Planning Visual Merchandising |Retail Displays - Kerching Retail

Planning visual merchandising – retail displays

Visual Merchandising Plan

Before you embark on a new display or store layout, have a plan in mind.  Below is a 4 step plan, we also have a more thorough plan, with links to support materials. Planning will ensure your displays have a purpose and consideration, maximising selling opportunities. 

The "PLAN"

P – Purpose, central to any display is “What do you want the customer to do?”  This may sound obvious – “Buy something” but it isn’t.  Buy what?  The bulk offer, the three for two, the meal deal.

L – Location.  A space 10cm to the left can have double digit impact on sales and profit.  Supermarkets use Planogram software to maximise this.  We have primary, secondary and discovery aspects to a display – primary being the most visible.  Band your display area, and ensure you focus your headline in the primary area. 

A – Attention.  Your display will compete with 2-3,000 other promotional campaigns we get exposed to on a daily basis.  Why will this grab my attention more than the others?  Movement, light, space, scale – all make your display catch my eye.

N – Numbers.  You must do the numbers to understand what constitutes success.  You don’t have to be an accountant to understand what works and what doesn’t.  As busy people we need to make sure we focus only on what works.

The maths 246901_scientific_calculator

If a display of £5 gifts cost £50 and the profit margin is 40%.  We need to sell 31x units to break even (£5 less £1 VAT = £4 at 40% = £1.6 profit per unit).  This is 31x units above and beyond what you did before the display.  When we realise the numbers involved we can challenge a: Is this the right product (i.e. a product with 60% margin would only need to sell 21x extra units 33% less) b: Is our Purpose, Location and Attention right.


The checklist

  1. Do you know what you are focusing on with your display?
  2. What are you trying to achieve?
  3. Is the product a high margin or high profit product?
  4. Do you have a theme in mind?
  5. Will you use consistent colours?
  6. Will you use double facing or pyramids to draw focus to a particular product?

 Common Mistakes

  • Too much or too little merchandise
  • Lack of theme
  • Too many props
  • Poorly selected props
  • Displays change too seldom
  • Too limited display budget
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Not applying rules and principles of display

See our detailed 8 step plan to visual merchandising (VM).

  1. Evaluate Space
  2. Determine Message
  3. Evaluate Merchandise
  4. Establish required props, fixtures & tools
  5. Consider signage requirements
  6. Estimate time to create
  7. Create and evaluate
  8. Maintain

See each step in more detail.




Written by

Corin Birchall is a Retail Sales & Marketing Consultant and founder of “Kerching Retail - helping to make your till ring”. His consultancy works throughout the UK and Europe. Corin is an active writer, coach and public speaker, helping to develop and grow a wide range of businesses & business leaders from Leisure and Retail sectors

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