Visual Merchandising

ABSTRACT

Visual merchandising is a comparatively new career field in which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandisers main area of work is to create impossible window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, euphoria etc. They are also engaged as shop floor mangers. They can also do freelancing on contract basis for windows displays in exhibitions, fares, and other places. Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor, fashion retailer, export manger etc. This paper discusses importance and potential for visual merchandising professionals.

Contents

INTRODUCTION

CRITICAL ISSUES OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

ROLE OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

SCOPE FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT

INTRODUCTION

Selling a product (convenient/shopping/specialty) is incomplete without communicating its image. To build long term brand loyalty, in addition to the quality of the product, right image is very much needed. To attain this, many companies invest huge money the promotions. But many businesses neglect the retail front which is the face of the brands. In other words, the way the products are displayed at the retail shelves, the way the sales people communicate to the consumer etc. are the some of the issues, which if not handles well can be a great threat to the brands image. Visual merchandising is the art of presentation, which puts the merchandiser in focus. It educates the customers, creates desire and finally augments the selling process. This is an area where the Indian business people lack adequate knowledge and expertise. This inadequacy is best reflected in poor presentation/display and communication the various national and international exhibitions with phasing out of quantitative restrictions after the year 2004, the textile industry will have to compete purely on the competitive edge of the products and visual merchandising will be helpful for the projecting the uniqueness of the products and thereby increasing the market access and sales. It is high time that the Indian textile and clothing industry should understand and adopts the scientific and professional system of visual merchandising rather than the traditional practices of display of products and communication.

CRITICAL ISSUES OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

Retailing them itself has transformed the way business is done and the so called merchandisers of disposition of store inventory. There are many ways and standard procedures to ignite sales, increase profits and maximize the net worth of the business. Visual merchandising helps in this respect. This calls for a concerted industry efforts to approximately value the importance of quality retail coverage such as self-integrity in store advertising, price verification, stock rotations, new item-cut and other related activities. To make effective the retail business one has to focus on the following critical issues of visual merchandising.

a) Graphics and signage: attention grabbing yet clear graphics by way to visually communicate the brand and these graphics when compiled with the right signage become the stalls complete instruction manual.

b) Trends and moot boards: This is misunderstood by many as mere decorations for the stall. The brand sources and moot boards convey the source, in fact the mere need of the product for the consumer to the buyer. A good trend story board display can exhibit a thought process nursing for the inspirations (research, to swatch development of the final usage of the product.

c) Space management: Most displays concentrate on the floor management of space. In order to create a complete desired ambience the ceiling space should also be given enough attention. Walls are not elastic space should be allocated to the available products as per the expectation of the customers to deliver best results. The major issues of space management are:

1. How do we want our ranges to look?

2. Hanging/stocked/customers etc.

3. What stock density do you want to achieve?

Generally, the more options/units you can hold for a given amount of space, the higher the potential returns. Space landing systems can be split into two types

Numeric and visuals: Numeric planning system simply allow users to account of space available and to calculate the ratios like returns on space. Visual systems allow users to create three dimensional walk through models of the stores and to preview the look of a store once ranging decisions have been made.

d) Dresiforms and mannequins: The dresiforms communicate the 3 dimensional form of the product. Along with the fit a good mannequin can also be customized to communicate a character, for example, special kids wear mannequins with caricatured faces convey the playful mood of the collections.

e) Synergy among the different stalls: A stall look should compliment the mood the whole fair too. So some visual elements from the fair, be it a color scheme or some material used should also be incorporated in the stall.

f) Out of the box thinking: With so many stalls around, it sometimes focus some stock value to grab the attention of the buyers. Innovative ideas in displaying the mannequins, swatches etc can invite many more people to the stall.

g) Merchandise planning: The first function of merchandising planning is making a strategic plan, which is normally for a five years or more and is used to set the critical success factors for merchandising in terms of sales, margins and stocks. Next in a channel sales budget to take into account the effect of the new channels, new stores, closures, and refits. In simple words merchandising planning is a systematic approach and aiming at maximizing return on investment, through planning sales and inventory in order to increase profitability. It does think by maximization sales potential and minimizing losses from marked down and stock cuts.

h) Range planning: Begin with assortment plan. In assortment plan, the goal of merchandise plan are divided into specific lines and such a way that the division results in the increase of overall marginal mix. Then a distributions planning in done. The link between available physical space and ranging done here is a key determinant of merchandising performance.

ROLE OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

Visual merchandising is an artistic method to ensure that retailers merchandise moves off the shelves faster. It’s a tool to appeal to the visual sensory elements of the customer. Visual merchandising is an unknown skill which is fastly becoming popular nowadays with the introduction of self service in retail stores in recent years and the number of changes taking place in super market merchandising methods, there has been increased emphasis on the kind of store layout, store building, fixtures, and equipment, color displays, silent communication tools, window display and finally opinion building through in store displays which has taken the art of retailing the higher applications frames.

Customer expects to spend less time for shopping and prefers one step multi brand retail formats and hence significance of visual merchandising is on increase. As per the opinion of Hemendra Mathur, senior consultant of KSA technopark based on the third annual consumer outlook study that the consumer is getting time saved and the time spent on shoppin (both grocery and non grocery) has come down. Further the study reveals that are increase in the impulse and unplanned purchases in the certain categories. Visual merchandising helps in the increase of impulse buying.

The practice of a visual merchandising is negligible in durables and home textiles and in the apparel and foot wear it is 20%. Many people experience in organized retailing are of the opinion that innovative application for effective retail presents and brand buildings are being used aggressively by companies in retail merchandising. Brands like Reebok spent 25% of their advertising spent on point of sale merchandising. The brand managers of Reebok feel that 80% of the buyers are influenced by the 3 feet experience i.e, point of sales material and visual merchandising are more effective than outdoor displays and advertising.

Market analysis feel that most companies are unfortunately not spending as much time and money as they should on POS (point of sales) visual merchandising as a strategic tool for brand building, indiscriminately “displaying everything rather than displaying selectively and effectively to assist consumer in taking decisions.

Visual merchandising helps in:

a) Establishing a creative medium to present merchandise in 3 D environment, with which a long lasting impact and recall value.

b) Combining the creative, technical, and operational aspects of a product and the business.

c) Educating the customers about the product/services in an effective and creative or innovative manners.

d) Drawing the attention of the customer to enable him to purchase decisions in the short space of time and this augmenting the selling process.

SCOPE FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Retail business analysts feel that the average spending on POS and merchandising displays is RS. 1000 per square foot in the organized retailing whole size is Rs. 14,000 crores of the total (both organized and unorganized is Rs. 11,00,000 crore. Further analysis reveal that the multi brand retail formats (hypermarket) are storing 35% growth rate per annum which is the storing indicator for the bright and huge scope. For the visual merchandising professionals who have experience in designing effective store layouts, color displays, the use of creative silent communication skill tools, creative window display, and in store displays. The curriculum of visual merchandising includes generally the following fields:

a). Creative art.

b). Specific application to retail.

c). Techno commercial planning and execution.

Students of management looking for employment can find opportunities in departmental stores, super markets, malls, and hyper markets as visual merchandiser. Further those who have entrepreneurial streak can look for event managers or interior designers professionals.

Internet Home Business For Women

There are variety of home business options that women can choose from. Most women nowadays work a day job where they earn money but are faced with a lot of duties at home as well. Yet technology advances came up with a solution for that gap. Remember many cultures are now making a living online and have different customs. With an Internet business, more women are given the opportunity to take hold of their business schedules and domestic duties. And we all know that there is a lot of money to be made on the Internet if you have a feasible business system.

The good thing about the Internet business world is that the location isn’t limited. With the right type of business skills and visibility you can sell virtually to anyone and anywhere in the world. As more and more people look for goods on the Internet, since most people use the Internet for business and personal gratification, the demand for decent and reliable looking websites has also increased.

There is indeed money to be made on the Internet. But the big question is, you haven’t got the know-how where to start, right? Here are a few proven successful ideas you can use as a woman engaging in an Internet home business. Though no two businesses are ever alike, starting with a proven strategy can give you a firm foundation to build with. You can experiment later on when your business is stable and you have more free time.

Know the Opportunities. There are various options to choose from on the Internet. Having a good business plan before diving into any known Internet business is a smart first step. Planning is very essential in every business. You need to have a guide and a back up plan to be able to save you from stressful financial business glitches that can happen anytime along the way with your business.

Visualize your plans. Knowing what you want and what to do about it is definitely a head start! Visualizing what you want to happen and what you got to do to achieve that state is critical to your business and as well as to yourself as an entrepreneur.

Organization/ System. A system with real organization is something you have to have in your business. The system is the heart of your business. Everything passes through it. It is the life of your business. You should set a system where you have to follow every single day. Organization on the other hand is something you need to build in order to be more productive and effective. You have to hire someone to finish up tasks. In this way you don’t have to do everything yourself.

Some women are known to thrive as entrepreneurs. Other women are able to run their homes with efficiency. Careful planning and implementation of an online business system is the key to a successful home business for women and means to bridge that gap.

Google Search Loves YouTube – YouTube and Business Internet Marketing

The oldest bicycle retailer in America under one families’ ownership is located in Ontario, California. Bumstead’s Bicycles is now owned by the forth and fifth generation of Bumsteads. But in their 99th year things were pretty rocky. After a failed attempt to move into larger, more expensive, quarters, they questioned whether they would be celebrating number 100. One thing they tried was YouTube Videos. Lloyd Bumstead points to creation of a series of YouTube videos as one of the best decisions they made in 2008. “In one weekend alone we had three new customers buy bicycles who were drawn by our videos.” Lloyd and son Garrison are now in year 101.

Why is YouTube working for small businesses? Visual media is trusted. Many consumers prefer to get their information by video instead of text. The emotion and energy of a powerful visual presentation convert visitors to buyers better than print. Use of music and special effects accomplish things that no other media can duplicate. But in this internet age, the big deal about YouTube is how easily you can get visibility on Google search. It is not uncommon for a thoughtfully keyworded YouTube Video to show up higher than your $5000 website.

In fact, Google is now making a concerted effort to “mix media” on page 1 search results. That’s why you now see news, images, videos, and local search engine results right on the top page mixed in with traditional websites. It is now estimated that a YouTube video is 27 times more likely to show up on page 1 of a Google search for your important keywords than a website. Results happen quickly, too. Commonly your YouTube video will be seen on Google search within hours.

What does it take to create a video that might get such startling results? You can either do it yourself or hire a professional video production company to do it for you. The cost for a professional will range from a few hundred dollars complete to $1000 per minute. For YouTube purposes a good $300 video is probably all you need. Inexpensive videos might include a staff member explaining the benefits of a product, service, or the company itself, but many videos are simple compilations of still pictures, text slides, super text, and music.

Going it on your own is simpler than you might expect, and yet the potential return on your time investment may depend on a serious commitment to getting past the basics that follow. Excellent results may require digging into tutorials available on the web. Learning how to “tell your story” in a way that captures and holds the viewer’s attention long enough to create action is more art than science. That said, here are the basics you will need to do it yourself.

  • Camera – Almost any camera that takes digital video will work. I like the Casio Exilim cameras. You can even get the job done with the Flip.
  • Movie Editing Program – Apple’s IMovie is fantastic, but there are many free programs available.
  • The Script – Plan out what you want to say and how you want to tell the story.
  • Directing – Whether you are only directing yourself or others, admonish the story teller to just relax. They can do it over as often as necessary. Also, YouTube is a relaxed environment. Many viewers don’t want the material to be too commercial.
  • Upload your contents into your editing program. Add still shots as inserts or breaks in the action. Create an intro and credits. Edit the video down to the point where you story is fully told. Add music if you dare. Music is a big plus at least for the intro. Here is an example of a YouTube video created for a bike shop that captures these ideas and has successfully sold a lot of product.
  • Upload to YouTube. Your Title should be keyword rich, but still attract viewers. Your description can be really long. Start with your website URL, then add content. Some suggest the description should be a transcript of what’s on the video. Tell the visitor what action to take. Add keyword tags.
  • Promote your video. Get friends to go to the video and give it a 5 star rating and make nice comments. Add the video to Facebook, blogs, and your website. Tell your followers to go see it.
  • Finally, do Google searches under the keywords that you targeted. See where you are showing up.

There you have it. Easy and actually fun. Go back to your YouTube account, look under insite, and track the results. You may even want to tweak the title or keywords to try and get better traffic. What is a success? Hard to know. The best gauge? Does anyone buy anything from you because they saw the YouTube video. Five views a day and one order a week is better than 50 views a day and no orders.