Why look so far afield when there is so much good close at hand? This ancient wisdom also applies to the shopping behavior of modern consumers. Why take on the laborious journey into the city center or to a shopping mall when you can shop from the couch at home more comfortably by using a smartphone, tablet or computer? The answer is easy: the experience further away and especially the haptic perception of the offers in retail stores are still more exciting than the Internet.
Nevertheless, e-commerce providers are now coming up with some interesting ideas on how to make shopping on the World Wide Web more personal and appealing. For stationary retailers, this now means more than ever before that they must offer their customers a unique, sensual shopping experience that a virtual store cannot match.
Visual Merchandising (VM), in particular, is responsible for this customer experience. The optical sales promotion at the Point-of-Sale (PoS) or Point-of-purchase (PoP) is a key growth driver today. In the fashion industry, for example. According to a representative survey conducted by the Federal Association of German Textile Retailers (BTE) in January 2016, nine out of ten of the textile dealers surveyed are planning investments in their companies this year. Investments in shop fittings and visual merchandising top the list at 42 percent.
The most important task of a VM employee is to give customers the best possible overview of the range and thus encourage them to make impulse purchases. In order for this to work, visual appeal must be created by doing product presentations and placing current promotional materials. Here, it is important to master several challenges: The presentation must match the company’s uniform brand image. Furthermore, timing is crucial, especially with seasonal activities, and finally, the success of the actions undertaken needs to be measured.
Networked visual merchandising makes communication and data exchange between store managers, VM employees and the company's headquarters easier and allows for continuous analysis of the VM measures. Today, a cloud-based retail operations platform serves as the basis for networked VM processes and enables streamlined and faster cooperation between all stakeholders. The digitalization of VM activities accelerates work processes quite significantly, reduces risks and increases the chances of successful visual merchandising campaigns. Or put more simply: Such tools help VM employees to fully utilize their potential as modern seducers in the real world of shopping.
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