9 Fresh Ideas In Retail Merchandising

Child with goggles

Access My FREE 5-Part Retail Sales Training Email Course!

Retail merchandising is how you attract customers away from mindlessly strolling by your store, driving past in their cars, or keeping their eyes on their smartphones when they walk into your store. 

At its heart, visual merchandising snaps our attention to something that either doesn't fit or stands out. 

What we're talking about here is disrupting the brain. 

And why is disrupting the brain necessary?

We have all come to depend on technology. Our eyes are glued to our screens all day, then again in the evenings while we catch up with friends and family. 

It has made our thoughts predictable. Enter your store displays...

The best displays have an air of mystery about how items are arranged, who they are for, and even how they are made, which is far more intriguing than placards boasting 50% off.

Ideally, your viewers will obtain a sense of possibility in what you choose to put together carefully and immediately say to themselves, "Yes, that's what I need," or "What IS that?" Either way, you did the job of grabbing someone's attention. 

We have a whole course in SalesRX to help you with merchandising, so I thought I'd share examples to get your creativity flowing.

9 Fresh Ideas For Retail Merchandising

Instagram has updated its API so that we can only embed code into our site that now requires you to click on each image to fetch the contents of a post directly from Instagram’s servers.

I apologize in advance as this was supposed to be a visual blog. If you want to see the curated images I've collected, you'll have to click on each one.

1. Go monochrome

While Tiffany's has done this since their start - even with a patent on their Pantone color no less - we're seeing more and more yellow monochrome merchandising, especially in luxury retailers like this Louis Vuitton location in SoHo. The bright color draws the eye inward due to its warmth and association with fun.  You can use almost any color as a monochrome focus, but yellow represents hope...and we can all use more hope.


Yes, yellow is hot right now...

2. Play a game.

Remember that old game of one thing is not like the other? Your brain loves games, and the more it is quickly challenged to find the same and what is not, the more you can make passing feet stop outside your door like this shop in Paris does.

3. Mannequins can be found for anything

Full-scale mannequins originated in the 18th century. Made from wicker or wirework, they were used to give a more lifelike appearance to clothes. Nowadays, you can find a variety of shapes and uses, including those used to display luxury dog wear. 

4. Consignment doesn't mean boring
Recycle, upcycle, and reuse are the catchwords of Gen Z and consignment and resale stores are in demand. What I appreciated about the shop below was that they applied what I found in Nordstrom many years ago...


...to their consignment store, which allows the merchandise to be seen for its potential rather than jammed together on a circular rack. 

5. Flat displays save space yet still can show it all

Who hasn't struggled with finding space to display a complete picture? We all have. That's why this ingenious flat display from the UK stands out. What is the theme? Time to clean. It's brilliant, and the peg board makes it simple without looking cheap or second-rate.

6. White is a color

So many retailers think the more color added, the better. But they often forget white is a color as well. You can do so much with white and one or two complimentary neutrals to show Spring. Cashmere Goose in Hampshire, UK, shows how to do it beautifully.


7. Mannequins in action

Running stores have had full-motion robots in urban centers for a while now, but you don't need the motion to convey yoga. You want just the opposite. Three colors of burnt orange, lavender, and black unify the space in the middle of the Antara, Mexico, Nike store. The white surfaces further calm the space, and the namaste of the tallest form doing a tree pose shows yoga practitioners - This is for you

8. Draw the eye through the store

So many boutiques - especially newer spaces - are long and narrow which makes them like looking down a grocery aisle. Visitors are not compelled to go further unless you grab shoppers' eyes. That's why this simple visual trick used by Daisuke Yanese of placing large scarves across the ceiling works so well in this store in Japan. Also, it works because the walls, flooring, and ceiling are so light. Don't try this with patterned flooring. 


9. One thing is not like the other

How do you get someone's attention about a product launch that might be too small to work in a window? Hermes built a box and added a colorful jungle of colors around the partnership with Apple. I also love how they used wide-eyed owls to reinforce "Look here." You could do that for almost any display as well.


What not to do when using visual merchandising in your store?

Merchandising mistake example #1: Just put it somewhere

One of the most common mistakes in merchandising is to dump all of one product together. Nothing stands out. Upon further inspection, you can realize it is a knit cap but imagine how much more impact this would have had on another fixture or as part of a color story on a wall. 



Visual merchandising mistake #2: Thinking more color is better

Indira Shafikova shared this post. The consumer's mind is overloaded with color, shape, and noise. This results in shoppers trying to look "through" all the merchandise rather than looking "at" it. 


Oh, and don't be afraid to mix and match as this designer did for a recent Saks window with monochrome to highlight the red jacket - you have to click through to see it on #5.


In Sum

Retail merchandising is a great job for expressive personalities to bring life to lifeless products.


But just because they are creative doesn't mean anything goes.

As you can see from these visual merchandising examples, the job is for the merchandise to stand out and make the shopper consider something they had not previously.

I have many tips and tricks on creating windows and displays that sell in the SalesRX online training system course Creating Displays that Sell, which is included at no extra fee.



Download the SalesRX Brochure & Outline