Visual Merchandising: Education or Compliance?

Visual Merchandising: Education or Compliance?

Tim Radley, speaking at London’s Retail Design Expo

Olympia, London: Wednesday March 11th – 2pm



Should all stores of a particular retailer look the same, and if so how is it possible?

To answer the first part of this thorny question we need to look at the issues that make this question so relevant today. Retailers are expanding internationally to maximise the sales from their particular demographic. The stronger the brand proposition the more dangerous to dilute this USP within the same market. The answer is to be consistently desirable across more relevant markets.

The catch22 of this scenario is that as brand consistency becomes more essential as retailers spread their wings further afield it becomes more operationally difficult to do so ad visual merchandising finds itself at the forefront of an uncomfortable battlefield.

With more diverse store shapes, variable assortments, customers with different expectations of service and visual displays, and store teams with a variety of heritages and traditions in retail selling, to be the same everywhere not only becomes impossible but questionably undesirable.

Education of a widening visual merchandising team allows them to work within brand parameters but with flexibility to be different, more relevant and more compelling to different markets. Compliance can simply frustrate and ultimately result in a poorer brand image than allowing flexibility.

In this world of personalisation and customisation visual merchandising needs to walk this tightrope between consistency and flexibility, whilst always regarding commercial sales productivity.

This requires new tools – dynamic VM guidelines not strict planograms, interactive VM manuals not compliance text books, perpetual product inspiration by mobile and tablet not periodic communications.

Visual merchandising needs to keep both the “Retailer Store Relationship Alive” and the “Product Proposition Vibrant…”


Come and listen to me speak about how Visual Merchandising has grown and evolved to face the challenges of today’s retail world, the VM toolbox that is required and whether technology is a help or a hindrance.

I am Tim Radley, founder of VM-Unleashed! and I will be speaking at the Retail Design Expo event at Olympia, London on Wednesday 11th March at 2pm.

I look forwards to meeting you there and answering your particular retail and VM questions. Many thanks and see you there.