Visual Merchandising and Your Store’s Brand Image

The visual presentation of jewelry is a critical component of your store brand because of its close proximity to the merchandise itself. Pieces sit on risers, necks, and trays, which are stages for presenting products in their best light. These displays must attract attention to jewelry, help create interest, fuel desire, enhance perceived value, and do so without drawing attention to themselves.

Three major features of visual presentation of jewelry have a significant impact on your store’s image and how your displays support it. These are color, applicability to the merchandise, and presentation.

COLOR

It isn’t surprising that color is a major factor in perception of a store brand. It’s difficult for a store to appear stylish and contemporary if it still uses mauve displays popular in the 1980s, and you won’t convey a unique image with the same white leatherette displays everyone else uses.

The following ideas will help create a color-coordinated store in which it’s clear to customers that the diamond case is brighter and more elegant than the chain case. This also supports the store’s plan for traffic flow, helping differentiate areas.

Use a color that sets your store apart from competitors. This is especially important if your store is in a mall, where customers are exposed to many stores in a single shopping trip. It’s easier for customers to remember your store, for example, if it doesn’t use white leatherette.

Choose a color that enhances the perceived value of the merchandise and sets you apart. But if you do use white leatherette, combine it with a contrasting secondary color that warms the cold look of white, such as navy blue.

Use color to direct customers’ perception of showcases. Diamond cases can be trimmed with displays that are 80 percent white leatherette with 20 percent navy accents (sides, bases, etc.). Midprice merchandise (colored stones, gold, men’s jewelry, etc.) can be displayed on elements that are half navy and half white. Lower-price merchandise (chain, charms, sterling silver, etc.) can use displays that are 80 percent navy and 20 percent white.

Don’t chase color trends. Don’t bother asking your display company’s sales rep to recommend the latest “hot” color or one on which diamonds look best. This year’s hot color will be cold in a season or two, and most jewelers can’t afford to redecorate annually. As for diamonds, they’re best displayed on any neutral color with lots of light in the 3000 to 3500 Kelvin range.

APPLICABILITY

You don’t use a screwdriver to drive a nail. Take the same approach with visual merchandising. Use display elements designed to accommodate the type of goods you place on them. If you don’t have the right display, don’t carry that specific merchandise.

Always ask yourself how you’ll display an item before you order it. Reputable display manufacturers have knowledgeable staff to help you display virtually anything. Use their expertise, and you’ll avoid awkwardness in your merchandise presentation. Here are some tips:

Don’t put multiple pieces on displays designed for one. Draping several necklaces on a single neck form, for instance, blatantly diminishes their value, because it says the pieces don’t deserve their own space.

Consider the density of your display trays and the perceived value of the jewelry. Ring trays that hold 25 rings, for example, make a different impression on customers than a tray holding seven or even a single ring stand.

Use differences to help the customer perceive what you want him or her to see. Here’s how to arrange a showcase: Place the most-expensive 25 percent of items on individual displays. Put those in the next 25 percent in trays holding five to seven pieces. Progress to trays with capacity for more pieces as price points drop. Your least-expensive goods should always be in your highest-capacity trays. It’s easier to convince a customer of the quality, uniqueness, workmanship, and overall value of a ring on a single ring stand, rather than one taken from a tray with 24 similar pieces.

PRESENTATION

Retail experts say the progressive steps for any sale are attention, interest, desire, conviction, and the close. Thus, each of your showcase presentations must attract attention, stimulate interest, and create thedesire upon which your sales associates can build to persuade a customer to buy a piece. Consider the following:

Make your displays easy to view. The customer’s eye should move easily over the presentation of goods. Position your display elements so every piece of merchandise is easily seen.

Don’t overcrowd your showcases. That hurts perception of the value of your goods.

Keep showcases clean and free of smudges and stains. Ask your display provider for suggestions on how to clean new displays. Discard worn elements at the first sign of overuse. To a consumer, faded, frayed, or dirty elements speak volumes about a store and affect perception of its brand image.

Step out from behind the showcase. See for yourself if it meets the attention, interest, and desire criteria before you unlock the store doors.

Be certain any signage in the showcases supports your brand. For example, stores with a higher-end brand image shouldn’t use hand-lettered signs. Invest in software to produce quality signage.

Have a sign with your store’s name in each showcase. Have you ever had a customer at checkout ask you, as he or she is writing a check, for your store’s name? That’s evidence that your store needs more name recognition. If customers don’t know your store’s name at the moment of purchase, how can they tell their friends where they bought that beautiful piece of jewelry?

As you work to build or sustain your store-brand image and strategy, remember that how you present your merchandise is an important part of that. Make it important to everyone in your store. Do your research. Read books on visual merchandising. Ask experts for suggestions. Experiment with new ideas. Look at how all types of retailers use displays to enhance their brand images.

Then, put your ideas into action and settle for nothing less than continuous improvement in the store brand image you want.