Thought Leadership

Planning in-store marketing campaigns and the importance of visual merchandising

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Planning in-store marketing campaigns effectively and having a clear communications strategy in place has never been so important. With consumers looking for great experiences and value for money, quality marketing materials and visual merchandising can transform your brick-and-mortar spaces. From banks and book stores, to clothing stores and tech shops, communicating visually with your customers helps to engage your customers and drive sales.

It may sound cliche, but images really can paint a story more vividly than 1000 words. On average, we are exposed to as many as 5000 per day online, and the promotional materials we experience in person really need to stand out. Like it or not, we’re living in an unescapable image-driven world fuelled by an attention economy, and standing out in a sea of other businesses has never been more difficult. Having an innovative visual marketing strategy across your brick-and-mortar locations can draw the right attention to your business and keep your customers coming back.

What is visual merchandising? Planning your in-store marketing campaign

Visual merchandising in a brick-and-mortar context is the practice of displaying promotional material in such a way your customers and clients will be drawn into and around your stores. When successful, visual merchandising is a highly effective marketing tool that can assist in establishing a strong brand identity as well as creating a seamless experience for your customers.

In retail, visual merchandising includes the strategic placement of stock around your store, helping to create a welcoming environment, improving the in-store experience and boosting sales.

Planning your visual merchandising strategy and perfecting your campaigns in-store

While goldfish have a typical attention space of approximately nine seconds, recent studies have found the average human has the ability to concentrate for only eight seconds before losing interest. While the idea that a goldfish can concentrate for longer than you may seem far-fetched, our attention spans really are shorter than ever before. It really does beg the question; in a competitive world driven by the attention economy where ‘looking’ has become commodified, how can brick-and-mortar sites stand out in all the noise and engage effectively with their customers?

Location and site-specific messaging

One size doesn’t fit all, especially when considering the space and opportunity in your brick-and-mortar sites. Say you own a chain of bookstores; one of your stores is just off the dual carriageway at a service station on the outskirts of a major city. It’s a decent size with a great storefront, lots of foot traffic, and plenty of room for your visual merchandising materials. Meanwhile, 50 miles away, you have a much smaller store with a much smaller footprint and just one window on a quaint high street. The difference between these two stores is huge, and sales are missed if marketing campaign materials are sent out in a generic pack.

Where your stores are located, and the infrastructure available plays a hugely important role in your visual merchandising strategy. While creating campaign materials for multiple sites that aren’t specific to the locations may seem simpler, it results in unnecessary expense, unused materials and waste, and messaging that isn’t targeted to your customers.

Developed for businesses with multiple brick-and-mortar locations, Colateral’s online platform makes planning in-store marketing campaigns easy and enables your marketing teams to streamline the allocation of campaign materials across all your sites. It allows your head office employees to customise your marketing materials to specific locations depending on the infrastructure available, collaborate with creative departments on the briefing, reviewing and approving visuals and share detailed display instructions with store staff. You can plan and deliver the most effective materials for your different sites and localise the messaging, helping you to better connect with your customers.

Planning in-store marketing displays and campaigns

Strategically placed marketing materials and careful visual merchandising is of paramount importance in your brick-and-mortar locations. Unlike your online shop, your brick-and-mortar locations have the opportunity to take your visitors on a journey through a physical site and raise awareness of your brand. A poorly thought-out layout will have a negative effect – your visitors will be more likely to leave if they cannot easily navigate through your store and find what they are looking for, and it is unlikely they will return if they have a bad experience.

To ensure your visitors have a positive experience in your brick-and-mortar sites, make sure your physical locations have site-specific merchandising. Transform your locations with bespoke materials that don’t block walkways and crowd your sites but work with the location itself. Doing away with paper planograms and deploying a digital platform like Colateral’s software ensures your marketing is streamlined across every location. It also gives autonomy to your employees and empowers them to set up your merchandising with simple, digital display instructions bespoke for their store location.

The future of visual merchandising with Colateral: Planning in-store marketing campaigns made easy

Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going anywhere. While consumer habits are constantly evolving, there’s a magic to physically travelling to a place to browse and to buy. As the restrictions of the pandemic ease, consumers are looking forward to spending their weekends visiting local high streets again and returning to browsing items in their weekly food shops. Why?

As convenient as online shopping is, consumers still want to visit supermarkets to confirm the freshness of their produce before buying. They still want the experience of flicking through the pages of a book before taking it home and the joy of discovering a bargain on a last-minute sale rack. They still want the reassurance of dealing with a knowledgeable cashier in a bank – not a chatbot on a website or an app. They still want to experience things and get to know brands and their products in person.

They want frictionless, memorable, exciting and refreshed shopping experiences when they visit on foot.

If you want to keep customers returning to your bricks and mortar stores, now is the time to think creatively and review operations. Streamline processes for your staff and your customers. Cut costs and reduce waste from laborious workflows, and invest in connecting your online and in-store experiences and localising your messaging.

Colateral’s digital software allows you to streamline your marketing across your physical sites and create infrastructure-specific materials that work with each location – instantly helping to cut costs, reduce waste and better connect with your customers. Use targeted in-store marketing and great communication with your in-store employees to transform your stores and give your customers the experience they are looking for.

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