Is the customer throwing away your rule book for store merchandising?

Does the variety of ways the customer wants to shop go against your existing visual merchandising principles?

Are the guidelines and tools you use to display becoming unworkable?




Retailers are having to respond to changing customer shopping habits by creating smaller, more flexible product stories, displayed individually or as part of a wider story.
This flexibility in buying and merchandising must have the same flexibility of store delivery & display.

It makes financial sense:
68.7{9a7291a7292e83c5148384adada0c82317c2655f4bcb859b5345564a4c272287} of customers find searching through lots of product to find the right thing annoying.

Time, starved, information empowered customers want to see your assortment displayed in relevant, bit-sized easy to digest and stimulating ways.
Todays customer, more aware and self-confident, is looking for more visible inspiration and less spatial direction.

Recent real life examples would be:

  • the migration of food shoppers to stores with smaller and more manageable assortments such as Lidl, Aldi and convenience formats of the big four.
  • the continuing strength of the, once doomed, department store sector offering edited and easy to digest assortments from a variety of brands.
  • the evolution of retailers such as “& more stories” breaking away from the traditional way that assortments are bought and handing power of choice to the customer
  • the focus of technological goods retail advertising on narrowing down a myriad of choice into a few appropriate product candidates.

Whilst good for customers, flexibility of product segmentation and display can make the role of VM much more difficult.


Everyday challenges include:

  • how to segment and coordinate with the correct balance for the customer
  • how to maintain assortment authority whilst injecting more dynamic excitement
  • how to maintain consistent displays across stores so that VM guidelines are relevant
  • how to balance “instructing” store staff with “educating for freedom”



All retailers operate in ever changing and “hostile” store environments reacting to both external pressures, and continuously having to accommodate new internal initiatives.

Is it now the time to develop new VM principles and display guidelines to allocate, group and present your assortment in response to changing customer preferences?

Make a start… Download our blue touch-paper… “Retailing in a Hostile Environment“


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