If you want to create an engaging and value-driven shopping experience for your customers, effective visual merchandising is critical, as it encourages people to buy more of your products and increases your sales. Effective visual merchandising helps your pet store maintain consistent branding, communicates your store’s image, and invites customers in to shop. This experience all starts before your customers even set foot in your door.
This is why the exterior of your store should be instantly appealing with clear, consistent branding. This is all reflected in the exterior and interior displays, lighting, signage, store upkeep, and more. All of these visual elements tell a story about your shop that helps customers determine whether or not this is place they should be spending money. Your products directly impact both their wallets and the health of their pets, so it’s important to create a feeling of trust and authority within your pet retail specialty.
Follow these tips for effective visual merchandising that engages your customers, gains their trust, showcases your authority, and boosts your revenue:
Target Your Ideal Customer
Product inventory and in-store signage goes a long way toward communicating the fact your store offers the solutions to your customers’ needs and problems. It takes into account the demographics of your target customer, such as: Location, socio-economic status, age range, types of pets they own, and the ways they enjoy their animals.
Effective signage and displays create a rewarding shopping experience and drive sales through clear and concise product information. This means your customers have to rely less on sales staff being immediately available to answer basic questions, such as whether or not hermit crabs are good beginner pets for kids. (Answer: They are!)
There is also the added benefit of effective signage and displays giving a higher perceived value for your products, which leads to better sales numbers. Customers are drawn to what is visually relevant or interesting to them. So, designing the displays in such a way that your customers can envision them setting up their tanks with those products, or using those cleaning supplies with ease, will likely increase sales.
Themed displays and props are great for this, since they help customers envision how products are used. Are you trying to push a new reptile habitat kit? Have one of your best terrariums already set up, with substrate, plants, dishes, lamp fixtures, and a care booklet.
Highlight the Merchandise
The way merchandise is displayed adds to the products’ price image, and affects how a customer perceives the overall pricing of the store – high, low, or competitive. How you display your products and highlight your merchandise is just as important as the price tag itself when it comes to visually communicating the value of the item.
Light makes your merchandise stand out, so light up your displays! If you have a particularly dark display with low or no overhead lighting, move the display to a better light source. Alternatively, you can light it up from below with smaller spot lights.
Industrial shelving, bright lights, and full shelves with products close together are all visual elements that help create a sense of value and price image. Glass and wood cabinets with lower lighting denotes luxury and exclusiveness. This is great for your special items, such as the fancy tanks, decorations, and stands.
Embrace color, and avoid monochromatic displays. Color – especially fierce blacks, whites, and reds – all grab your customer’s attention right away. Add some blue in there, as well, since it connotes trust and dependability. In fact, it goes a long way toward building customer loyalty: Customers are 15% more likely to come back to a store with blue color displays and schemes than they are to a store with lots of orange, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Business Research.
Focus on the Front
The entire front area of your store, especially the main store window, is an essential part of bringing in that foot traffic. Not only should you keep new merchandise in the front, but you should also highlight your brand’s trademark products – what you are known for – with bright lighting and center arrangement. Not only does this push your brand, but it also lends a sense of familiarity and builds customer-brand trust.
Put a prop in the window as well, since it grabs attention. A reptile store could have a stuffed tiger, or an unusual exotic. These will both grab the attention of those passing by, make them look, get them talking, and decide to stop in for a closer look.
Your front area should be well-lit, since bright lights are inviting and visually warm. A centrally located, toward the front, checkout counter offers immediate convenience. They see it as they walk in, and they have to pass it before they leave. Keep frequently purchased goods near the checkout counter to encourage those last-second, impulse buys.
Maintain a Fresh House
A customer’s visual perceptions about a store directly affects how they feel about their overall shopping experience. You could have the best products money can buy, and have them available without straining their wallets, but sales will plummet if they have a negative perception.
Maintaining the housekeeping of your store and the merchandise displays gives your customers a sense of great service and higher quality. Pay attention to stray products on shelves in the wrong departments, shelves that need facing or stocking, trash left on shelves and displays, finger prints, clutter, dust, faded or torn packaging, and dirty floors. Routinely keeping up with housekeeping and merchandise recover plays a big role in getting those products flying off the shelves.
Avoid having stale displays just sitting there, gathering dust. Displays that don’t change week after week become boring and make it seem as though your products are outdated and things nobody wants. It makes your store look unpopular, which can drive your sales down. After all, customers want the latest and greatest products for their pets.
· Move end displays around from one side of the store to the other, and to different spots within the departments.
· Change those endcap displays based on how often your regulars visit the shop. If they come in every Friday, change the displays that often.
· Swap out your window displays on a regular basis. If a regular customer, or someone who often passes by, sees you are offering something new and different, they will be tempted to come in and look around.
· Remember to cross-merchandise the more expensive products with the value-priced items. For example, you can display a large turtle tub with the filter and cleaning supplies on week, and then switch it up to an assortment of substrates and plastic plants, and finally some of the smaller terrariums.
Tag and Track
Make sure you’re keeping track of your register printouts and inventory levels each week. If something really starts flying off the shelves, be ready to reorder more right away. If you’ve completely sold out of something, and don’t have anything left in the back, change up your displays to something you have a surplus of.
If something just isn’t selling, try moving the display somewhere else before scrapping the product all together.
Make sure all of your stock is priced and ready to sell. You’ve undoubtedly been in a store that didn’t have a price on something, and you had to wait until someone with authority could ring you up. It’s a pain, right? Your customers don’t want to have to deal with that hassle, so don’t make them.
All of these help you, as a retailer, identify the ways by which you can boost your shop’s appeal to engage and excite your customers. A quality display doesn’t replace a great salesperson, but they do form a solid foundation upon which any retailer can build their sales.
Want more tips? Be sure to check out this post: 5 Super Easy Ways to Maximize Retail Space