Done well, visual merchandising is a valuable marketing strategy. Attractive window displays and signs both in and outside the store will entice customers into the store and draw their attention to products.

However, simple mistakes often weaken retail displays, reducing their effectiveness and potentially costing you customers. Fortunately, once you identify these common mistakes, you can easily rectify them.

Poor window displays

There’s no point having a well-designed store if few customers are going to enter it, yet many retailers do not make the most of their window displays and external signs. A lack-lustre window display with little information on promotions and offers will do nothing to entice passers-by to enter. Instead, establish a regularly changing window display of carefully chosen products. You can use good quality posters, pavement signs and framed graphics effectively to promote new products and bargains, encouraging customers to step inside.

Lack of continuity in visual merchandising

A common mistake is to have a state-of-the-art window display, complete with eye-catching signs promoting the latest offers, but failing to continue this theme inside the store. Getting customers into the store is half the battle. Once they are inside, they need to make purchases. Ensure the products you promote outside the store are easy to locate inside, and use a theme in the visual merchandising systems, including the point-of-sale systems, to forge links to other products.

Incorrect number of promotions

Of course, you want customers to make as many purchases as possible, but far too often retailers make the mistake of trying to promote too many products, giving the shelves a cluttered look. Effective merchandising of the top products will increase sales far more than over-merchandising, which is likely to leave customers confused. Equally important, do not make the mistake of going the other way and promoting too few products. Empty shelves, unattractive displays and little promotional information will leave the store looking dull and tells the customer that you have little on offer. Getting the balance right is key to good retail display systems.

Poor visuals

While good retail systems engage all the senses, sight is the most dominant one. Unattractive displays or hard-to-read signs will result in a negative shopping experience for customers, reducing the likelihood of purchases and return visits. Good quality signs and posters are an investment well worth making. Also, consider the use of lighting in the store. While very bright lighting can look harsh, it is important for customers to understand any information easily. LED light boxes are a simple but effective way to make sure customers can read the signs easily.

Not encouraging purchases

Customers can easily purchase the products sold in most stores either online or at another store. Attractive retail displays will fail to result in purchases if you don’t encourage customers to buy. Use point-of-sale display frames and good quality, easy-to-read posters to encourage customers to buy in your store. Don’t make the mistake of assuming customers know about reward point systems and other promotions. Effective point-of-sale systems need to draw attention to these.

By correcting these common mistakes, you can make your visual merchandising systems work effectively for your business.