Fashion and department stores, perhaps more than other retail segments, understand the benefits of visual merchandising. Consumers may set out to shop for a specific item, but seeing “that item” curated as part of an outfit with related garments and accessories is a surefire way to upsell complementary apparel. It’s no secret. Consumers in “buy mode” of their own volition are pliable and more susceptible to action if inspired.
The act of shopping is emotional. It invokes the individual’s self-image — her sense of style, sense of self, and often who she aspires to be. So when she sees an outfit skillfully presented together with accessories on a mannequin or in a store display, she sees her “best” self wearing the ensemble. She’s invited into an immersive experience that creates a potent buying environment and often results in a further sale. This, of course, is a simplistic take on retailing. The advent of e-commerce and the continued proliferation of smartphones, apps and high-speed mobile Internet have caused a sea of change in how consumers shop. Shoppers today have volumes of information at their fingertips, wherever they are, whenever and however they want to use it.
Access to information is allowing consumers to re-invent the shopping experience: Rather than passively engaging with retailers, they hold the means to make informed shopping decisions — right in the palm of their hand. This article was first published in Chain Store Age Magazine on January 16, 2016.