Challenges Facing Visual Merchandisers

Why are Visual Merchandisers facing challenges?

A good visual merchandising display strategy can result in increased sales, increased staff productivity and reduced shrinkage which eventually lead to increased profit. However, getting visual merchandising right can be a mammoth task for most retail organisation.

The constant development of new products, scarcity of display space allocation and the constant change in consumer preference all add to the challenging environment for visual merchandisers.

What are the challenges that Visual Merchandisers face?

The dynamic characteristics of the target market is one of the greatest challenges that visual merchandisers face. The changing and volatility of consumer behaviour makes it increasingly difficult for them to maintain consistency.

Below is an outline of a few of the challenges facing visual merchandisers:

• Too much new merchandise – New products are being produced every single day and week. This is a nightmare for visual merchandisers who are responsible for finding display space for all new merchandise on the shop floor.

• Limited Display Space – Retailers, whether small or big are grappling with the outpouring of new products and SKU’s. It is very difficult to manage limited shelf space with a huge range of items such as cosmetics, skincare, soaps or detergents.

• Loss prevention and theft – Theft occurs in stores and supermarkets even in broad daylight. This is a common problem facing retail establishments and even those equipped with security cameras and tracking devices still fall victim to this. Therefore, merchandisers have to ensure that their display also take into consideration the security of the products.

• Supplier demand – Competing suppliers want their goods displayed in the most prominent position in the store. Large products require a considerable amount of space and needs good circulation space that enables customer view from all angles. It is difficult to create flexibility with large merchandise such as furniture, electric appliances and home improvement tools.

• Conflicting interests of top management, visual merchandisers and staff. The majority of the time the decision as to where products are displayed is predetermined by top management and the supplier, not by the visual merchandiser. Sometimes, what the visual merchandiser sees as appropriate could be difficult for the sales staff to implement. These conflicting interests result in lack of coordination and cooperation.

How to Resolve Visual Merchandisers Challenges

The following steps when implemented can help bring relief to visual merchandisers:

1. Make effective use of a planogram to address the challenge of constant new product flow into the market.

2. Study your target market very well to determine their product preference.

3. Group products according to make, model and size to enable easy display.

4. Ensure high value products are given priority in the display process.

5. Create an illusion of display with less products that appear to be a lot.

6. Display less amount of each product especially slow moving products to ensure you display the maximum amount of product possible.