Tricks of the trade: visual merchandising tips

Tricks of the Trade is a space for retailers and consultants to share knowledge and tips on facing everyday business challenges. This month, they give advice on visual merchandising.

Pippa lingerie boutique owner Dawn Wain

Use your windows to entice your customers
The window display is crucial to encouraging local, passing, repeat and first-time trade. It must be vibrant, crisp, clean, not too complicated and altered regularly to maintain and create interest.

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Bigger isn’t always better
In-store displays must not be overpoweringly large and they should promote lines with good back-up stocks.

Section off your brands
Brands should be displayed in their own sections so customers can quickly find their favourites. Use appropriate hangers and size items for ease of choice.

Advertise your promotions
In-store promotions and discounts with good advertising materials obtained from your suppliers are beneficial to
all parties.


Visual merchandising expert and Metamorphosis Group director Eve Reid

Think like a customer
Remember to be commercial; actively plan your retail space so to ensure you are presenting the right product at the right time.

Inspire your shoppers
Offer inspiration and encourage link purchases by placing complimentary products together.

Keep it simple
Shoppers do not want to spend a lot of time searching for products. Streamline your experience so to minimize engagement for those customers in a rush.

Tell them a story
Very often retailers choose to stock certain products based on ‘a story’ e.g. where they’ve been made, who designed them etc. Stories help to build deep relationships between consumers and products whilst allowing you to show the products’ true value.


Juste Moi owner
Alison Jackson

First impressions count
Visual merchandising starts outside the boutique, and at Juste Moi we build enticing window displays to draw customers in. The first display your customer sees when they step in store is also an important position, so we ensure that we have our newest styles displayed here.

Identify product groups
We know from experience that customers mostly want to find what they’re looking for quickly, and our boutique is full of beautiful things that can often be difficult to navigate through. Where possible, we provide signage to identify groups of products mostly by brands, although garments can also be split into other categories.

Engage with your shoppers
One thing that helps with customer engagement is providing the customer with sufficient space to feel comfortable. We have a small and tight space so this is very challenging for Juste Moi. I would say in our case we endeavour to create an impression of space rather than physical space.


Baci Lingerie Worldwide sales director
Helle Panzieri

Appeal to all five senses
Capture your customers’ attention by appealing to all five of their senses. Obviously, a visually-pleasing display is needed to draw them in, giving you the chance to enhance their experience. Consider mood-matching music or background noise and scented oils. Provide herbal teas, sweets or other refreshments, and, of course, allow shoppers to touch and feel the merchandise.

Use props
To enhance the visual aspects of your merchandising, add props or accessories that accentuate that particular product selection.

Train your team
Properly train and motivate team members to be knowledgeable, confident and empathetic to your customers’ interaction with your product displays. Having the ability to recognise interest, excitement or curiosity will help them properly approach shoppers.

Sell fantasy
Whether a consumer is planning a special occasion, or simply indulging in something special for herself, lingerie revolves around fantasy. If the sum of your point-of-sale efforts successfully stimulates her imagination, your customers will respond.


Hanro head of international sales Brigitte Hardt

Less is more
Only present a few pieces on rails or on mannequins to create the right colour, mood, look and feel, and keep all stock neatly packed away. Although it takes staff time to get sizes and replenish stock, ultimately this will lead to more sales if the shopper has a more relaxed and luxurious browsing experience. Stick to one or two colours per fixture and create interest with products hanging on rails and hooks, folded on shelves, stacked or boxed.

Embrace your local community
Get involved with events that are relevant to the local consumer. For example, if you have a local golfing tournament, change your window to support this with golfing outfits for that week. The same goes for embracing shopping events in your local area.

Make use of your mannequins
Mannequins help people to imagine what they will look like and are essential for displaying garments that need to be seen on a body to truly appreciate the quality of cut. You should be changing your mannequins regularly with new combinations and colours to keep the offer looking fresh.

Create the right mood for the season
Know the inspiration behind your collections. This will not only add interest when talking to customers about products, but it will also help you to create a mood in store with emotive visuals, product visuals and props. Merchandise products from the visuals close by so that shoppers can clearly see how the ‘mood visual’ translates into the product itself.


Guilt Lingerie owner Georgina Willis

Win with windows
Whatever you have in the window it must also be visible as soon as you enter the shop.

Create a shopping route
Generally, customer flow should run in a clockwise direction upon entering a shop.

Light up
Back lighting is essential for lingerie boutiques in order to display delicate lace and black items.

Hang items properly
Guilt does not believe in hanging items upside down. We are not bats!

Remember add-ons
Display add-on items in front of the till, and encourage staff to talk about them.

Separate your brands
Display collections by brand and/or by colour blocking i.e. all the yellows together etc. Display lighter items at the top, graduating to darker colours in lower positions.

Don’t forget your changing rooms
Your lighting will determine if garments look good when tried on.

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