Visual Merchandising as a Business Tool

Have you ever entered a shop wanting to buy just one t-shirt, but ended up buying 10 different products? Visual merchandising is so common that anyone who visits retail outlets is bound to come across some form of visual merchandising.  So what exactly is visual merchandising and what role does it play as a business tool?


Khem Raj Kala, an expert in Visual Merchandising, takes us on an interesting journey in one of the webinars conducted by JS Institute of Design, from the series “Discover Design”. He offers deep insights about the field based on 18 years of his experience working with various top brands like Blackberry, Mother care, Benetton, and Shoppers Stop.

Visual merchandising is the act of designing retail spaces with an appealing environment for customers to boost footfall, thereby enhancing the sale of products. It converts a passerby into a customer and a customer into a buyer.

According to Kala, there are 5 rights that need to be taken care of for the retail to be justified, they include providing the Right merchandise, at the Right place, at the right time, in the Right quantity, and at the right price

As a silent seller, it usually has 4 key elements which range from the macro to the micro.

  1. STORE EXTERIOR 
  • Retail Facade- Includes directions for locating store and items that clearly display the message of the team
  • Store Facade- acts as a curiosity catalyst that motivates the customer to step in
  1. STORE LAYOUT
  •  Space & fixtures justification: Ensures that every inch of retail is warranted for revenue generation. This includes determining what product would be displayed in what area.      
  1. STORE INTERIOR
  • Visual touch points: Used for sensitising the customers to look at them, get enticed and then buy the products. They usually include imagery through pillars, props and body forms as display.
  • Communication: Usually through mannequins so that the customers can see the products while walking and moving.
  • Thematic collection: Displaying the collection’s story, colours, theme, and its inspiration.
  • Visual balance/ Cross balance: Taking a focussed approach to improve business and offering entire ensembles together to sell the whole concept together. 
  • Styling and accessorising: Specifically focusing on detail and everything that needs to be matched in a set
  1. INTERIOR DISPLAY: Usually seasonal in nature

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work required in finalising the interior display for retail which starts almost a year before the process of Visual Merchandising is performed. It usually includes a 5P Retail Strategy, which has now diversified further to include an online strategy as well :

  •  Retail Strategy- 5Ps + 1P
  1. Product- Correct sorting and assortment of the right products
  2. Price- Deciding the price as per season, product and quality 
  3. Placement- Ensuring that the placement of the store is synced with pockets
  4. People- Ensuring the staff is educated and well-groomed to educate customers about the variety of products
  5. Promotion- Different activities for promoting the products
  6. PIXEL (Social Media, Vlogs, Blogs etc.)- Planning the online promotion which has taken a front seat due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Click here to further explore the concept of Visual Merchandising with a webinar on the topic by none other than the expert Khem Raj Kala himself, brought to you by the JS Institute of Design!