“What is the Future for Visual Merchandising?” – Part 4
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 4 “The Role of Technology in VMOperations”
Can technology help visual merchandising in this unpredictable future?
Visual merchandising has always embraced technology with planograms linked to space allocation and sales performance becoming an intrinsic part of many retailers. This being said it is still a very valid argument that the most important physical room within a retailer is the “Mock Shop” – a unique place that allows colleagues to stand in front of real product and discuss the relationship between assortment and display.
Beware – the worst kind of technology is the one that isolates!
Remote technology is one area where the problems created by an expanding store portfolio can be relieved. Using a combination of devices, staff can be enlightened on new product developments by tablet, trained in essential VM skills via 2-way cameras, whilst VM implementation can be monitored through 360 degree lenses.
Even national retailers such as Crew Clothing in the UK are using a variety of mobile communication tools such as StoreIQ to simply keep in visual touch with their store portfolios, maintenance issues and the correct implementation of displays and windows.
Technology could also open up new opportunities such as replacing the traditional management of stores by geography with a new clustering by store format, or store demographic, with remote training and support tailored to each. Many large international brands such as Swatch and Alfred Dunhill how have the capability to monitor and manage their store portfolios in a variety of ways.
In summary, visual merchandising must be true to product and people. It must continue to evolve towards the boardroom without losing its connection with the stores. This new position is one of influence but must be supported with pro-activity and flexibility, and with an obsession to prove ROI benefits for every visual merchandising initiative.
The good news is that there is still opportunity to be the creative visual merchandiser as stores strive for even more theatre, whilst new roles within visual merchandising focused on integration with other retail departments will become more common and more important as retailing becomes more complex.
Ultimately visual merchandising must avoid isolation within retail businesses and take up its rightful place as an essential, commercial, fully integrated and truly appreciated retail function.
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?
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