Visual merchandising has always been difficult to define and as stores develop into multi-media and sensory experiences then the realm of visual merchandising will evolve further.

It will embrace the sensual worlds of music, imagery, video, digital technology, smell, product interaction and lifestyle & promotional events. All this, which is traditionally the responsibility of marketing, store design, merchandising and other retail functions must be integrated with one strategy and one creative concept.



In an ideal world the vision and the delivery of the dynamic store experience should now come under the responsibility of an integrated team and ultimately one department and a single manager or director – Store Experience – delivered with the evolution of visual merchandising into “Sensual Merchandising”

The rewards of this will be truly experiential shopping experiences that offer the best possible interaction between the customer, the product and the brand. Consider Lush that has evolved a store experience where display and smell, product play and demonstrations are all planned, managed and coordinated, the Dyson brand experience store where the technologies and benefits of the product are delivered in an interactive visual way, the integration of art and fashion is the design studio in Selfridges, the evolution of food retail experiences from the multi-sensory Nespresso studios to wine bars and food demonstration classes in Waitrose.

In terms of visual store ownership we are moving from the maintenance of mannequins, and a defined dedication to displays into a new world of varied visual and emotional delivery that requires the advent of the “Sensual Merchandiser” with a wide skill set, a creative spirit, a resourceful management style all supported by a genuine appreciation and reward within the retail organisation.

Tim Radley will be discussing VMTrends with Joanna Quinn, Group Visual Creative Manager at JD SPORTS FASHION and Stephen Hall, Creative Director of New Look at the Retail.

Design Expo on the 8th May, London Olympia.
Come to listen and join in on Monday 8th and 12 noon.