Visual Merchandising: Are You Blocking Your Customer’s Path To Purchase?

By Bob Phibbs

blocking customers retail visual merchandisingIs there some book for visual merchandising out there titled, How To Make Your 6000 Square Foot Store Look Like It is Only 60?

I’m talking about this obnoxious habit of retailers putting a long table right across the front of the store entrance.

What makes it worse is it is within about 8 feet of the front door.

Take a look at this retailer...

bad retail merchandising

And this

bad retail merchandising

These retailers visual merchandising managers have put whatever they think is their “best” on this table to grab passersby attention. Usually it’s the sale stuff like this…

bad retail merchandising

These stores’ have effectively cut off the rest of their stores from the views of their customers.

Do they realize these tables, usually piled full of clothes, create a barrier to their customers' entry?

If they had bothered to spend thirty minutes watching their shoppers, they would have seen them glance at the table then turn around and leave. They would have seen only a few customers actually walk around the table and into their store.

Nordstrom understands this. Take a look at this.

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Their red carpet helps to draw the shoppers’ eyes and bodies into the store.

Saks understands this as well. Their visual merchandising includes a table but angles customers right into the store.

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Here's a smaller retailer that, while they have a table, it is lengthways so it mirrors the flooring to again, draw shoppers' eyes and bodies into their store.

good retail merchandising

Williams Sonoma understands shopper behavior too. Their entry is sided by smaller tables that highlight special items or themes to encourage browsing.

good retail merchandising

That’s what you want to do those of you in charge of visual merchandising, draw customers in, not keep them at arm’s distance. If you want to grow retail sales, don’t put up barriers to purchase – and don’t put up tables that block.

When it comes to visual merchandising the front of your store, remember: less is more.

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