Thursday, September 17, 2015



Visual merchandising is the selling of product through visual communication. If someone asks; How we do visual merchandising? What are the tools ? what are the ways of doing visual merchandising? The first thing will come in your mind is display/arrangement. The display can be used to introduce a new product, a fashion trend, or a new look or idea. Effective displays educate the consumer as to how the new item can be used or worn and how it can be accessorized. The purpose of a display is to sell/focus specific merchandise, to replicate brand image, to tell the customers that “what all special goods & service you have”. So, your visual display should attract the attention and stimulate the customer sufficiently to lead to a purchase decision. Displays attract, compel and persuade in a subtle fashion/way. A good presentation can and should stop you, get your attention, and maybe even make you smile. In a very broad sense, visual presentation not only helps to sell the merchandise itself but the store as well.
Rosen Bloom (1981) has classified display methods as;  

1. Window displays, there are five types of windows and they are:
     a. Closed back windows.
     b. Open back windows
     c. Partial open windows
     d. Island windows
      e. Shadow box
2. Interior display
3. Isolated display
4. Open display
5. Theme display
6. Life style display

1. WINDOW DISPLAY: Window display has traditionally been a major form of promotion for many store-based retailers.
The main features of window display are visual appeal, relevance and interest value. The visual appeal of a display directly affects the ability of the display to gain shoppers attention. Relevance can be the shopper. Highly relevant displays tend to gain shoppers attention as individuals tend to notice (perceive) stimuli that relate to a current need. Interest value is related to relevance, although should more accurately be described as a means of persuasion.
a. Closed back window: It is a typical window with a large area of plate glass and walls enclosing the remaining three sides. There is a door on one of these walls through which props and merchandise are passed. Since back is closed so customers could not able to see what all merchandise are being offered by the store.

closed back window

b. Open Back Windows: These do not have a back wall, thus presenting a view into the selling area beyond. Screens, plants, or see- through drapery effects can be used to create a backdrop.
Open window take less space and less money to construct, but they are vulnerable to customers who may disturb the merchandise. Mood setting is difficult because of the store and its distracting lighting in the background. This kind of window helps customers to see deep inside the store from outside. Easy to identify the products offering in the store
open back window
Partially open windows: These are very similar to open window except they use versions of separation. These serve to screen the window space from the selling floor yet do not block the entire view to the store. The partition can be solid or open material such as railings, lattice work, or wrought iron.
partially open window
d. Island widow: It has glass on all four sides so that merchandise can be viewed from all directions. Lighting is a problem in an island window since lights will be visible from every direction.
island window
e. Shadow box: It is a small elevated window. Shadow boxes are used for smaller items such as folded shirts with ties and sweaters; accessories such as jewelry, handbags, and shoes; children‘s fashions; and home furnishings such as china and crystal. Because the space is small and shallow, strong color contrasts and dramatic effects are necessary to attract attention.
shadow box window 

Displays inside the store should relate to the displays seen in the windows. Good display effects should continue inside the store to move customer traffic through the store. The aisles, the signs that direct the customer, the walls and the interior displays are most important to the total concept of the store. Each department, shelf, counter, ledge, case and furnishing in addition to the display area requires analysis in executing display techniques. The furnishing of the area should be attractive and placed so as to enhance the visual impact on the customer. The walls in a store can be excellent area for display. A flat wall can use fixtures for hanging merchandise. A flat wall with shelves for folded merchandise can be used for such items as shirts, sweaters, table linens and dishes. Color arrangements can be the key to attracting the customer into the department. Display cubes are available in various sizes and of various materials. They are often used in wide aisles to gain attention for a special product or adjacent to the aisle to draw the customer into the department. The materials used should coordinate with the decoration of the surrounding department and may be natural wood, laminated material, or colorful fabrics
interior display
Isolated displays are less frequently used now than in the past, because they require too much time and expensive props such as mannequins. They are often far from the merchandise to which they relate. The customer is stimulated by the display and should have immediate access to the merchandise. For example, when a red dress is on a mannequin, a T- stand should be placed be nearby with other sizes of red dress, or wine glass and shampion bottles placed near the mannequins. Such a display catches the eye of the potential customers passing by and draws them into the department.Advantage of this kind of display is 'you can feel the merchandise, relate the uses.
isolated store display
The open display gives the shopper free and easy access to the products. The display seeks to gain shopper attention and involvement by allowing products to be easily touched or sample. Clothing retailers utilize this form of display extensively, typically with racks, but also with tables or easy- access shelving.The main advantage is you can easily touch and feel the surface of the merchandise, textures,lusture and comfort of the garment.
open display

A themed display is aimed at building a connection between an event, activity, season or other feature and the shopper. The style and physical characteristics of the display are directed by the theme itself- e.g. a summer holiday display is dictated by the theme itself – e.g. a summer holiday display in a store may feature umbrellas and sand, as well as the products themselves such as suncreams, etc. Sales are achieved by shoppers seeing the display, making the association with the event, and considering to buy a range of purchases. Thematic display one can do in the window as well as in entire store. It is helpful to relate the sentiments of the customers easily. Themes may be seasonal (spring, winter, autumn winter) Event & Festive wise (valentine day, Christmas day, Haloween, Ice bucket challenge, tomatino, Holi, Diwali, Independence day) Fashion cycle/sub-culture (Grunge, Gauthic, Hippie ..etc) Legacy ( Rajputana, princess, queen )

 lifestyle displays seek to present products that fit the way the shopper lives. Plummer (1974), describes the shopper‘s activities, interests or opinions. Fashion retailers use this method extensively to show that a given assortment or category is right for the individual shopper. Pictures, video, sound or objects are often important parts of such as they gain the shopper‘s attention. Nike uses this method extensively.

Note- The photographs used in this blog post are not owned by the author, and it is not for commercial use. These blogs are for educational purpose only, the students of Fashion Design, Retail Management, Fashion communication, Knitwear Design, Fashion Technology and Accessory Design department of the different fashion designing institutes are  the beneficiaries. 

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