2 visual merchandising tips for the back-to-school season

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Many retail stores can benefit from the lucrative back-to-school sales season, and not just those selling straightforward supplies and school clothes. There are opportunities for electronics stores, casual clothing retailers and other businesses to get in on the action as well. The back-to-school period, with sales and enticements to get customers out to malls and shopping centers, even provides an indirect benefit to stores in the same area – if nearby retailers can take advantage of visual merchandising to catch the eye of the shoppers passing the thresholds of their businesses.

Merchandising Matters reported that back-to-school spending is expected to rise once again this year, based on statistics from the National Retail Federation. The total increase is expected to jump 3 percent over 2013 numbers, hitting a total of $74.9 billion. Businesses from college bookstores to teen fashion stores and plenty of other retailers in between can attract some of this spending power simply by having effective presentations that highlight the best parts of their products.

A few pieces of advice can help to bring in shopping families and maximize revenue as the approach of the new school year draws near:

  • Catch their eyes as soon as possible: Whether a back-to-school display is oriented around a sale, the most popular items for returning students or another theme, having a big display near a store's entrance can draw in potential customers. The major, front-facing display can also tie into others around the store, whether on retail display fixtures, clothing racks or slatwall and grid displays. Having the right merchandising infrastructure in place – a table big enough to show off the entire array of highlighted products or extra wood hangers to deal with increased sales volume and presentation – is the cornerstone of a great entryway display.
  • Have space available for interaction: Design Ideas suggests encouraging a hands-on approach – within reason, of course – resulting in customers having a tactile experience with products. This is possible with everything from clothes to electronics, although high-cost items need some safeguards in play. Even a mannequin stand with a fashionable outfit helps potential customers, both kids and parents, not just see the clothing but see how it appears when worn. This small investment into some extra retail fixtures can easily pay dividends as visitors see not only the appearance but the style and functionality of the items they're considering for purchase.
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