Visual Merchandising Tips to Prepare for a More Profitable Season
Authors: Joe Baer, Co-Founder, CEO and Creative Director, ZenGenius & Jalpa Patel, Senior Visual Merchandiser and Interior Architect, ZenGenius
At ZenGenius, we believe that everything has a right place, at the right time, for the right reason.
Knowing where to place your products and how to arrange them can make all the difference
between a customer passively browsing your products and a customer stopping and feeling
inspired to pick up your product and purchase it.
Garden retailers rely heavily on the visual aspect of their displays to generate sales. With this in
mind, we’ve outlined a few merchandising tips for you to keep apply to your existing and
● First impressions always count. What do you want customers to see when they walk up
to your store? How do you want them to feel? Proper landscaping and attractive displays
set the right mood for the customers and attract them to walk inside the store. Create a
WOW moment that excites the customers to enter the store. Make them fall in love at
first sight. From the exterior to the interior…first impressions matter.
● Navigation is key. How do you want your customers to move through your space? Which
categories and displays do you want them to interact with first? Proper circulation,
effortless customer flow and easy navigation is key to creating the right impact. The flow
of the space should be natural and intuitive with thoughtful moments of pleasant
surprises. New promotions and seasonal products should be placed near the entrance of
your store and consider placing all sale and clearance products in a zone towards the
back of the store encouraging customers to walk across the store. The cash counter
should be easy to locate and a selection of impulse merchandise such as seasonal
items, tools, snacks and novelty gifts should tempt and tease every customer.
● Don’t underestimate the power of communication. Another great way to extend the
personality and image of your store while making the shopping experience easier is to
incorporate signs with information and pricing. Signage and wayfinding are crucial
elements to garden centers where the layout is spread across a larger area. Why should
customers purchase plants from your nursery versus the one just minutes away?
Implementing proper signage and wayfinding can make all the difference in a customer’s
shopping experience being easy and enjoyable versus complicated and frustrating. Tell
your customers which plants are organic, educate them on how to properly care for their
plants. Bring your brand voice and personality to the signage throughout your store.
This is your chance to sound funny, charming or just plain smart. Don’t forget….the key
to a great signage package is visual consistency. Choose a style, look, font and material
and stick to it.
● Establish your seasonal merchandising basics. One of the key goals of visual
merchandising is to elevate the perceived value of your product. The way to achieve this
is to pay close attention to the way you are displaying your goods and experiment with
the best merchandising technique for each plant, product or category. Is there order and
organization that makes sense to the shopping flow? Use merchandising techniques like
vertical merchandising, pyramiding, symmetry, consistency and repetition to feature your
assortment. Play with incorporating color and focal points into your composition.
● Use color techniques to group similar shades of flower pots together. This is an easy
practice for visual aesthetics that makes it easy for customers to shop and understand
the hottest colors of the season. Painted crates, pallets, wooden trays and other visual
props or fixtures to hold your products, elevate them and make them feel more special
and better quality. Merchandise plants by color in hot spots to create visual impact.
● Drive sales by cross merchandising complementary products next to key items. Cross
merchandising is a great visual merchandising technique to encourage add-on items and
increase store sales. For example, merchandise planters next to the plants to show how
they can be used and make it easy for the customers to add it on. Place your bird seed
right next to your best selling bird feeders and complete the story with a bird watchers
guide, journal and binoculars. Create stories that compel a customer to buy one of
● Engage the five senses. Retailers can express how their brand looks, smells, sounds,
feels, tastes by taking time and creating a strategy to engage customers senses.
Customers want to see, touch and feel the products. But to engage all of the senses,
think about what you want your customers to hear and smell when they walk into your
space. Your sound could be a specific genre of music, simple nature sounds or a track
of birds chirping. Your smell can come from a diffuser, scented candles or an occasional
spritz of a custom blended scent. Don’t forget to engage the sense of taste. Perhaps
offer a taste of lemonade, fresh water or a cup of coffee. Even a free piece of candy or a
mint at the checkout can add to the customers experience. Think of multisensory
techniques that draw customers in and engage their senses in the experience.
● Create a photo moment: There’s no doubt that the majority of today’s customers are
armed with a camera just waiting for the moment that something captures their attention,
delights them and almost subconsciously urges them to take a photo or selfie to share
with all of their friends and family to partake in the excitement. Social Media is a part of
today’s retail experiences. Create a visual moment that makes a customer say “WOW,”
makes them turn and look or encourages them to snap a selfie. These are great ways to
make sure they remember their experience in your store. Chances are pretty good they
will mention your store in several of their upcoming conversations. Apply cleverness and
humor to create memorable moments. Make someone smile today!
If your big season is just ahead…use this time to strategize and define your seasonal
merchandising techniques, focal displays and store communications. Train your team on your
techniques, expectations and the experience you want each and every customer to enjoy.
Ensure that when it’s time to open the doors….everything is in the right place, at the right time,
for the right reason.
Want to hear more excellent merchandising tips? Be sure to attend Joe Baer’s Visual Merchandising Workshop at Cultivate’19!