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Lisa Malin, Marketing Manager

What is Visual Merchandising?

Visual Merchandising is the strategic planning and manipulation of in-store design and visual displays to increase customer engagement and improving their experience to influence customers’ journeys throughout the store in order to maximise and boost sales.

Visual Merchandising – from digital to physical retail stores

As an online shopper yourself, you are aware of what good visual merchandising in an etail environment now means. Particularly with fashion, when visiting an online store, you expect to see clothes worn by a model, well shot, in high definition, correctly accessorised and even offering a ‘lookbook’ of style trends. All that alongside full product information and a clear view of the price.

“In our experience, model shots sell through between 5% & 20% better than flats/mannequins.” says Martin Newman, Chief Executive of E-commerce specialist Practicology.

Given the subsequent growth of visual displays used in e-tail/online visual merchandising, why has this not benefitted the in-store shopping environment to help brands achieve greater customer experience? Why is this enormous etail inventory of imagery not enhancing the in-store customer experience? Is it because the two areas of the business are silo-ed and not collaborating?

In-store visual displays: retailers need to do more

We would assert that just displaying clothes on hangers in retail stores is no longer enough. We did find one retailer embracing their new digital asset library; ‘& Other Stories’ scatters model photography throughout the store, particularly adjacent to the garments, in a ‘polaroid’ style which feels current, relevant and very much needed.

&Other Stories In-store online VM example

In a game of catch up, retailers need to consider how to bring the ‘look book’ visuals in-store, and how to make them likeable on social media sites such as ‘Pinterest’ and then shareable. The JCrew example below shows how a retailer can present editorialised, magazine-style presentation of merchandise – with a ‘Looks we love’ shopping edit styled by Gayle, their head stylist and fashion director. All images, of course, being ‘pinnable’ and ‘shareable’ online.

JCrew Look book - VM online example


We recently published a whitepaper which looks at the learnings and subsequent improvements etailers are making through data-driven marketing, such as customer journey mapping, analytics and iterative learning. The paper challenges why these learnings are not being applied to retail environments. One of the areas covered is the way in which e-tailers visual merchandise online. You can download our ‘Retail Wake Up Call’ paper here.

Green Room Future Series Retail Wake Up call

For more information about the importance of visual merchandising, and to find out how we can help your brand improve in-store visual displays to help increase your revenue, get in touch with us.