The Role of Visual Merchandising

  • ‘Good’ interior design within a store can maintain customer interest, encourage customers to lower their psychological defences and make a purchase (Kerfoot, Davies & Ward, 2003)
  • The store environment influences a shopper‟s emotions and mood, which in turn influence the shopper‟s behavior. Factors such as lighting, color, music, scent, exterior store design can be controlled in order to create right store atmosphere (Ishita & Goel, 2015).
  • Experience has shown that customers will react positively to subtle changes in store environment, so retailers should use as many of the store design tools at their disposal as possible (Ishita & Goel, 2015).
  •  An inviting atmosphere not only brings people into the store, but also keeps them there longer. Studies show that the longer shoppers remain in a store, the more money they are likely to spend. (Ries, et al. 2005)

Key findings show that it is important to:

  • Present merchandise in an easily understandable way (e.g. logical order, ascending sizes).
  • Facilitate the decision process by merchandise presentation (presenting additional items for purchase will increase profitability and be seen as helpful reminders of extra things to buy which they may have forgotten about).
  • Locate products at an appropriate height.
  • Use props to attract consumer attention in the store.

(Ebster & Garaus, 2011)

Experiential Retailing

  • An experiential approach to retailing posits that an interaction with the product, service, and/or shopping environment can be intrinsically satisfying (Fiore & Kim, 2013).
  • Experiential value consists of the fun and aesthetic pleasure from imagery and sensory elements of the shopping experience (Fiore & Kim, 2013).
  • Customers don’t want assistants asking ‘Hello, can I help you?’ as their view is that they 
have done their research and know what they want. What they want 
are elements in store to engage them while 
they are there (Parry, 2016).
  • Experiential retail does not have to mean a huge investment by retailers, but it does have to be something more memorable than the everyday shopping experience (Parry, 2016).
  • Pleasure affects affinity for the store and arousal affects the number of items purchased (Sherman,Mathur &Smith, 1997).
  • Store atmosphere deals with sensorial aspects such as sight, smell, feel, and hearing, which together create a store experience (Garvin, 2009).

Current Bridal Inspiration

Researching bridalwear, occasionwear and high-end luxury brands as directional inspiration, e.g. Chloe, Maje, Celine, Sandro.4d47ce7fd2b22495de70c99bb9d292971a1121ea4c3d0aa8ae12df80360e9f21561606083729b5616060837ec4.jpga10debf4383da88ccc923bc3c543e29bbfe035b1162c6812728b4854916d6c13

Focus on:

  • Light
  • Spacious
  • Minimal POS
  • Neutral colours
  • Natural materials – wood, plants, natural light
  • Focus walls
  • Architectural design focus


  • Classic
  • Elegance
  • Clean & minimal
  • Luxury
  • Clean & fresh
  • Calm
  • Femininity
  • Approachable / comforting



It is important for GRACE’s VM to convey the following in order to coincide with their brand identity and promote experiential retailing:

  • Natural & organic shapes – wood, plants, warm natural light
  • Femininity – pastel colours, floral, rounded shapes
  • Elegance & sophistication (without the intimidation of luxury boutiques) –  marble, gold, white, minimalistic
  • Comfort – rugs, warm light, friendly staff, easy self-service environment
  • Emotional shopping experience – minimal POS/advertisement, abstract art, texture


  • A key aspect of the GRACE store is to allow consumers to feel like they can approach the products themselves and browse to create a comfortable shopping environment and remove the stigma of prestigious bridal stores. But also enable the ability to engage with higher end customer service through facilities such as  a consultation area.
  • Balancing between high street shopping and luxury bridal boutiques.
  • Key emotions to to convey in store are, relaxed and happy – Possible to achieve this by imitating a traditional retail store set up, keeping things relatable and familiar to the consumer’s shopping style yet still maintaining a sense of speciality and individual personal service to communicate the elegance and exclusivity of the bridal experience. An appropriate number of products stocked and on display to encourage consumers to touch and engage with products, rugs and homely decor such as plants and seating maintain a relaxed atmosphere.

Consequently the retail space must include:

  • Apparel
  • Integrated products – Cosmetics, Footwear, Accessories
  • Changing rooms
  • Consultation area
  • Cash desk

Fixture Inspiration

The fixtures in-store must continue the theme of minimalism and appeal to the all encompassing styling aspect of the store experience. Fixtures must be able to display apparel and accessories simultaneously to increase the shopping experience.

The stylistic details incorporated must convey GRACE’s brand values and communicate an experiential retail style.

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Mannequin Placement

Mannequin placement must convey the following:

  • Point of interest
  • Inviting
  • Inspirational

The GRACE store will use mannequins as sources of inspiration for consumers to create their own look.


Remember, as a pop-up retail store, the interior design must be easily constructed and be able to be rearranged into various sized spaces.

Store Details

Create that feminine, homely and modern feel by using:

  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Chairs
  • Rugs
  • Coffee tables
  • Warm lighting



Colours and materials inspired by the original brand &OS fused together with the new brand concept:

  • Keep colour scheme neutral to complement specific brand colour palette
  • Light wood
  • Glass/perspex
  • Reflective materials
  • Natural materials



Ebster, C. & Garaus, M. (2011). Store design and visual merchandising: Creating store space that encourages buying. Business Expert Press. New York.

Fiore, A. M. & Kim, J. (2013). ‘An integrative framework capturing experiential and utilitarian shopping experience’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 35(6), pp.421–442, [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550710750313 (Accessed 26 March 2017).

Garvin, A. N. (2009). Experiential retailing : extraordinary store environments and purchase behavior. http://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1225&context=theses (Accessed 26 March 2017).

Ishita, S. & Goel, S. (2015). ‘Role of store atmospherics on customer experience’, International Journal of Multidisciplinary Approach and Studies, 2(3), pp.72–83, [Online]. Available at: http://ijmas.com/upcomingissue/10.03.2015.pdf (Accessed 14 March 2017).

Kerfoot, S., Davies, B. & Ward, P. (2003). ‘Visual merchandising and the creation of discernible retail brands’,  International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 31(3), pp.143–152, [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550310465521 (Accessed 14 March 2017).

Parry, C. (2016). Property: Why retailers are investing in experiential stores. https://www.retail-week.com/topics/property/why-retailers-are-investing-in-experiential-stores/7013599.article (Accessed 26 March 2017).

Ries, J. (2007). Creating a comfortable shopping environment, [Online]. Available at http://www.holophane.com/education/tech_docs/jr3.asp (Accessed 14 March 2017).

Sherman, E., Mathur, A. & Smith, R. B. (1997). ‘Store environment and consumer purchase behavior: Mediating role of consumer emotions’, Psychology & Marketing, 14(4), pp.361-378, [Online]. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199707)14:4%3C361::AID-MAR4%3E3.0.CO;2-7/abstract (Accessed 26 Marc 2017).


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