The Power of Visual Merchandising: How to Create Captivating In-Store Displays

When it comes to retail, we all know that first impressions are important. You wouldn’t enter a store that didn’t look visually appealing from the outside! Window displays and visual merchandising play a huge role in this. 

However, visual marketing can be difficult to get right. In this handy guide, we will break down exactly what visual merchandising is and how you can use it to create engaging store displays that will help to drive sales.

What is visual merchandising?

Visual merchandising is the strategic and creative presentation of products within a retail setting with the aim to attract customers. It can be used in both online and in-store environments, and involves the use of various visual elements such as product displays, signage, lighting, colour schemes, and overall store layout to create a captivating and cohesive brand experience.

What is visual merchandising used for?

The main objective of visual merchandising is to optimise the aesthetics and overall look of a retail space, guiding customers through a carefully planned journey that encourages product discovery and drives sales.

By effectively combining branding and design strategies with consumer psychology, stores are able to build a better connection with their customers, which can lead to increased interest, longer dwell times and higher chances of conversion.

What are the key components of visual merchandising?

There are a few main elements of visual merchandising that can help your displays to capture the attention of your customers and (hopefully!) increase the chance of a sale. These include a focal point, space, colours, lighting and positioning.

Focal point

The focal point of a display is the part that you want your customers to focus on. For example, if you want to draw attention to a single item in your window display, you would want to display this item in the centre of the window, usually at eye-level. Similarly, if you’re promoting a sale or discount, you would want to make sure this is the first thing your customers see!


You may not think that space is an important factor in your displays, but actually – it speaks volumes. A lot of space between products, sometimes referred to as white space, is often synonymous with luxury. Minimal space between products, on the other hand, can scream ‘jumble sale’ to the consumer. 

If you have a high-end, expensive product, it makes sense to display it on its own with a lot of space around it. If you’re promoting a sale though, it would be better to keep items closer together so that customers are more likely to pick up multiple items. 


Figuring out what colours to include in your visual displays goes much further than just pairing colours that work well together.

What emotion comes to mind when you picture the colour red? What about blue? Different colours can evoke different emotions. This phenomenon, colour psychology, is the reason why red is often used on ‘sale’ signs – it tends to signify urgency! 

Blue, on the other hand, is often used in industries such as finance or law, as it evokes trust. 

These connections that the consumer has between colours and feelings plays a huge part in the buying journey, so it’s important to get the colours of your display right.


When it comes to lighting, it’s like having a secret weapon to make your store and displays pop. It’s all about strategically guiding your customers’ focus to the right places. Want to make those special items stand out? Easy-peasy – just bathe them in bright, attention-grabbing light, and voilà!

But that’s not all – lighting can work wonders on people’s moods too! Picture this: vibrant, well-lit displays exuding energy and excitement, making your customers ready to take action and seize the day. And when you want them to unwind and take their time exploring, a gentle, soft lighting can work its magic, creating a calming and relaxing atmosphere.

So, don’t underestimate the power of lighting – it’s the hidden trick up your sleeve to influence your customers’ experience in your store!


The positioning of your products is another important consideration in visual merchandising. Customers tend to browse at eye-level, so when designing your displays and arranging your shelves, it is important to put your high-margin items front and centre, and placing other, supplementary items around them.

Appealing to the senses in merchandising

We’ve discussed the five visual components of merchandising, but it is equally important to appeal to the other senses as well. For example, the music that you play in your store can have an effect on your customers’ moods, and therefore impact their purchase decision. Depending on your target market and products, you might curate a playlist full of soft, mellow songs to encourage consumers to take their time browsing the store. 

Touch is another fairly obvious sense to appeal to. If you sell clothes, customers will want to touch and try on your products, making sure that they fit well on their body and that they like the material.

A sense that you might not have thought about targeting is the sense of smell, but scent marketing is actually a successful tactic employed by global brands such as Sony and Samsung. Scents are quickly transmitted to our brain’s emotional and memory centre – the amygdala. If a customer smells something that they like, it is automatically registered as a positive memory. This means that scents have the sneaky power to create positive impressions and sway people towards becoming loyal customers. 

The last sense that you might be able to target is taste. Now, this may be difficult if you’re a fashion retailer, but if you sell consumables, letting customers try before they buy is the equivalent to trying clothes on – it’s important!

The role of a visual merchandiser

Many smaller businesses undertake visual merchandising themselves. However the power of having a dedicated visual merchandising team can make a lot of difference, especially if you find yourself lacking the know-how or running a bunch of locations and in need of a unified game plan.

A visual merchandising team will define the jaw-dropping visual merchandising strategy for your business. They’ll be the creative brains behind captivating store layouts, eye-catching window displays, and interior designs that leave people in awe. It’s all about creating an experience that wows your customers!

How Proportion London can help

At Proportion London, we live and breathe visual merchandising. We have various different mannequins available, either to buy or hire, depending on your requirements. But we don’t just stop there. In fact, we have helped our customers create captivating displays, in retail stores, museums and showcases. 

Get in contact with us today to discuss your requirements and discover how we can help you.

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