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Home > Business Tips > Winning retail displays – guaranteed to boost your sales

Winning retail displays – guaranteed to boost your sales

During the course of my work I have spoken to many retailers, and as you would imagine many of these conversations involve retail jargon! Possibly the most misunderstood ‘jargon’ word that creeps into many conversations is the word ‘merchandising’. Many retailers use this term to describe the actual process of displaying products. Yes, part of merchandising involves doing this, but this is not by far the whole picture. Merchandising is effectively selling the right product, in the right quantities, in the right place, at the right time, with the right appeal. A tall order I know, but that is what it is all about! Displaying product, as my description indicates is just one small part of the whole merchandising operation.

Whilst ‘display’ may be just a small part of merchandising, none the less it is a vital aspect and requires much thought. Get it right and a good display can significantly augment your sales, get it wrong and a lot of effort will have been wasted.

What then makes a good display? Naturally a good display is one that successfully increases sales but there is more to it than that. Good displays can also help create the right sort of buying atmosphere, but for this to work you must know what sort of atmosphere you want to create. For example a quiet and plush atmosphere appeals to the prestige shopper, whilst a safe but engaging one appeals to the older shopper. Conversely a friendly and loud approach to displays will appeal to the youthful shopper whilst a clean and cheerful display will appeal to the family shopper.

Good displays need to appeal to consumer’s senses, so creating a display that appeals to, sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste will create an impact in the consumers mind. Of all these senses, sight provides consumers with more information than any other sense so clearly this is the most important one to stimulate. Size, shape and colour used correctly can create a visually appealing display. Vertical lines can suggest rigidity, severity and masculinity whilst horizontal lines suggest rest, relaxation and repose. On the other hand diagonal lines suggest action. So pick your shape carefully depending upon the message you want to convey. Colour in within a display can make a good first impression as it can catch the eye and hold attention. Warm colours give the impression of a comfortable informal atmosphere whilst cool colours create the feeling of formality and aloofness and order. Whatever colour you choose, make sure that a relaxing yet stimulating buying atmosphere is developed.

Create the right atmostphere for buying...

  1. Quiet and plush appeals to the presige shopper,
  2. Safe but engaging appeals to the elderly shopper,
  3. Friendly and loud appeals to the youthful shopper,
  4. Clean and cheerful appeals the fally shopper,
  5. Formal and pleasant appeals to the professional shopper

Sound, used correctly can also attract attention and stimulate sales. Running water, for example can help to provide a relaxing atmosphere, however too much noise can of course impede the buying process.  Scent can also be used in a display but naturally one needs to create pleasant odours if sales are to be encouraged. Touch is also an important sense and consumers should be encouraged to touch products – a useful tip is to make sure the display is not so perfect that consumers are reluctant to shop it for fear of ruining the display. (The display obviously needs to be stable and safe and unlikely to descend upon an unwary shopper. Trial run removing a few items as a customer would just to check.) Taste also can help increase sales but of course you wouldn’t want customers tasting all your displays!

In addition to making sure your displays appeal to all five senses it is also important to use the correct type of display. These can be broadly categorised as selection displays, special displays, point of purchase displays and audiovisual displays. A selection display is as the name describes, is simply a mass display pf products enabling the consumer to self-select, such as a card rack. A special display is often a notable presentation of product designed to attract particular attention and should make a lasting impression on the consumer. In order to maximise sales special displays should have maximum exposure and be sited in hot spots or at the end of aisles. A point of purchase display is a heavily promoted display with point of sale material, which is often provided by the manufacturer. With these type of displays it is important that the stores image is reinforced and that point of sale fits in with the store’s interior decoration.

In addition to use the above type of displays retailers can also make use of ‘theatrical’ type displays. These are designed to create a real wow factor amongst customers and like point of purchase displays should enhance the stores image. Theatrical displays are not always designed to be shoppable. For example, Christmas or seasonal displays are often used to create a particular excitement. Like most displays theatrical displays can make use of different colours, lighting, form and shape to create a visually appealing image. They do however need to support rather than distract from the other shoppable displays within the store.

Product can also be displayed into themed groups. For example a unit grouping would be a special category of product items such as seed potatoes, a related grouping could be seed potatoes with forks and dibbers and a themed grouping could be an autumn gardening display. In addition to grouping elements to a display repetition can be used to great effect. Repeating a long line of stock, such as twenty wheelbarrows in a row, can create an impact amongst the consumer. Remember, volume sells volume.

The aim with display is to organise products into interesting and stimulating patterns because the haphazard arrangement of merchandise can substantially reduce a display’s effectiveness. With this in mind, try to avoid the mistake many retailer’s make of not frequently checking and ‘repairing’ a display frequently during the day. A decimated disorderly display can be an instant turn off for customers, and send out the wrong signals about your business. (You may also find items are more likely to be damaged unless the display is frequently ‘repaired’.)

Where do I go from here? Stick to the following basics before then get creative.

  • Try to maintain wide aisles (atleast 5 feet wide). Customers look for ease of movement and least resistance.
  • Dont place large displays too near the entrance or blocking any access points.
  • Most consumers turn to the right when faced with a Y junction, so
  • Maximise space on the right and,
  • Use special display points to draw to left if necessary
  • Build displays in forgotten hot spots, such as end of aisles, or in the middle of a mundane group of products.