Visual Merchandising Tips to Prepare for a More Profitable Season

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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

upcoming displays.

● 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!

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