How does visual merchandising influence sales?

Updated April 17, 2017

Visual merchandising involves the presentation of goods and products in a retail selling environment that encourages customer purchases. It is a merger of art and science, involving an understanding of retail design and marketing that draws shoppers into and through a store. Successful visual merchandising puts a shopper at ease and makes him feel good about buying.

Shopping Ease

Customer-oriented, visual merchandising takes the stress out of shopping by helping the shopper to quickly see product options in a comprehensive way. This can be achieved by displaying merchandise in an appealing and orderly fashion by, for instance, maintaining similar items in close proximity. This reduces consumer confusion and makes it easier for shoppers to self-select and locate items.

New Ideas

Visual merchandising can give shoppers new ideas by presenting combinations and options. This is particularly effective in fashion merchandising where retail fixtures like mannequins are designed to present styling ideas. The shopper gains insights on how pieces can be matched or mixed to create an working outfit from available inventory.


Visual merchandising can be used to communicate to customers that a variety of options are available for a particular item. For instance, when stacking folded garments, visual merchandising can easily play on colour dominance. For a customer who is looking for a particular colour top, this can be very effective because it serves as a quick guide. People see and buy colour. This helps a shopper to immediately locate the colour she wants.


Visual merchandising by price makes it easy for shoppers to identify bargain and sale merchandise. Volume stacking is a type of visual merchandising frequently used to highlight a sale product, and the savings is the dominate marketing message. This may be supported by banners or colourfully skirted tables. This type of visual merchandising is particularly attractive to bargain hunters.

Brand Names

Visual merchandising can feature brand names and designer labels as the dominant element in a retail space. This will draw the attention of customers seeking this type of merchandise. The visual merchandiser can create a mini-boutique or shop-within-a-shop feel to further promote this type of merchandise. Signage can also be used to highlight a featured designer or product line.

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About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications, including the "Chicago Tribune," and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.