Visual Merchandising Elements You Need to Consider To Boost Your Sales Posted by Excollective on Oct 14, 2015
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ikea augmented reality

Contrary to common belief, visual merchandising is not only about eye-catching product displays; it’s increasingly founded upon science, psychology and data and the use of techniques to engage multiple senses in a way that aligns the physical retail space with the digital world.  In our omni-channel retail environment, the key is to be connected to those channels where your customers shop. It’s all about providing information, along with easy shopping experiences, and encouraging customers to have a relationship with your brand.

Interestingly, despite the growth of giant online-only brands, retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence still control between 94% and 97% of the market, according to Harvard Business Review1.  

Smart brands haven’t given up on the store as their physical point of sale; they treat it as a challenge to re-imagine its meaning.  The trick is to create a symbiotic relationship between physical retail space and online presence; some brands are even embedding the latest digital technology into the building as a central part of the user experience.

IKEA provides a great example of augmented reality with its online and print catalogues. People flock to IKEAs online and physical stores for enjoyable shopping experiences. In 2013,  IKEA incorporated Face Recognition and Augmented Reality technologies, as well as personalised digital content and product views, for people to visualise the products situated in their very own homes for a truly personal shopping experience.

From an in-store visual perspective, a concept-led and architecturally-considered retail space with visual merchandising that attracts, seduces and connects with visitors is more likely to convince people to enter, stay and shop and, most importantly, want to buy!  If your retail space is still designed around what worked in the 80’s: with counters along the walls and merchandise packed to the rafters, it’s time to change!

We never cease to be amazed by the effort and analysis behind the science of visual merchandising and psychology of shopping.

Did you know that:

  • The first 3-4 metres of your store is typically referred to as the ‘decompression zone’, which should be designed to welcome your customers and allow them to freely enter your store and adjust to your environment.
  • There is a view that our eyes are most likely to keep moving and looking around when we’re looking at something asymmetrical, because when we see something symmetrical or balanced our eyes stop dead in their track.
  • There is a thing called the ‘Pyramid Principle’ that says, if you have one item at the top of a display, and all other items ‘one step down’, your eyes are forced to look at the focal point at the top and then work their way down.

Retailers of all sizes around the world are now using technology to measure the numbers and flow of people visiting their stores or retail displays, the dwell times at displays and the ages and genders of visitors.

All of this ‘intelligence’ excites people like us, who also want other people to fall in love with our clients’ brands and products and be enticed to enter our clients’ physical and virtual retail spaces and shop their hearts out.

The visual cues you can utilise to communicate your message are almost limitless – from the psychological trigger of colours to leveraging lighting options, angles, balance, contrast, then going for techniques to focus, direct and sustain a person’s attention.  Whilst a physical retail space’s visual merchandise presentation provides the eye candy to achieve the best results, a holistic sensory-branding approach to visual merchandising very much seeks to engage the other senses to create an immersive experience suited to the physical environment and product range.


Touch:  Welcoming displays that invite customers to touch, feel, try out, try on or play with products allow customers to fulfill an important part of their pre-purchasing decision process.

Sound: DJs play to their audiences, as retailers should do to the customers they are trying to attract and the mood they seek to create.  Music that triggers an emotional connection with the brand or products can add to an uplifting shopper experience.  Music can be used to slow people down and linger; it’s a ‘science’ in itself and should be a thoughtfully integrated part of the VM mix.

Smell: Speaking of science, aromacology tells us that certain smells can enhance the shopper experience and have a positive effect on shopper behaviour.  Smell is considered to be a fast track to the system in our brains that evokes memory and emotion, two relevant factors behind why we choose one brand over another.

Taste: This can work wonders if you happen to be in the business of selling food and beverage – people love to try before they buy.


Retailers are also increasing experimenting with interactive and multimedia displays to engage our senses and face recognition and near-field communications (NFC) to enhance the shopper experience.

Imagine a future, enabled by 5G and the Internet of Things as part of our lives, where you walk past a shop window or a retail space and NFC-like technology recognises your smartphone, acknowledges your preferences and alerts you to a product that you are interested in.

It may be time for you to incorporate some of these visual merchandising elements and to consider the possibilities that future-forward techniques can do for both your business and consumers?


Need help with creating visual merchandising ideas and techniques? Simply message us to and learn more on how to maximise your retail spaces.



1 Rigby, D. “E-Commerce Is Not Eating Retail.” Harvard Business Review. Web. Accessed 12 October 2015.