The bigger chains spend thousands of pounds on visual merchandising. But it’s easy to believe that visual merchandising doesn’t matter when your shop is the size of a walk in closet. VM-consultant Maria Larsson proves to us, even as a small shop owner, it’s essential.

By thinking about how to feature favourite products and show off your stock, you can directly boost your sales. We spoke with visual-merchandising consultant Maria Larsson who served up a bunch of brilliant tips. Read them, try them and see the results!

1. Put ’em in the spotlight

Studies have shown that by putting a spotlight on a specific product, you increase the sales by 50%. As an example, put a small basket with a suitably attractive product beside the counter – and highlight it with a spotlight. Don’t make the classic mistake of forgetting to tune your spotlights when you’re moving products around.

70-80% of the consumption in the Western world is driven by desire.

2. Gables are good

In supermarkets, it’s common practice to place products at the end of shelves – or use so called ‘gondola end-displays’. As a small shop owner, try placing products at gables in your shop – by doing so they will directly face your customers and the chance of a purchase will elevate drastically. Sales increases of up to 400% have been identified among retailers relocating products from regular displays to gables.

3. Focus on purchase-intense periods

Small shop owners are often strapped for time, so additional activities like visual merchandising get neglected. In this case, prioritise. Focus on your displays and try to feature specific products during periods when you have the most shoppers. Look at the sales data from your iZettle Point of Sale app from last year, so you know when you’ll have busy periods coming up.

Are you selling children’s backpacks and pencil boxes? Then make sure to spend more time on visual merchandising when new school terms start!

3 key hacks for the small shop owner:

Clean and organise! Keeping it clean is of course key, but don’t underestimate the power of organising your products in certain ways. Group them, it’ll create space and air and make it easier to focus. It’s about finding that balance on particular surfaces – as well as in the shop as a whole.

Colour coordinate! A standard guideline is to stick to one base colour and use one to two accent colours in every display. Be careful using too many colours, it’ll create too many impressions for your customer to process. If you have products in a lot of colours, let’s say you’re selling women’s clothes, try grouping them.

Work actively with your window display. You have about three seconds to capture the interest of the customer when she’s walking by your shop – if she’s walking past the same display several times and nothing’s changed, she probably won’t notice it.

4. How to please today’s customers

The customer of today is more demanding than in the past. Think of it like you’re inviting them to an event – or even a party. The key is to offer your customer an authentic experience.

Add a plate with apples. Make the customer think: “Oh, are those apples for me?” Be the thoughtful and friendly shop owner that builds a relationship with the customer – and that way spark the purchasing instinct. Your displays must not appear to be fake or come across as misleading.

Honest, genuine and personal – those are the three mantras all shop owners need to keep in mind.

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5. It’s not (only) about the products

Don’t forget the overall impression of your shop! It’s easy to get stuck on details and specific products when you’ve spent so much time with the purchasing planning process. Make a judgement of the overall impression, how’s the lighting, or the colour of the walls?  Ask friends and family to get a second opinion and a fresh, new perspective.

(bild) Well, this shop owner went a bit too far trying not to overwhelm customers at the entrance.

6. Get the entrance right

Pay extra attention to the entrance. It needs to be welcoming, many shop owners get too eager and overwhelm the customer with too many items. Don’t let that be you!

7. Measure it and take it to the next level

Use your Point of Sale to track sales when you make a change in tactics. Note patterns for individual products, which ones are tougher to sell and might therefore need a push to leave your shelves?

 

Maria Larsson is an independent visual-merchandiser consultant with more than 20 years of experience. She’s passionate about how trends in society as a whole directly affect consumer behaviour.