Artful Arrangements: How Creative Visual Merchandising Enhances Museum Exhibitions and can Boost Gift Shop Revenue

The importance of visual merchandising in museums is twofold. Firstly (and most importantly), you want to demonstrate the artefacts in a creative and beautiful way, whilst also conveying historical accuracy. This ensures engagement with your pieces, and increases the possibility of returning visitors. The second reason is to boost museum shop sales. Between 5 and 25% of annual revenue for museums is collected from the gift shop. This means that it is imperative that the layout of your gift shop leaves customers inspired to buy your products. Enter: visual merchandising.

What is visual merchandising?

Visual merchandising is the magical art of arranging and presenting your products in a way that captivates customers, making them eager to buy your merchandise or return to your museum again.

Visual merchandising involves the use of different visual elements, including displays, signage, lighting, colour, and overall layout, to create a captivating customer experience.

How does visual merchandising translate into museums?

In the museum world, visual merchandising can be a game-changer! It’s all about presenting your incredible artefacts in a way that’s creative and beautiful, in order to engage your visitors and make  them want to come back for more. With visual merchandising, you can create an unforgettable experience that not only delights your visitors, but also ensures the long-term success of the museum. 

How to design a museum display

Similarly to when designing a shop layout, there are multiple factors that contribute to an exhibit’s success. With a successful museum exhibit, you can provide customers with a unique learning experience and capture their imagination and wonder. But, how do you create such success?

Have a clear audience

Having a specific target audience in mind when designing a museum exhibit is essential to its success. A museum tailored to children would look very different to one tailored to adults. An easy way to do this is by evaluating the demographics of your existing customers. Once you have an idea of who already visits your museum, you can create in-depth customer personas to help you plan your exhibitions.

Tell a story

Your exhibit should tell a story, allowing visitors to understand exactly what you are showcasing and why you are displaying it. But going one step further, the whole museum should have a linear flow. If your museum is showcasing the development of British fashion since the First World War, for example, it should start at the beginning (1914) and finish at the present. The story should be explained throughout the museum as a whole, as well as in each single display.

Use a range of techniques to captivate your audience

Beyond simply arranging displays along a timeline, you have the power to create a truly captivating museum exhibit design. We’ve spoken in depth in other articles about the key components of visual merchandising and how to appeal to different senses, and it is no different in a museum setting. 

By incorporating exhibit graphics, labels, signage, sounds, and interactive technology as visual cues, you can transport your visitors through time in a completely immersive way. These elements work together to paint a vivid picture of different historical periods, enveloping visitors in a multisensory experience that sparks their imagination and deepens their understanding. 

Combining these interactive measures with clever visual merchandising techniques such as space, colour, lighting and positioning allows you to enhance your visitor experience.

Through thoughtful and creative use of these tools, your museum can leave a lasting impact on every guest, making their visit an unforgettable journey through history. And when this is continued throughout the museum and into the gift shop, you can improve the possibility of customers purchasing one of your products and returning time and time again.

How Proportion London can help

At Proportion London, we have worked with a range of different museums and retail stores to enhance their visual appeal and boost their customers. We help our customers to design and create engaging displays and exhibitions using our products and expertise.

We have different museum specific mannequin and bust ranges that include body shapes that support different historical time periods.

If you are looking to display your artefacts or products in an interesting and captivating way, we have a range of mannequins and display rails available to both purchase and hire.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements and discover how we will be able to help you.

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