Stores That Nail It and Stores that are Missing Sales Opportunities
Which store do you have?
As a fashion store owner, have you had the opportunity to explore other boutique stores to observe their visual merchandising techniques and displays? I understand that time can be limited, so if the answer is no, I’ve done some legwork for you.
If that’s the case, as someone who analyzes boutiques and merchandising for a living, and did so daily this summer as I strolled through enchanted European cities, I wanted to share with you my experience.
I stepped into at least 89 boutiques, at least those that I took on, and I could see a clear distinction of those merchandisers that nailed visual display and ones that missed the mark and opportunity for upsell.
Some of these stores were designer stores but most were independently owned boutiques like yours.
Here are the stores that got it right:
Boutique A’s - that Nailed-It:
Window Display as Art:
As I strolled through the charming streets of Sardinia, I was immediately drawn to the enchanting window displays that adored the boutiques.
Each one was a masterpiece, captivating my senses and imagination. The vivid colors, bold shapes, and unique display was a true blend of art meets fashion as if I had stepped inside an Andy Warhol museum. I couldn’t wait to come back the next day when they were open.
Inside boutiques I loved when stores had thematic sections, each telling a story. "Fall Essentials" boasts cozy sweaters, boots, belts and warm hues, while "Going Out Vibes" features vibrant dresses, accompanying accessories and shoes.
This clever arrangement makes it easy to explore and find what you're looking for and especially since fully dressed mannequins help customers picture the entire outfit from belt to handbag, sunglasses and jewelry. No details are missed in the stores that nail it.
Displays are balanced and symmetrical, making it visually pleasing. They use odd numbers of items, often creating a focal point with a statement piece, surrounded by complementary items. This symmetry guides your eyes and encourages exploration.
Fitting Room Experience:
I thought it was interesting that in many boutiques the fitting rooms were small forcing you to step out and see yourself in the mirror where a staff member could help style you. Sure, not a private experience but I can bet you shoppers spend more as sales associates hand them the shoes, belt and scarf to complete the look.
Into the Detail:
The boutiques with strong visual merchandising have a flow and when you enter, you’re inspired with a fully styled mannequin, you’re next presented with products and all the details to complete the looks. Most women know how to put on a top and pants but struggle to put together an outfit. The “A stores” would hand a belt, a jewelry piece and the detail to complete an outfit on a silver platter so it’s an easy-done-for her outifit and an easy sales transaction for store.
Boutique B: The Missed Opportunity
Stepping into Boutiques that didn’t nail it feels like a stark contrast. While it's filled with fashionable items, something crucial is lacking:
The boutique's window is underwhelming or overwhelming. I’d see both, crowded and chaotic or super plain that you’re not sure what they’re selling. Of course a non-enticing window display won’t attract your ideal customer.
Inside, there's no clear organization. Clothes are haphazardly arranged on racks, with no apparent rhyme or reason. It's difficult to find what you're looking for, and the lack of organization makes the space feel cramped.
The lighting is dim and uneven, making it hard to see the true colors and details of the clothing. It creates a gloomy atmosphere, which doesn't encourage a pleasant shopping experience.
The boutique's branding elements seem disconnected. The logo on the window doesn't match the signage inside, and there's no coherent theme or story tying the merchandise together.
Fitting Room Neglect
The fitting rooms are poorly lit and don’t include the accessories needed to style full outfit nearby. The experience is far from enjoyable, and it's hard to make an informed decision about clothing purchases in such an environment.
Visual merchandising plays a pivotal role in shaping the customer experience and I know that store owners have a lot on their hands already but especially if you’re short on staff and need to multiply yourself, creating a well merchandised space will help bring in sales. Boutique A’s skillfully utilized strategic design principles to create an immersive and engaging shopping environment. In contrast, Boutique B's lack of attention to visual merchandising leaves shoppers feeling disoriented and uninspired.
Thoughtful arrangement, storytelling, and consistency can turn a casual shopper into a loyal customer. Your boutique is a canvas; make it a masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression.