Tim Radley asks “What’s the Future of Visual Merchandising?”

“What is the Future for Visual Merchandising?” – Part 1

An article by Tim Radley in VM&RD Magazine, April/May 2015



I was fortunate enough recently to be invited to speak at the In-Store Asia 2015 event in Mumbai. What I found was energy, enthusiasm and real excitement about the future of Indian retail and this great industry in general.

Consequently I wrote the article on “What is the Future for Visual Merchandising?” as a first collaboration with VM&SD Magazine, India’s only magazine to focus on all aspects of retail design and visual merchandising in the context of branded shopping environment.


What is the future for visual merchandising?

Part 1:
“A big question often requires us to go back to basics.

The answers to the questions, “What is visual merchandising?” and “What problems and opportunities are retailers facing today?” are essential to understanding the future. Are the two answers compatible and what can visual merchandising offer to help retail in general?

Essentially, visual merchandising must remain steady on its two foundation stones – product and people.

Firstly, whilst we may all have our own definitions of what visual merchandising is, the reason for its very existence is product – the selling process of bringing product and customers together. Forget product and you forget visual merchandising.

Future visual merchandising must strengthen its value by remaining focused on product orientated questions

  1. What product to have in stores?
  2. How much product should there be in stores?
  3. How should it be grouped and segmented?
  4. How should it be displayed?

Best practice today is imaginative but always focused on product. Categories are being used for power authority such as huge colour spectrums of summer shoes in Carrefour, or to project choice and range in a much more subtle way as Sephora’s beautiful eye-lash display illustrates.

And in the complexity of product displays heroes come shining through such as the iconic Converse shoe and the ever-refreshed lingerie heroes of Victoria’s Secret. Display whatever product story is appropriate to your brand proposition, but remember that product is always appropriate.

Similarly, forget people and forget VM!”

Part 2 to follow shortly or view the whole article on pages 8-10 of this month’s VM&RD Magazine.
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