Visual merchandise is the accepted broad term used for the function of showing goods. The older and more limited term display is often used to refer to an individual visual presentation of goods. Visual merchandising can encompass all aspects of the total visual impact of the store and its merchandise. Generally, visual merchandising is the more expansive term and can encompass window displays and interior displays.
The purpose of visual merchandising is to promote the sale of merchandise while reflecting the store image. The displays are meant for selling specific kind of merchandise. A display can also be followed through an ad. It should attract attention and stimulate the customer to lead to a purchase decision. The displays are often used to introduce a new product, a fashion trend, or a new look or an idea. Effective displays educate the consumer as to how the new item can be worn and it can be accessorize. A web-planned display should say something special to the shopper about the merchandise, the store, and the management thus, reinforcing and enhancing the store’s image.
Merchandising through visual merchandising is the most dynamic route to sales. It is a powerful form of show- and- tells, even if not a single word is spoken. From the design of the store’s exterior and interior layout to its window and point- of- sale displays, the retailer employs visual merchandising, to communicate with the customer. Visual merchandising communicates the store’s image, reinforces the stores advertising efforts and prompts the need to buy impulse.
Visual presentation or display of merchandise communicates store image and fashion ideas to the consumer. Retailers have been placing greater emphasis on the presentation of merchandise. Stores in modern shopping malls, however may have few or no windows, but rather a wide entrance that gains the entering customer’s a sweeping view of the selling area.
Displays are planned many months in advance in conjunction with other store promotions. Buyers complete for window space on the basis of how well their merchandise fits the particular promotional theme.The physical surroundings are an important element in visual merchandising. Visual merchandising must reflect and address the largest customers need and desires. This area can be decorated or designed in a unique way with the help of some materials like props, mannequins, flowers and different decorative items.
To attract the customer, a visual merchandiser must be imaginative and creative for effective for effective presentation of merchandise. Display or visual merchandising is “showing merchandise” concept at its very best, with the end purpose of making a sale .Based on the above theory Mark Allen has listed three goals of display:
To inform the customer of the goods one offers and the current fashion trend.
To entertain the customer in a way that sets the store apart from other retailers in the area that may carry the same stock.
To use the display to lie in with major sales promotions or important trends.
Window displays are art forms created with merchandise and props, just as garment design is art created with fabric. In planning windows, buyers choose garments that carry out the promotional theme and image of the store.
The object of the window is to motivate one towards a closer look at the merchandise and to plant the yearning to buy. Some of the treatments that may be used include: –
* A single mannequin against seamless paper.
* A theoretical setting, an injection of fantasy and drama.
* Animation, as in holiday windows that draws crowds of viewers.
* Use of sculptures, fine painting reproduction or art objects. Windows are planned to integrate with their entire surroundings. * * * There are several kinds of windows:
Closed Back Windows
: -This is a typical window with a large – area of plate glass and walls enclosing the remaining three sides. The advantages of closed windows are many. The merchandise is protected from shoppers who could touch and disrupt it. The closed in an area makes it possible to present any seasonable fashion or mood within the display. Closed windows have several disadvantages. They take up valuable floor space that could be used for selling.
- Open – Back Windows: – This window does not have a back wall, thus presenting a view into the selling area beyond extra effort is required to keep the selling arc in the background from distracting the viewer. This type of window stimulates and invites passer by to come in and look around. Using the display to co-ordinate with the merchandise behind the windows will enhance the merchandise being presented and create a less confusing display. Open windows take less space less money to construct.
- Partially – open window: – These windows are very similar to open windows except they use version of separation. These serve the window serve the window space from the selling floor yet do not block the entire views to the store. The partial divider makes it less likely that customer and small children will disturb the display area. Such a display does not use too much space and it is not an expensive as others.
- Island window: – This window has a glass on all four sides so that merchandise can be viewed from all directions. Island windows are usually at cascade fronts and are isolated for the best of the building. Lighting is a problem in an Island window. Since light will be visible from every direction. Direct the to the merchandise and avoid the glass as much as possible because the light can hit the eye of the passer by if not carefully placed.
Shadow Box: – These windows are on side streets and may have been full size windows. Shadow boxes are used for smaller items such as folded skirts with ties & sweaters, accessories such as jewellery, handbag &shoes; because the space is small and shallow, strong color, contrasts and dramatic effects are necessary to attract attention. So, A window designer creates a “whole” rather than a fragment talking into consideration the building façade, the street and its people and the relationships of perspective, color harmonies, lighting and viewing angle. Even the design of the windows themselves influences how they are treated and the visual merchandising and role they play.
While windows are designed to stop traffic, interior displays are designed to guide the shopper to the point of sale. Interior display is an integral part of the architectural design and floor plan of the store. The interior display designers is not locked into a static area but must utilize existing space on the selling floor at strategic spots where traffic is the heaviest, such as the entrance, escalator and elevator banks, stairways.
Display inside the store should relate to the displays seen in the windows. The signs that direct the customer, the walls and the interior display are most important to the total visual concept of the store. Interiors are changed in order to stimulate sales. If necessary, interior displays are changed as often as twice a week, in areas where sales are sluggish.The walls in a store can be an excellent area for displays. A flat wall can use fixtures for hanging merchandise. Display cubes are available in various sizes and of various materials. Cubes can show any goods from cosmetics to expensive art objects.
Today, the market is not getting larger, its getting smarter, more sophisticated, more aware of what’s new, what’s desirable and what things should cost. The store exterior and windows must be inviting, with the intent of bringing the customer into the store to spend money. The façade of the building and the arrangement of the display windows give the impact of the store image. There are several things to be considered in the store front design which are as follows: –
Architectural structure: – The structure of the building should be attractive & eye appealing. The material used in building construction matters as it enhances the outlook of the building. All the other things used for exterior displays will be affected from the kind of façade the building has. Hence it plays an important role.
Window Display: – A display window can be seeing through space with the selling floor on view beyond or it can be a contained “stage” with sidewalls, floor and ceiling. The “audience” stands outside and looks through the plate glass wall at a well-lit presentation. “For real dramatic and excitement in display, these is nothing to compare with what you can do in an display window “ a closed back window is the typical display window with a full back wall, sides and a large plate – glass window facing the presentation. It is also known as enclosed windows. There are several other windows like deep windows, island window, tall window, open back window etc.
Signs or Signage: – It’s size and scale, in proportion to the store’s façade, the size of the building and the signs around it can make points for or against the store’s image. Flaking paint, cracked and peeling backgrounds and outrageous luminous colours can be minuses also. The sign should be the store’s “signature”, -personal, original and recognizable. It should make a statement.
Marquees: – The Marquee, a permanent awning for protection from the element is an integral part of the building façade. The Marquee can be an exciting place to start the display of a storewide event or promotion. A change of season can be announced here.
Outdoors Lighting: – This provides some degree of decoration to the store exterior. This is a whole industry involved in creating and installing outdoor lighting displays. However, this type of display does require an extra expenditure of electrical energy and the effect of the lighting is limited to the twilight and evening hours when the store may not be open for business.
Planters: – The planters can become a part of the display scheme, with changes in the varieties and colors of the plants to go with promotions or seasons. Planters set below and in front of a display window, dramatize the window presentation by adding greater depth to the settings. Artificial flowers and plants will do, but the real thing is much more appealing.
Awnings: – It adds another gracious touch to the exterior of the store. Some display persons use the awing as a device to cut down on the glare and reflection that in turn shows the window into giant mirrors. However, awing users are relying on them to add color and eye appeal to the storefront.
To enhance the exterior display each and every thing is arranged to give an over all impact on the store. So, at last one can add a compact, concentrated merchandise grouping can rely a fashion trend, a look, an attitude, or get a story across better than a mass presentation. Often small and well designed succeed over big and over blown.
SELECTION OF MANNEQUINS AND POSTERS
Mannequin: – The selection of a mannequin is one of the most important professional decisions a display person is called upon to make. A mannequin may be a store’s most valuable asset. Mannequins are becoming more natural, more true to life, more animated and more identifiable as the people who shop the stores.
Mannequins in natural poses can carry off most outfits with style and fines. The pose or physical attitude should show off the garment to its best advantage first and then suggest where and how it can be worn. Every mannequin should be given “a rest period” so that it does not become very familiar to the customer.
Posters: – Posters can be colorful, eye catching and eye- filling devices. They can be and should be changed with the season or the store events. The same designed posters, reduced in size and scale, should be pasted in the marquee or between the display windows.
Since logo’s and graphics are so important in today’s scheme of image and identification, the designs for the posters used could be based on the special wrap or store bag design that was created for the season or promotion.
In order to work, the display should not only attract and exist; it should reinforce an idea and present dimensionally what was, until then, a flat representation.