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Visual merchandising is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximise sales.
Both goods or services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase.
When the giant nineteenth century dry goods establishments like Marshall Field & Co. shifted their business from wholesale to retail, the visual display of goods became necessary to attract the general consumers. The store windows were often used to attractively display the store's merchandise. Over time, the design aesthetic used in window displays moved indoors and became part of the overall interior store design, eventually reducing the use of display windows in many suburban malls.
The purpose of visual merchandising is to:
- Make it easier for the customer to locate the desired category and merchandise.
- Make it easier for the customer to self-select.
- Make it possible for the shopper to co-ordinate and accessorise.
- Recommend, highlight and demonstrate particular products at strategic locations.
- Educate the customer about the product in an effective & creative way.
- Make proper arrangements in such a way to increase the sale of unsought goods.
Visual merchandising builds upon or augments the retail design of a store. It is one of the final stages in setting out a store in a way customers find attractive and appealing.
Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays including color, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs (such as smell, touch, and sound), as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations.
A planogram allows visual merchandisers to plan the arrangement of merchandise by style, type, size, price or some other category. It also enables a chain of stores to have the same merchandise displayed in a coherent and similar manner across the chain.
Window displays can communicate style, content, and price.
Display windows may also be used to advertise seasonal sales or inform passers-by of other current promotions.
Restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. use visual merchandising as a tool to differentiate themselves in a saturated market.
- "Visual Merchandiser". The Job Guide. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
- "How Much is that Dali in the Window", On This Day in Fashion, Kristine Lloyd, On This Day in Fashion, 16 March 2011, http://onthisdayinfashion.com/?p=12135
- "Andy Warhol, 'Window Display for the Bonwit Teller Deprtment Store', New York, 1960 " Photograph by Mike Kelley, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kelley-andy-warhol-window-display-for-the-bonwit-teller-deprtment-store-new-york-1960-l02640
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 Visual Merchandising. Psychological Aspects of the Technical Science. Galun D., Ph.D.
 The entrance areas in the clothes visual merchandising. Galun D.
- Levy, Michael; Weitz, Barton A. (1995). Retail Management (3rd ed.). Richard D. Irwin, Inc. ISBN 0-256-13661-0.
- Gianfranco Giacoma-Caire (2011) Visual Merchandising: Mirror and soul of a point of sale (1st ed.) Creative Group. ISBN 9788890475719
- Galun Dmitry (2012) Visual Merchandising for one-two-three-for-five (1st ed.) Piter. ISBN 978-5-4461-0007-1