Questions You Should Ask When Setting Up Product Displays

Photoxpress_305067Visual merchandising plays a key role in the number of sales a retail store makes. Whether it’s apparel, jewelry, handbags, electronics, pet supplies, or even groceries, the product must be displayed in an appealing manner to entice shoppers to buy it. Simply tossing items in a shelf with no real sense of order or organization is a recipe for disaster. This week, we’re going to discuss some key questions every store owner should ask themselves when setting up new product displays.

Does It Catch My Attention?

Let’s face it, most shoppers don’t visit retail stores with the intention of looking at new product displays. Nine out of ten times, they visit a store with the goal of purchasing a particular product; therefore, you must set up your product displays in a manner that catches shoppers’ attention. Something as simple as the use of a brightly colored red sign with white letters saying “SALE” can instantly draw the attention to your display.

Does It Emphasize The Product?

When you’re busy adding cut-outs and props to your displays, you may overlook its primary purpose: to emphasize the product. Be conscious of your display and how shoppers perceive it. Remember, you want it to draw attention to the product, not the props. Keep the focus of your displays on the product and you’ll notice shoppers are more likely to purchase it.

Does It Accurately Reflect My Store?

Your product displays should follow a general theme that coincides with your store. This doesn’t necessarily mean all of your product displays should look them same, but they should maintain a general sense of cohesion. Creating random displays with unique colors and elements may clash with your store’s decor, creating a negative mood that discourages shoppers from purchasing products.

Is It Intrusive?

A good product display shouldn’t interfere with customers’ normal shopping behavior. It’s not uncommon for store owners to play their displays in areas that obstruct shoppers, forcing them to walk around to reach different departments. The bottom line is that you want to make sure your product displays are out of the aisles and paths that shoppers frequently use.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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Choosing The Right Light Bulbs For Your Retail Store

compact-florescent1Thanks to advancements in modern technology, store owners now have many different types of light bulbs to choose from. Although most people purchase the cheapest ones they come across, the fact is that you could potentially save energy and money on your power bill by using energy-efficient light bulbs. If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of light bulbs, keep reading and we’ll reveal the advantages and disadvantages associated with them.


Incandescent light bulbs are the most commonly used type of light build in stores. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a filament wire to high temperature using an electrical current, therefore producing a bright, illuminating light. During manufacturing, the glass bulb surrounding the filament is either vacuumed to remove the air, or it’s filled with a gas to prevent oxidation from outside air.

While incandescent bulbs can effectively light up store, there are some downsides to using them. For starters, the extreme heat required by the filament draws a significantly greater amount of energy than other types of light bulbs. In addition, the heat also makes the filament vulnerable to breakage and damage. If you’ve ever owned an incandescent bulb, you’ve probably experienced a broken filament before, which results in the bulb needing to be replaced. As a result of their high energy usage, the European Union and several other agencies throughout the world are in the process of phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs.

Compact Florescent (CFL)

A more energy-efficient alternative to standard incandescent bulbs is compact florescent. As you can see in the picture above, compact florescent bulbs contain no heated filament to generate the light. Instead, they use electricity to activity mercury vapor within the bulb to produce ultraviolet light followed by visible light. This allows for a lower amount of energy necessary to power the bulb and less heat generated during the process.

So, just how much of a difference in energy savings do compact florescent bulbs offer? On average, most of them use about 30-50% less energy than incandescent bulbs. You’ll have to spend a little bit more on the initial purchase of your compact florescent bulb, but it’s almost certain to pay off in the long run. Also, compact florescent bulbs last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Compact florescent bulbs are manufactured to fit into traditional light sockets intended for incandescent bulbs, making them a popular alternative for store owners looking to save on energy.


Florescent bulbs work in the same manner of compact florescent lamps but without the ability to plug into traditional lamps designed for incandescent bulbs. Although there are many sizes and variations of florescent bulbs, most of them are large rectangular shaped and fit into specially-designed ballasts that hang overhead. These ballasts not only hold the bulb in place, but they also regulate the amount of voltage the florescent bulb receives.

Something that’s important to note is that both florescent and compact florescent bulbs are considered hazardous waste because of the mercury they contain. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends having them recycled instead of throwing them away in your everyday trash.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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What Is a Planogram?

file000613843818Ask any experienced retail store owner and they’ll agree: planning where and how to display merchandise is critical to a store’s success. Blindly placing products on shelves with no sense of organization will result in a cluttered mess that discourages shoppers from making a purchase. Thankfully, a planogram can make the process easier by guiding store owners and their employees on how to display their product.

A planogram is exactly what it sounds like: a visual diagram that defines where and how product should be displayed. The Oxford Dictionary defines “planograms” as “a diagram or model that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves in order to maximize sales,” which is a pretty accurate definition by most standards. A typical planogram may feature a diagram of shelves along with the appropriate shelf height and the respective product to be displayed. Other planograms may feature illustrations of pegboards or other visual merchandising displays.

While hundreds of major retailers from across the globe now use planograms, their origins go back to the K-Mart. It’s believed that K-Mart was the first store to use planograms. Over the years, other retailers took notice and began using them as well.

So, why should retailers use planograms? These otherwise simple illustrations can make a world of difference in a store’s visual merchandising, and subsequently its sales. Planograms are typically created using computer software, allowing for precise measurements and calculations to ensure the product is displayed in the most efficient and engaging manner possible. Trying to “eyeball” a location on a shelf to display a product doesn’t always work. With a planogram, store owners can display their product with greater ease, ensuring each and every item fits in its intended location.

Planograms typically provide the following targets:

  • To optimize the store’s available space in the most efficient manner possible.
  • To ensure proper inventory levels on shelves.
  • To facilitate the brand’s identify with the retailer.
  • To assist in mapping the store’s layout.

But planograms aren’t designed for all retail stores and businesses. Boutique apparel shops, for instance, may have display their product in a more appealing manner by manually setting up their product instead of using a planogram.

If you have any questions at all about up visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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The Importance of Using The Right Jewelry Display Case

237471_3725Do you own or manage a retail jewelry store? If so, you should check to make sure you are using the right display cases. While many retail businesses rely on display cases to present their products, it’s particularly important for jewelry stores. To learn more about the importance of using the right display case for jewelry, keep reading.

Display cases naturally deter shoplifting. According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, shoplifting, employee and employee fraud, was responsible for a global retail loss of $128 billion last year, $42 billion in the US alone. To put this number into perspective, that’s roughly 1.29% of all retail sales. What’s even more alarming is that only a small fraction of shoplifters are ever caught, and even fewer are brought to justice.

While there’s no way to completely prevent shoplifting, you can lower the risk by using display cases. Storing high-dollar rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry behind display cases will deter potential shoplifters. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must store all of your store’s jewelry behind display cases, but the valuable items should be stored here at the very least.

Another reason why you should invest in the right display cases for your jewelry store is because it makes product easier for shoppers to see. It’s often difficult for shoppers to see the subtle nuances in jewelry that distinguishes them from one another. With the help of a back-lit display case, however, the shopper will have an easier time viewing the product’s details. Display cases are often designed with built-in lights for this very reason. Using these lights will enhance jewelry, allowing shoppers to see intricate details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

So, how do you know which display cases to use in your jewelry store? Choose the case that’s best suited for your particular needs and application. Glass and acrylic are the two most popular styles of display cases, both of which offer their own unique advantages. Acrylic is shatter-proof, lightweight and versatile, while glass is resistant to visually appealing and resistant to scratches. In all honesty, however, you really can’t go wrong with either a glass or acrylic display case.

If you have any questions at all about shoe displays or visual merchandising in general, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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Choosing The Right Retail Display Cases

storeretail1Whether your retail store sells apparel, jewelry, footwear, handbags, or a combination of all the above, you’ll need plenty of cases to display your product.


When shopping for retail display cases, pay close attention to the size. Some of the most basic display cases are designed as free-standing towers with just 2-3 shelves, while others are long counter-top cases with mirrored sides for increased vision. Ask yourself how much product your intend on displaying, and then choose the size that’s right for you. Contrary to what some people may believe, larger display cases aren’t always the best choice. Smaller ones require far less space, which opens your store up and increases the real estate for other products. Keep this mind when choosing a size for your display case.


Of course, you’ll also need to determine exactly how many display cases your store needs. Places like jewelry stores and electronic stores would obviously benefit from a greater number of display cases simply because most of their product requires them. On the other hand, convenience stores may only require a couple display cases for the more valuable products. Determine how much product and store space you have before selection an amount.

Safety and Locking Mechanisms

One of the unique advantages to using display cases in a retail store is the safety and locking mechanisms they provide. It’s not something most store owners want to think about, but thefts occur, and more often than you may realize. In fact, shoplifting can be such a troublesome problem that it forces some retail businesses to close from loss of profits. The bottom line is that you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your business and products from shoplifting. Placing your valuable products into a locked display case is a simple and effective way to prevent would-be shoplifters from getting their hands on it. Just remember to keep them locked and safely secured where no one can reach in and grab them.


The other main objective of a retail display case is to make certain products more visible and easier for customers to see. Things like watches, necklaces, rings and other jewelry work best in display cases simply because they are easier to see. If you are using them for this reason, make sure the case offers mirrored sides that reflect the back of the product. Also, some display cases have lights built in that offer a great amount of illumination. There are neat little accessories that play a key role in improving the visibility of products placed in a retail display case.

If you have any questions at all about visual merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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What Is a Mystery Shopper?

moving-questions-01No, a mystery shopper isn’t a stranger who enters a retail store in hopes of purchasing a product. The term “mystery shopper” is used to describe someone who’s paid to evaluate the quality of customer service, quality of product, and store layout. As the name suggests, he or she doesn’t give away their true identify, but instead pretends to be a regular shopper in search of a product.

Thousands of major retail stores throughout the country use mystery shoppers for quality control purposes. Unfortunately, though, there’s a lot of bad information on the subject, leading both store owners and shoppers  down the wrong path.

The Role of a Mystery Shopper

Mystery shoppers are typically hired by larger quality control companies to act as a regular shopper/customer while simultaneously evaluating several aspects of the retail store. Neither the store manager nor the employees are initially aware of the mystery shopper. They assume the individual is just another shopper who’s browsing the store, but in reality the mystery shopper is taking mental notes to create a detailed report.

Benefits of Mystery Shoppers For Retail Stores

  • Ensure employees greet each and every shopper who enters the store.
  • Ensure the store follows the company’s standards.
  • Check the store’s cleanliness (or lack thereof).
  • Analyze the quality of the merchandise.
  • Analyze the employees’ attitude and disposition.
  • Analyze productivity levels.

Think of a mystery shopper as a fly on the wall. If the store knew a person was coming to evaluate the quality of their work (and the other criteria mentioned above), the manager and employees would probably put their best foot forward so they don’t receive a failing score. But this eliminates the entire purpose of quality control, which is to ensure each and every customer receives the proper treatment.

History of Mystery Shoppers

Contrary to what some people may believe, mystery shoppers aren’t new. Some of the first known reports of people getting paid to pretend to shop date back to the 1940s. Today, mystery shoppers are used by retail businesses of all shapes and sizes. They allow retail executives to identify problems within their stores in an authentic nature.

If you have any questions at all about setting up retail merchandising, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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Creative Ways To Display Shoes In Your Store

Photoxpress_2876739According to data presented by the National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA) and the Census Bureau, consumers in the U.S. spend approximately $20 billion annually on footwear. Shoes are an essential item that every man, woman and child needs, which is why this industry is so large. But one of the hurdles faced by shoe stores is trying to display their product in an attractive manner. Due to their small size and unique characteristics, you can’t display them in the same manner as traditional garments.

The good news is that there are several solutions available for displaying shoes and footwear in a retail store. Whether you own a dedicated shoe store or a clothing store that including shoes, you should experiment with different ways to display them. The right display can make a world of difference, driving more shoppers through the door while subsequently boosting your store’s sales and revenue.

If you aren’t using shoe risers in your retail store, you’re missing out on one of the easiest and most effective ways to showcase footwear. As the name suggests, a shoe “riser” is essentially a raised platform on which shoes are displayed. Shoe risers vary in size, shape and material, with slanted acrylic/plastic being the most popular. So, what’s the purpose of a shoe riser? Displaying footwear on the ground level isn’t exactly appealing. In fact, most shoppers will walk right by it without taking notice. However, lifting it just slightly off the floor with a shoe riser will grab shoppers’ attention.

Another option for displaying shoes involves the use of shelving (see photo above). This is arguably the easiest way to display a large number of shoes, allowing store owners to maximize their available space. The only downside is that it doesn’t create the same connection with the shopper as shoe risers. A good rule of thumb is to place top-selling shoes on risers and the remaining footwear stock on shelves.

In case you were wondering, men’s athletic shoes are the single most popular type of shoes purchased in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 20% of the market, while women’s casual shoes come in a close second at 17%, followed by women’s dress shoes at 13%.

If you have any questions at all about shoe displays or visual merchandising in general, please give us a call at 800.241.6897 or email us at

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