Eight Simple Visual Merchandising Tips for the Holidays

This holiday season will mark the end of a very tough year. People want to rebound emotionally by finding comfort in traditional things that are familiar and lift their spirits. One of the best ways to attract shoppers and get them in the mood to buy is to create festive window displays and holiday-themed endcaps that look fresh and appealing. The selling season has already started, so the clock is ticking.

 Avoid thinking of visual merchandising as an expenditure or a time-commitment.  Consider it as the price you pay for customers to connect to the merchandise. Although e-commerce is experiencing significant growth due to the pandemic, people still want to shop at brick and mortar stores to see, feel, and demo products. One of the reasons consumers shop at the local hardware store is to get advice and have conversations with people they trust to give them useful information.

However, like other retailers, you need to make customers feel safe when they enter your establishment. These measures may include dispensing hand sanitizer, requiring shoppers to wear masks, and placing social distancing indicators at checkout.

Draw in Customers with Window Displays
The best holiday displays combine color, light, or movement to get passers-by to stop and take notice. For a hardware store, the display can be as simple as a mechanical elf with a sleigh filled with tools, or colorful flashing lights and ornaments that highlight seasonal gift items. Make the most of the sidewalk near the entrance by displaying miniature decorated trees, holiday figures, or carts filled with logs or pinecones. Give the displays a local touch by incorporating products that will appeal to your customers.

Showcase “Giftable” Merchandise Near the Entrance
Buying a gift for someone special is an emotional decision where wants often outweigh needs. So, pull out all the stops and display hot, popular products in areas where they are easily visible. Options are high-end grills, power tools, housewares, or specialty merchandise. Smart products are trendy and would be suitable for building a high-tech display.

You can also take customer engagement to the next level with interactive displays and demos that give shoppers a chance to demo or test the product. Additionally, manufacturers often provide in-store videos that highlight the bells and whistles of their featured products.

Cross-Merchandise to Sell Complementing Items
Everyone who shops online is familiar with the term, “you may also like” when they make a purchase. This concept also works in-store with endcaps. Cross-merchandising can be successful for both seasonal merchandise and holiday displays. Grouping drills, bits, goggles, and gloves together is a reminder for customers to get the items they need at one time. A holiday bin can include Christmas lights, bulbs, hangers, tape, and wrapping paper.

Engage the Senses
One of the advantages of shopping in a brick and mortar store is listening to holiday music while experiencing the scents of the season. Playing traditional music in-store is the ideal complement to the smell of pine cones, spicy cinnamon, or fresh evergreen. Whatever you do to help customers feel at ease and comfortable will enhance their overall shopping experience.

Connect with Social Media
Some displays are so innovative or detailed; customers want to take a selfie or post on social media to share the creation with others. It’s a way to get your store a broader audience and make it a destination for shoppers who were unfamiliar with your establishment. If you’re looking for stand-out ideas that are creative and innovative, Pinterest is an excellent place to start.

It’s also a good idea to send out an e-mail that invites customers to come in to shop for the holidays. Talk about any special offers and new products that would motivate them to leave the comfort of home.

Keep Displays Simple and Fresh
Simple, uncluttered displays help shoppers quickly focus on the merchandise you want to sell. Showcasing fewer items has more of an impact than an endcap that is overflowing with options. Endcaps should be changed or rotated every two weeks to keep them looking fresh and to prevent them from being overlooked by customers who shop with you frequently. Seasonal products should be on display when demand is highest during the year. Holiday merchandise should be removed and put on close-out after the season is over to prepare for next season.

Make Prices Easy to Find
Customers should be able to locate prices without the assistance of a salesperson. Experience indicates that shoppers would rather leave the item on the shelf, instead of tracking someone down to get information that should be readily available. Every sale is critical, so do what is necessary to help customers make the right purchasing decision.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Visual merchandising will help you attract new customers and keep shoppers engaged while they shop in your store. The best practices discussed here can benefit every business. Adding your unique holiday flavor will help you create attractive and functional displays that are also practical sales tools.

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