shutterstock_102679805Displays are the heart and soul of visual merchandising; their role is to present the merchandise to the shopper. Just as someone introduced at a party with a flattering comment is much more interesting than the boring standard, “This is Bob” introduction, so too are products presented in unique and flattering manners. Similar to a party introduction where we always hear the merits or the name of the person we are being introduced to and then begin to analyze the individual according his introduction, the first thing the customer sees in a store is the display of products; the products themselves are actually seen second. Displays set sections of merchandise apart from the rest of the store’s products by arranging a selection of products in a grouping that is set off from the rest of the store with its arrangement, lighting, props and shelf talker cards. These introductions have an enormous impact on the products themselves and on the shopper faced with many other product choices. The ways that displays impact consumers can be broken down into ten easy categories.

• Promote the product
• Advertise the business
• Create further sales
• Construct ambience
• Educate the consumer
• Encourage brand recognition
• Encourage demonstration
• Familiarize client with the business
• Support trends
• Define store image

First off, displays work to highlight and sell specific products by attracting attention to the merchandise and permitting the shopper to interact with the goods in the framework of the display. If done correctly, this shows off the products in a flattering light. Nobody beelines right for the darkest nooks and corners of a store, they let themselves be guided by their senses which will lead them to the brightest and most attractive areas of a spa store.

The displays are internal advertisements that create an image unique to the spa through the use of displays and props. Certain displays, such as those advertising a buy two, get one free concept can incite further impulse sales. And a product that is purchased and well appreciated will generate return clientele and generate sales for the spa.

Displays convey a tone and help create an atmosphere depending on their arrangement and presentation within the spa boutique. Bold displays with bright colors create one mood and subtle, minimalist displays create quite another. Poorly organized displays convey nothing but a confusing message that is trying on the eye of the customer: A messy bin display of $1.00 lipsticks sends one message, while a precise stair-stepped display of $20.00 lipsticks is a world apart.

Displays serve to educate the consumer about the products for sale, providing ingredient composition and product instructions, price, availability, color, results and other additional information on cards or on the products themselves. Interactive displays encourage the consumer to educate him or herself on the product by trying it out. Any presentation is bound to convey more information about the product by setting it apart from the rest of the items in the store that are weakly or singularly displayed.

Presentations encourage brand recognition by using memorable displays that highlight a single brand and a range of its products. A brand’s reputation can also be transmitted to a store that carries the brand products. For example, Creed is a prestigious brand of perfume; by association any spa that carries Creed is likely to be seen as esteemed and luxury-oriented as well as a bit off beat because Creed is not a typical spa line. By contrast, a spa carrying only Aveda products sets itself aside as a concept store. The consumer has by now come to expect a certain type of product from Aveda both within the retail area and when used in the spa.

The arrangement of presentation promotes product sampling by offering a range of ‘testers,’ and can also be designed for live product demonstration by a sales associate. Interactive displays encourage consumers to try on the product and judge for themselves its efficiency. Whenever a client can touch, feel, smell or wear a product, the potential for making a sale is greatly increased.

Displays also serve to confirm that a spa is aware of and even leading recent trends. They can do this, for example, by promoting new treatments such as an innovative body contouring technique and up-to-the-minute products and fashionable beauty lines that are featured in the season’s national beauty and fashion magazines.

Finally, a well-presented display harmonizes the store setting with a comprehensive esthetic tone. In such a case, shopping in the store becomes a pleasurable experience, not an erratic task or tiresome chore. Who wouldn’t like to linger among scented candles, soft music and inviting spritzers? The spa display is echoing the services of the entire establishment and is a powerful tool to advertise the treatment aspects of the spa. Displays are so influential and important that some people deliberately go to stores, not to shop but to see the displays. Such is the case with Marshall Fields in Chicago, which every Christmas installs a several-stories-tall decorated tree in the middle of its department store.

Because the spa focuses on its services and facilities, the promotion of its retail products is often a secondary consideration. Displays can work to reshape spa promotion with a subtle but increased emphasis on retail goods. Physical products and displays can also be used to remind consumers of the more intangible services offered within the spa.