5 tips on improving the execution of your in-store visual merchandising guidelines
Visual merchandising guidelines inform stores how to display their products in the most space-efficient and visually appealing manner - from a collection of items to the whole floor space. In this article, we will give you 5 tips on how to improve the way your guidelines are delivered to stores, ensuring the final display matches the right standard.
Whilst there are many sources of inspiration for amazing store displays, having multiple store locations makes it not quite as easy to replicate these displays across all of them. Whether it be a matter of space issues or lack of the correct fixtures available, this has a negative impact on your overall in-store customer experience.
Worse yet, this leads to inconsistency issues across the whole brand - and in this modern retail world, brand loyalty is more important than ever. So in order to keep an optimal customer experience, increase brand loyalty, sell-through and an array of key retail KPIs, follow these tips when sending your visual merchandising guidelines and planograms.
#1 Ensure the guidelines are relevant and accurate to the correct store cluster
Large retailers with lots of stores separate them into clusters - varied by size, revenue and region. Delivering a single set of guidelines for all store clusters thus leaves many problems for teams in identifying the relevant parts in the guideline for their own store (as you can learn more about in our ASDA George case study).
Ensure your visual merchandising guidelines have clear, accurate relevant instructions to store clusters. That way the team executing the directive is able to identify the relevant information quickly and simply - saving them time on creating the store display and minimising any misunderstandings between head or regional office and the store.
#2 Create digital mockups of your store before creating and sending directives
Many retailers have physical “mock-up” stores that they use to test out the merchandising of their new collections. Of course, this gives the advantage of being able to alter displays at their will in a “real” environment - but this approach has a tendency to suck up both time and money.
Many retailers are also limited by only having a minimal amount of product samples to fill the physical store with - meaning extra time has to be spent in post-processing to create a fully realised digital mockup.
Using software like our own MockShop, create a digital version of your store so you can pull in products and collections automatically in a live 3D environment. This saves time and money as well as giving the advantage of allowing you to be endlessly creative in the way you merchandise your stores.
#3 Optimise your cost per square metre of retail space
Retail floor space, especially depending on the store’s location, is one of the largest overheads a retailer has. Therefore effective visual merchandising is all about optimising the cost per square foot to deliver better margins on your day-to-day sales.
Use all of the data at your disposal to analyse things like costs of fixtures, PoS (point of sale) marketing collateral and how much merchandise you can fit in to your store without negatively affecting movement and customer experience. By doing so, the way you merchandise your collections will deliver better margins.
#4 Use planograms to create balanced and clear visual merchandising guidelines
Creating a balanced product collection is all about analysing your range and creating one that is both on-trend and helps improve your store KPIs. Once that's done, it's extremely important to deliver this collection in a concise, informative way so your stores know exactly what they will be putting on the backwall for example.
Using software that allows you to create a clear visual overview of the products in your collection and how they should be merchandised is critical in creating a clear understanding of what's required.
#5 Create centralised, visual communications channels for compliance feedback
As much as visual merchandising is the science of enticing consumers to buy your products, it's by no means an exact one - so it's likely you will encounter many obstacles and pitfalls when communicating the way you want your products merchandised to stores. For example the wrong products being in stock, lack of available correct fixtures and even not being able to track feedback from stores using different communications channels such as WhatsApp, email etc.
By using a compliance feedback tool like ShopShape, store managers can not only give feedback to head or regional office via text chat, they can take and send images of the merchandised fixture that will go to a centralised database. By having this information in one place, execution compliance of your VM efforts can be analysed more effectively and time and frustration can be saved in ensuring brand consistency across all stores.