“What is the Future for Visual Merchandising?” – Part 3

An article by Tim Radley in India’s VM&RD Magazine



Extracted from the article on “What is the Future for Visual Merchandising?” 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 3 “Education or Compliance?”

Against a backdrop of retail uncertainties and technological innovation it’s ironic that one of the UK’s most traditional retailers has become the leader of the omni-channel pack learning how to create a variety of stores with different propositions and functionality. John Lewis is known for its huge department stores but now has several smaller hybrid stores, a growing chain of home stores, travel stores at railway stations, Pop-up stores for new product events and lately an airport concept at Heathrow airport offering delivery to 30 countries. Each store is different by assortment, throwing up new challenges for space planners and visual merchandisers that the retailer is now learning to adapt to.

To educate or to demand compliance? This will be an even more burning question than it is now.

Education of a widening visual merchandising team will allow them to work within brand parameters but with flexibility to be different, more relevant and more compelling to different markets. Compliance alone will simply frustrate and ultimately result in a poorer brand delivery.

This new flexibility will require new visual merchandising tools – dynamic VM guidelines not strict planograms, interactive VM manuals not compliance text books, perpetual product inspiration not periodic communications through the store letterbox.

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


Part 4 to follow shortly or view the whole article on pages 8-10 of  VM&RD Magazine. Follow the link below…



Are your visual merchandising operations working in your business?

Do you integrate it correctly with your other retail functions?


VM-unleashed has experience with a wide variety of brands and retailers developing VM principles, tools, processes and retail integration for improved store experience and sales performance.

For more information… tim.radley@vm-unleashed.com