Point of Purchase Design and Effective Visual Merchandising

Often referred to as the “Silent Salesman,” visual merchandising and point of purchase design associated with retail displays should physically, mentally and even emotionally attract the customer all the way to the purchase point. Because of this, retail displays are not likely to be effective if they happen by chance. Rather, they should be the result of great thought, planning and design, based around the business, its products and the desired connection with the customer. With effective point of purchase design, retail displays can create a significant edge over the competition.

180 EXOHEAD Point of purchase design

The International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology (IJESIT) conducted a study in May, 2013 and found that 93% of customers look at all displays and signs in a store. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said light, color, ambience and attractive visuals made them spend more time in the store.

Flex Point of purchase design

Other ideas to consider when creating the most impactful retail displays include:

• Target market every detail of the display. An effective display will appeal to specific customers, so an Alice and Wonder toothpaste display for kids should not include Freddie Krueger. This would be, not only an obvious break from the theme, but a disturbing one.  

• Use the five senses – consider lighting (sight), music (hearing), aromatherapy (smell), food samples (taste) where applicable, lotion samples (touch) for example, so the customer will be impacted on several levels.  

• Story-based theme. Instead of Easter, consider a display based around Peter Cottontail.

• Be bold. Use bright colors and/or strong, catchy themes or phrases. Push the envelope!

• Less is more. When in doubt, less is best. Cluttered displays lack focus, dilute the impact and weaken the sale.

• Odd number. As in many other aspects of art, the rule of three applies to retail displays as well.

• Pyramid. The top spot of this type of display belongs to the most important aspect of the design because the eye will be drawn upward towards the ultimate message.

• Repetition. Consider using cases of soda stacked high or built into an object, like a goal post for a Super Bowl-themed display.

• Show don’t tell. Customers want to be shown a message rather than have to read one so more visual aspects are better than just words.

• Lighting. Lighting, or lack of lighting, and every type of lighting in between, creates its own type of ambiance.

• Change it up. Customers become desensitized easily and quickly.

Big 5 Bike Rack Point of purchase design

Because retail displays help set the tone of a store, they are just as important as the products they hold. Therefore, great care should be taken regarding the overall message the store would like to send through the retail displays it utilizes. And, always make sure this message is based on customers’ expectations.

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