The Psychology of Visual Merchandising

Maybe it’s the retail management major in me, but I have always been fascinated by visual merchandising. I find it so interesting that every decision a retailer makes, from the lighting in the fitting rooms, to the location of the sale section, to the aroma it exudes, has a strategic purpose.  Visual merchandising is all about focusing on the psychology and motivations of the target customer. I was interested in doing a little research on the topic, and I found this awesome article written byCecilia Biemann which speaks about mastering the art of visual merchandising.

The article starts off by explaining the importance of visual merchandising, apparently some view it as a frivolous expense, but the truth is it can make or break your business. Because there is so much more competition than ever before, retailers must continually work at capturing the consumer’s attention.  The author also mentions that simply rotating merchandise, updating displays, and changing signage can go a long way for those retailers on a budget.

Obviously there are some very basic aspects of VM such as creating visual balance, merchandising similar products together, and cross-mix merchandising, however, I am more interested in the aspects which consider more consumer psychology. One of these aspects is the ability to encourage impulse purchases. Merchandisers know where to place certain products that will catch the eye of the consumer and compliment what they already have in their shopping cart.

Another aspect of VM that I find particular interesting has to do with what the author of this article refers to as “seducing the senses.” Biemann mentions that “Create a sensual experience in your store by paying attention not only to sight, but also to smell and sound.” Think about the last time you went shopping, was there music playing? Did you notice the smell? Chances are there was and you probably didn’t really notice it, but you probably ended up shopping longer because of it.  This is what I love about visual merchandising, retailers really know how to get inside the heads of consumers and entice us to buy, kind of scary, but very interesting!

If you’d like to read more on the topic, visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s