Every business aims to bring in more revenue for its products or services. This could be possible when they are able to attract and retain a large number of the customer. Attracting and retaining the customer is not a piece of cake especially in the retail business. There is a need to employ the right marketing tool that will enable the business to attract more and more customers to its products or services. One such effective tool that is used in retail is visual merchandising. The retail business carefully undertakes visual merchandising planning for better business performance and growth.
Visual merchandising has become the first choice for retail business as it helps the business in properly visualizing the idea. Their main goal is to attract as many customers as they can by creating the rightful visual in their minds. This persuades them to buy the product and also help in creating a loyal customer base. Visual merchandising involves three phases that ultimately lead to bringing in more revenue for the business. These three phases are visualized, attract, and finally converting the prospects into final customers. Visual merchandising is the tool through which the marketers are better able to understand their product to the target audience.
Visual merchandising involves various important elements that help in attracting customers. These include displays, signage, etc. Even the lighting and color theme also plays an important role in attracting the customer. How and where the products are placed, proper organization of products, View outside the store, positioning of products, etc. all comes under visual merchandising. Visual merchandising is an important aspect of retail business. There are various reasons for its growing importance. Some of these include:
- Brand Awareness: Visual merchandising is employed by various retail businesses because it helps them in creating brand awareness among the masses. It is done through displays, signage, etc. which provides information to the customer about the product.
- Customer Attention: The main purpose of visual merchandising is to get the customer’s attention towards the products. It is done by making your retail store attractive through proper merchandising planning.
- Target customer: Visual merchandising plays an effective marketing role by converting the prospects into sales. It helps the business to convey the look and feel of the product. It helps in building an emotional connection with the customer. This thus helps the retail business in building a loyal and strong customer base.
These are some of the reasons why visual merchandising is essential for any retail business. But the business can avail of its benefits only when it is performed properly. Otherwise one will fail to get the returns what they expected of. To ensure everything takes place as per the plan, it is vital for the retail business to undertake a visual merchandising audit checklist. This ensures that everything is placed and also helps in establishing control as one can take corrective actions in case of any non-compliance.
The visual merchandising audit is conducted to see all the terms of agreements are fulfilled. Without this system, there is no way business can keep a check on the activities of the retail store manager and the staff. They keep check whether the products are properly displayed, are they positioned as per the agreements, whether the inventory level is stocked up or not, etc. These checks are necessary as they impact your customer response to the products being offered. The better these services are performed; the higher is the chance of bringing more revenue to the business.
The visual merchandising audit is performed in two ways i.e. shelf audit and seasonal audit. Shelf audits are concerned with pricing compliance and product displays whereas seasonal audits are concerned with ensuring that special seasonal products are properly displayed and priced accordingly. There are certain things to be taken care of while performing these audits. These are mentioned as below:
- Location: It is essential that field reps going for the audit to ensure that product are placed in the right location as agreed. Location is the key factor that helps in attracting more and more customers to the product. Therefore the choice of location in a retail store is arrived after careful planning and hence it is vital that the retailers adhere to the agreed location and it is the responsibility of field reps to ensure it.
- Position: Shelf position is another critical aspect that is to be taken care of by the field rep while conducting the audit. This is because what is adjacent to your product is essential and has an impact on the customers. It will help the business to devise the right marketing strategy that will able them to fight the competition.
- Open Spaces: Visual merchandising audit also discloses open spaces on the shelf where the product is placed. It is important that there must be no open spaces as it causes inconvenience to the customer. The products must always be there on the shelf otherwise your customer will turn to your competitors and one may suffer on account of these. Hence it is essential to be proactive in such cases.
- Inventory level: When your product is out of stock, it can lead to a loss of revenues. This is because your current and potential customers have no choice but to look for other alternatives. Thus it is important to keep an eye on the inventory level. This will ensure that there is a streamline of operations.
- Signage: For promotional purposes, it is crucial that the signage is properly placed so that more and more customers could be attracted. In absence of these, customers are not aware of the ongoing sale in the store. The placing of signage is very important so one ensure that they are optimally placed.
- Pricing and Labels: Pricing and labels must be according to the ads and displays. Any mismatch regarding these will add confusion in the minds of the customer which will ultimately lead to loss of sale.
- Displays: The customers must be aware of where to find the products and what kinds of items constitute the part of the sale. These are done through ads and displays. It is the responsibility of field reps to ensure that ads are being properly displayed all over the store so that there is chaos.
Hence these are some of the important things that must be taken care of while performing the visual merchandising audit.