7 Retail Merchandising Tips to Freshen Up Your Retail Displays

Right product, right place, right time—it’s the lofty retail merchandising goal to which so many designers aspire. There are a lot of products competing for your customer’s attention, so in order for in-store displays to perform, they need to blend eye-catching creative appeal with sound retail merchandising strategy. That said, even the most successful displays still need a refresh from time to time. Here are seven tips to help you breathe new life into some of your retail displays.

1. Look at your spacing

Some of us embrace the old thinking that you can’t sell the product if it’s in the stockroom. So, we stuff the floor with as much product as possible. This can lead to a lot of cluttered displays that lack focus and appeal. Embrace some visual merchandising basics and think about your focal point at eye level. What should be there? That lipstick rack, for example, might highlight 50 new colors, but what if you focused on a few unique colors or an attribute the competition doesn’t have? You can then reduce the number of offerings to allow for a more focused approach that could feel more like an invitation to learn more about the line.


2. Add dimension

Sometimes, when a display involves a collection of items stacked on a shelf or placed in a row, it’s easy to wander past it. Multidimensional displays focus the eyes on specific products and even subjects. It can be one item that entices, but complementing items nearby can add more intrigue. Take the hats in this photo. If they were stacked up on a wall they would be easy to miss. But this approach, using hat displays, highlights them and opens the conversation up to more items in the area.


3. Consider a color change

There’s no question that color has power. Within the first 90 seconds of seeing an advertisement, a customer makes a subconscious judgment about it, and between 62% and 90% of that judgment is based on color, according to The Institute for Color Research. It pays to learn a little color psychology when it comes to retail merchandising. Did you know that red, for example, can stir strong emotion? Does that yellow exude warmth and optimism? And that blue is all about strength and dependability? Sometimes it’s a case of emphasizing one color you already have. Other times, a pop of vibrant color in a simple acrylic riser will do the trick, too.


4. Change the location

If you pump up a display with powerful colors and unique visual elements, you may find it’s better suited for the front window to draw people in. Retail merchandisers like to keep a floor active and products moving, even if they haven’t moved out the door quite yet. Don’t take an arbitrary approach to trying different locations. If you have a product you’re confident can really move, then splash it in a window display or present it to customers early in their experience in a high-traffic pathway where they can’t miss it when they walk in the door. Or if you want to promote the display in the back of the store, don’t forget to guide customers with a display stand or other signage to show them where to find the item.

5. Think vertically and horizontally

If your display is narrow, place the products of emphasis in the middle and think vertically by putting things above, below or around it. In an aisle or on shelves, pants or sweaters can be the vertical part on a hangar, but belts, socks or scarves can reside above and below. For horizontal displays, pay attention to the width and use it to arrange items in an attractive way. This Victoria’s Secret horizontal display does a great job of presenting a lot of options to the customer so they can sample and browse. The vertical table display also invites you to sample a perfume but dabble in complementary products as well.

6. Products in action

It’s always great for customers to see your products perform. A buyer can’t visualize bed sheets when they’re stuffed into a package, and flashing the unique colors inside of that fancy blazer can’t be done if it’s folded up. Whether it’s showcasing clothes, bedroom linens or cologne, give your customers an opportunity to see your product perform.


7. Create a hotspot

A hotspot involves creating a visually noticeable place where you want your customers to go. It’s not uncommon to use banner signage at a store entrance to guide them to the space.

Once they arrive to the hotspot, you’ll need to impress. A hotspot doesn’t usually highlight just one item. It’s the Halloween headquarters, snowboard central, the beautifully made bed in a bedroom arrangement—it’s the display that has everything you need for a topic or occasion, and it can even involve multiple displays working together.

Keep in mind that you’ll need quite a bit of product on hand and you’ll want to cross-merchandise to maximize sales. You’ll need to restock regularly and make sure the bestsellers are at eye level. You can weave in new products, too. Just be sure to not lose focus on the most popular ones. They are likely what drew people into the store and to the display in the first place.



There are many general retail merchandising guidelines out there, but don’t forget to let your creativity run wild and have a little fun. You never know how you might stumble across the perfect display idea!