Every year at Christmastime, tourists spend time and energy simply to behold store displays in New York City – albeit extremely fancy ones put together by major department stores. Now, dreaming up a store display compelling enough to become a destination in itself is a tall order. But it’s one element of merchandising – visual merchandising, to be exact – that boutique owners can work to their advantage all year long.

The retail environment has changed quite a bit in the past decade for brick-and-mortar stores, but their main advantage is still the fact that clients can see and feel products. In fact, a majority of people polled by Harris in 2013 – 69% – admitted to “reverse showrooming,” which is when a client researches a product online and then buys it in a store. On the flip side, just 46% of those polled had “showroomed,” using their local retailer as a showroom for an online retailer.

There is a simple explanation for this. Clients prefer experiencing a product in person! If you make it an alluring, exciting environment for them, full of “aha!” moments and festive fun, you’re going to be successful. Treat your clients like the educated and empowered consumers they are, but also make sure they’re in for a visual treat. Everyone loves eye candy.

Here are a few points to consider.

Make it local: Highlighting products that are unique and designed to delight your specific clients is a must.

Light it up: Lighting is one of the most important elements of a visual display. They won’t buy it if they can’t see it.

Keep changing: The same merchandise might sell better when displayed in a different way. Get creative!

Think like a client: Given the season, the weather, the upcoming events, what might a customer be seeking? Walk a mile in their shoes!

Inspiration for visual merchandising can be found anywhere, from magazines to Pinterest to that artistic friend who has impeccable taste. But you don’t have to figure it out alone – Scout and Molly’s provides owners training and practical pointers to guide the merchandising process.

So take in the training and brainstorm relentlessly, and one day your displays might get the fanfare once reserved for Christmas displays in New York City. Owners, if you’ve already mastered the art of the display, share it with us on Instagram by tagging @scoutandmollys!

Posted on November 19th, 2014