There are many nowadays marketing techniques used in cosmetics that aim to involve the potential buyer’s experience at 360 degrees, stimulating all 5 senses. If we believe in the principle that the first impression is what counts, in the world of marketing more than ever it is important to create showcases that involve and invite you to enter the store at a glance. Visual merchandising uses a series of techniques to make the products on display more intriguing and aims to maximize impulse sales. Not only shop windows, but also corners, floor displays, counter displays, and everything needed to best present a cosmetic product, for example, a line of cosmetics.
Who is the visual merchandiser, and what does he do?
The visual merchandiser takes care of organizing the image of a showcase and making it captivating, with the final aim of increasing sales. His work begins before getting to work in the display window: he will have to consider the history of the store, and what he wants to communicate through visual transposition, he will analyze sales and plan commercial actions in a targeted way.
Once the set-up has been prepared, the professional will take care of studying the customer’s psychology, observing his behavior, feedback, and how he moves within the venue to obtain ever better sales results. In the reality of physical retail stores, the visual merchandiser, also known as VM, is closely linked to the company for which he works, other times he is a freelance professional to all intents and purposes, who provides freelance consultancy and can intervene in favor of several companies of all kinds. Among his duties may be the preparation of scenography in the display window or more simply, dressing the mannequins.
The consultant can also intervene on a creative level in other areas, for example in setting up museums, exhibitions, or fashion shows.
Our communication agency Studio Concept is specialized in the world of beauty and cosmetics in general, and offers advanced graphic design services to create communication and visual tools capable of communicating your collection or product in the best possible way.
Covering a counter display with captivating graphics consistent with a brand’s brand identity may seem like a simple job, but it requires experience and creativity. The product and its exhibitor are the first message that is communicated to the consumer, and coordinating the graphics of the packaging with that of the exhibitor in the best possible way is a winning path.
Here you can see an example of a coordinated project between packaging and graphic design for a specific line of hair cosmetics dedicated to men, where together with the products our agency has also designed all the visual tools, from the counter display to the kit trial of the products up to the declination of the creative visual on all paper and web tools.
What to study to become a visual merchandiser?
Whether you want to independently manage a shop window or transform a simple passion into something more, how to become a visual merchandiser is a question that many ask themselves. The most suitable educational paths for a VM are degrees in economics, marketing, and visual communication. If you don’t want to pursue a degree, there are many courses on the internet dedicated to the subject.
The visual merchandiser works in the field of creativity combined with modern marketing techniques and is responsible for directing a team to create a stimulating environment that puts the customer at ease and stimulates the purchase. Useful skills in addition to educational qualification can be a strong knowledge of sales techniques, an excellent aesthetic taste, and general competence in putting customers at ease.
How much is a visual merchandiser paid Surely, the modern window dresser can earn thousands of euros, when in charge of preparing display windows for large chains. The salary of the VM is variable and depends on the position invested in the company if he works as an external consultant and is also physically involved in setting up the showcase. Furthermore, there is no shortage of job offers, as he is an increasingly requested and recognized professional figure, often permanently employed by larger companies.
Basic techniques and strategies
There is no visual merchandising manual: to understand the best strategies, you need to understand how it works, and it is not easy at all, indeed often relying on external help is the best choice.
We at Studio Concept, a communication agency, carry out marketing projects for large companies in the beauty sector, and boast a large experience that allows us to provide some visual merchandising ideas. The profession aims to stimulate all five sensory points, combining the right color palette to stimulate sight, displaying products that can be touched to stimulate touch, choosing the most suitable music for the context for hearing, and perfumes to diffuse in the room to stimulate the sense of smell and creating, where possible, a small food area to whet the taste buds.
Let’s see some key points on which to focus the work of VM:
- arranging the goods on the shelf following psychological strategies such as the principle of scarcity (a product that seems about to run out drives impulse purchases), and in general, arranging the goods to encourage people to buy more;
- choose the right sounds that are in line with the products on sale and with the target audience;
- exploit smells and perfumes to stimulate purchase: smell is a sense on which to focus a lot to stimulate childhood memories; in fact, this is directly connected to the encephalic stem, and perfumes, more than the other senses;
- allowing touching the products often leads to a purchase;
- avoid crowding the shop window with the entire catalog: this is a business card, and it will be necessary to focus on bestsellers or the latest releases;
- lights also play an important role in the sale of a product, and studying their intensity is essential to improve buyers’ experience.
Difference between real and virtual visual merchandisers
Visual merchandising also goes well with a website.
The online VM will do almost the same job, accompanied by a good knowledge of the HTML language and skills as a copywriter specialized in SEO, a technique aimed at optimizing a text to make it stand out in search engines.
Just as in a physical store, it is important not to overwhelm the customer with information, even on a website, it is essential to prefer simple and linear language that goes straight to the point without beating about the bush. Persuasive writing, an SEO technique, allows you to exploit the customer’s psychology to put him at ease, stimulating positive and pleasant emotions that will lead him in purchasing the product.
Our communication agency specializing in the beauty and cosmetics sector, develops specific web projects for the beauty world where the visual dimension is essential to best communicate the product. It always starts from the definition of unique and creative storytelling which must guide online visual communication and a real visual project is created for the brand’s web communication which includes the style of the product photos, the style of any infographics, and many other elements. The website is the first showcase of your product and you can communicate your uniqueness starting with your style of product photos and models that identify you and make you recognizable. Don’t just follow trends, but rely on a creative agency that can go beyond fashion and offer you a different and unique path.
Some examples of visual merchandising
Let’s think of the display windows for Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day: these have always been excellent opportunities to promote one’s work. Apart from holidays, all year round it is possible to use visual merchandising to increase sell-off and stand out among all competitors: let’s see some examples of showcases.
- Harrods, London’s historic shopping center, is famous for turning into a party on Christmas. Plays of light with a thousand facets capture the gaze of passersby and keep it fixed throughout the walk in front of the shop. The windows are a riot of colors and shapes that inspire positive and evocative sensations. The color palette is all around red, with touches of purple, blue, silver, and giant puppets, games, and themed mannequins make a fine show;
- The Galeries Lafayette in Paris is a riot of sparkling and well-studied showcases, often featuring themed showcases, or which tell a deeper story, such as ‘Robots from another planet’, the showcase dedicated to Leon a traveling robot, who with his companion Lumi looks at the sky with a telescope. The showcase represents an impervious, desert environment, with the two characters moving on horseback of imaginative and geometric wolves, with a bright background full of stars.
Can it also be used online?
As we said before, can all this also be applied to the online world? The answer is clearly yes. The so-called landing page of a website, which from the Google link leads to your page, has the same importance as a large shop window and must be treated in the same way.
Unfortunately, the web allows you to hit only two of the five senses, sight and hearing, totally excluding the others, but this does not make it less effective, as e-commerce can be visited at any time of day and from anywhere in the world: we, therefore, understand how high the potential is to apply visual merchandising also in the virtual field. A well-designed, welcoming, and fast website makes a difference in sales and improves the user experience.
Contact Studio Concept if you need to review your cosmetic line and make it more current and commercial, or if you need to launch a new cosmetic line from scratch and need specific advice to be able to start on the right foot in terms of target identification, style creation, of building the storytelling of your brand, of photographic and video production, of managing your social channels and creating your e-commerce.