4 Top Tips for Perfect Visual Merchandising in Retail

18 December 2020

Visual merchandising | Retail

Visual merchandising in retail is a crucial but often overlooked part of operations. As the visual embodiment of your brand’s image, it can make or break a sale.

What’s more, those painstakingly planned VM displays took a lot of time, effort and money to create - so it’s crucial that they are executed to the letter.

Flawless visual merchandising execution can seem like an almost impossible task, but if you have the right tools to help you, it really couldn’t be simpler.

Follow these 4 top tips and you can’t go wrong.

#1 Improve training for non-VM experts

Most of your frontline employees are likely to be part-time workers, who possibly have other jobs or are studying alongside work.

Chances are, they don’t know much about the theory behind store visual merchandising.

However, this doesn’t have to be an obstacle to flawless VM execution. Your frontline teams are smart and capable - they just haven’t had the training to know about the finer details of how visual merchandising in retail works.

Giving frontline employees targeted training modules alongside the store visual merchandising guidelines you send them will help them to implement them properly. It will also teach them valuable skills that they will carry forward with them to every subsequent VM campaign they work on.

Meanwhile, understanding the deeper meaning behind the tasks they are asked to complete will empower them to do an even better job.

RELATED: The Surprising Science Behind Visual Merchandising

#2 Make guidelines easy to follow and easy to implement

Your frontline employees are constantly having to juggle several tasks at once. From dealing with customers, to restocking shelves, to maintaining a COVID-secure environment, their focus is split a lot of different ways.

So it’s understandable that getting every last detail of the visual merchandising guidelines exactly right might not be their top priority.

But despite the pressure they are under, they still want to make their store the best it can be. That’s why it’s important for HQ to make the guidelines they send to stores as clear and simple as possible.

With an easy-to-follow list of instructions that properly outline each step, there’s no room for the kind of ambiguity that drives frontline employees crazy. They can implement the instructions quickly and efficiently, and not have to worry about whether they’ve interpreted them correctly or not.

The resulting visual merchandising display is perfect, and your store teams can tick it off their long list of tasks and get back to doing what they do best - interacting with customers.

#3 Give HQ full visibility into VM execution

Once your frontline employees have implemented the visual merchandising guidelines, the next step is for HQ to check things have gone to plan.

But if you have a large network of stores to keep track of, this can become almost impossible. So how do you gain full visibility into what’s happening on the shop floor, without big-brothering your frontline staff?

A digitized task management platform enables your frontline teams to send photos of displays in real time. HQ can then spot any errors immediately, so that they can be quickly nipped in the bud.

There’s no need for the complex back and forth of emails or WhatsApp messages, and frontline teams don’t waste any more time on improper implementation.

RELATED: The 3 Components of a Successful In-Store Execution Strategy

#4 Encourage communication between store and HQ teams

But communication doesn’t have to stop there - in fact, it shouldn’t.

If you want to ensure perfect VM execution across the board, communication between HQ and frontline employees needs to be a two-way street.

Combining your task execution platform with internal communications in one unified platform creates a feedback loop, allowing both HQ and frontline teams to instantly contact each other whenever they need to.

Too often, frontline employees feel like they’re being dictated to from on high, and it can be frustrating. Giving them a voice on your internal communications platform helps make it feel more like a collaboration.

When frontline teams feel seen and heard, employee engagement skyrockets - and that leads to even better in-store execution.

And if teams are able to communicate with each other across your entire network, they’ll learn from each other and share best practices, creating an even more knowledgeable and connected workforce.

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