The beginning of every decade alludes to a trend that would later become mainstream, and it was the same for social media and later for Generative AI. What matters is how quickly we identify the revolution to leap onto the opportunity for better brand building. Scott Cook, Intuit’s Co-founder, said that a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.
Consumers are the drivers of what a business becomes subsequently. It holds special significance for the retail industry, where appearance is always the front-runner. Visual merchandising leads the retail story, prompting the buyers to enter the store successfully. But the real question is, how to pave the way for the latter?
The buyers of 21st century grappled through the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine War, and Inflation, all of which led to the COL (Cost-Of-Living) crisis rising to the surface. But things accelerated quickly, even with menacing circumstances. Brands reached out to influence consumers’ emotional states and focused on bettering store visuals, changing them for good. But in the age of reels and stories, the digital footprint caters well to in-store traffic. Hence, what most store visitors want is an ambiance that is Instagrammable or Snapchat-worthy.
Why does visual merchandising have to create a digital footprint too?
Most marketers would agree to the VM strategy of being affluent inside physical outlets to get the bang for the buck by enhancing consumer touchpoints. Things are different post the emergence and acceleration of eCommerce. Shoppers got the convenience, and they were loving it. So is there enough reason to get them inside a brick-and-mortar store? Well, if the large segment of consumers belongs to millennials and GenZ, social media would eventually come into the picture, which would drive engagement inside the store too.
Now more than ever, retail brands opt for an Omni channel strategy where eCommerce stores like Amazon invest in physical outlets at prominent and crowd-attracting locations. Meanwhile, physical outlets are rechecking their presence over social. So it is a crucial juncture for brands to leverage retail visual merchandising services and reinvent their in-store strategy into a destination that transforms into a calming destination with social proof. Word of Mouth marketing has always had a better reach and impression in the market. But there’s more to social media if the visuals speak well to the buyers who matter.
So here is how an exemplary VM implementation stages a great platform on social media for the brands that drive visitors and sales inside physical stores:
Designing the identity from the Store threshold
Ever seen the Instagram account of the US eyewear brand Warby parker? An eCommerce brand turned brick & mortar store has an Instagram worth the view. In one of their posts, their signature blue door on the store gives shoppers a perfect view of an aesthetic yet vibrant place. We are discussing a setup like this defining how VM at the threshold could benefit your brand. It's the way to invite inside and begin the game of engagement, which creates a buzz over socials.
Products that are placed Unconventionally
Clothes hanging on the rack or folded over the counter work, but the magic of unconventional displaying of merchandise can capture attention. The messy discomforting VM strategy trend that appeared around 2017 conformed to how fashion created land pollution with more than the required inventory. Similarly, today’s trend is minimalism, and phygital retail seems on the inside, which drives people to share over social about their encounters in the physical store.
The artistic inspiration brought inside
There has to be an artistic corner inside the store that pulls people. It would drive shoppers to get social-worthy pictures and pay attention to commodities sold in the section. It becomes a perfect way for visitors to discover a new item inside the store and spread the word on the social platform.
The word is out. Give consumers content to share over the platform where they are most active, and that’s how a visual merchandising strategy would create a boom not just inside the store but on social media. Hence, it would cause more target consumers to see the content on their feed and be driven inside the physical store.