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Visual Merchandising: Why Customers Buy

Today’s retail sector is unimaginable without visual merchandising: emotions, entertainment and ambience form the basis required to leave customers eager for 'more'. In a time in which customers confront the consumer sector with more demands and criticism than ever, it is essential to develop certain concepts in order to satisfy the needs of customers on the one hand, whilst attracting and enhancing their interest and attention on the other. This, coupled with today’s difficult economic climate, makes high planning quality an indispensable element in using existing budgets to optimise effects at the POS.

In autumn 2007, a group of several leading companies aiming to promote the use of new technology at the Point of Sale established the Visual Merchandising Initiative (VMI) and carried out a study on the effects of visual merchandising on customers. The study aimed to use questionnaires to ascertain what effect a store following a concept of ‘wellbeing’ had on customers. The results were clear: 95% of visitors stated that they felt good or very good.

Emphasis on Interactive Technologies

VMI was also active concerning digital in-store media, and addressed the economic advantages of these measures in a wide-ranging study. The study compares the use of standard text-price placard with the use of image-price placards and monitors with static product images (self-service area), in addition to cross selling at deli counters through the use of dual screen scales (fresh produce area). Here, too, the use of multi-media merchandising clearly triumphed with all age categories. “The VMI supports the project through market research in order to analyse the acceptance of digital media in specialist stores with clear product offers”, explains Helmut Sartorius, Director of the Initiative.

The future lies in multimedia merchandising. According to a study carried out by the EHI Retail Institute, more than one third of retail stores surveyed plan to implement LCD or plasma screens in the branches in the near future. In light of this, the retail industry is definitely interested and ready to invest. And not without reason: “Multimedia merchandising is much more than a trend: it's a recipe for success", states Sartorius.