electronic shelf labels, prices are updated automatically and simultaneously from a central hub. This completely eliminates the need for hardware store staff to go from shelf to shelf changing price tags. Particularly considering the current labour shortage, eliminating such a time-consuming task is a major advantage.

2. Price accuracy and error reduction

Stores that use paper labels tend to have an error rate of 5 to 10% at any given time. Conversely, the centralization and automation of price updates with digital price tags leaves very little room for human error. Prices are accurate and consistent both on the electronic labels and at the cash, improving customer satisfaction and reducing the need for price checks and compensation.

3. Improved customer experience

With online retailers encroaching on brick-and-mortar home improvement and hardware stores, it has never been more important to provide customers with a positive in-store experience. In addition to better price accuracy, digital price tags can improve the customer experience by providing additional information about products and making it easier to identify sales.

4. Optimized promotions

The flexibility that comes with digital price tags allows retailers to take advantage of dynamic pricing—the ability to adjust prices at will to account for performance, stock levels and competitors’ promotions. Furthermore, the electronic labels can display four different colours that can be used to draw attention to items that are on sale.

 5. Hardware store inventory management

Electronic shelf labels can also help home improvement and hardware stores with inventory management. The labels can display the number of items in stock and are equipped with geolocation capabilities and flashing lights, enabling employees to quickly identify shelves that need to be restocked.

Modernize your hardware store with digital price tags!

Digital price tags are an excellent way for hardware stores to improve efficiency, price accuracy and customer satisfaction. With so many benefits for retailers, they are sure to be a worthwhile investment!

JRTech Solutions is the leading provider of digital pricing solutions in North America. We supply first-rate electronic shelf labels and digital signage from industry pioneer Pricer. Contact us today to bring your hardware store shelves into the digital age!