Chapter 1: Visual Displays
Consumers absorb information in three ways--visually, auditory and kinesthetically.
Visual consumers are intrigued by what they see, auditory consumers by
what they hear, and kinesthetic consumers by what they feel. Because consumers
make purchases based on whichever methods dominate their behavior, it
is vital to design visual displays that appeal to all three methods.
An effective visual display will appeal to the visual person because
of its artistic design. It will appeal to an auditory person because when
they see a message or read a sign, they 'hear' a message in their mind.
The display will appeal to the kinesthetic person because its colors,
pictures or theme will stimulate an emotion, mood or memory.
If you know how the human eye naturally scans, you can design some of
the most effective displays that will appeal to all of these methods.
Research has shown that the eye passes through any display from the high
left to the lower right. Because we read from the top left corner of a
page, the eye has been trained instinctively to look in a high-left to
low-right manner. If there's weight on the bottom, the eye then moves
back up to the top. Since it takes seven-tenths of a second for a client
to make a subliminal buying decision, and 78 percent of what people buy
is based on what they see, if they keep the eye on a display for a split
second, retail sales will increase dramatically.
Two Types Of Effective Visual Displays
While a disorganized display instantly will discourage any customer,
there are two types of displays that, if done correctly, will grab, hold
and lead the customer's eye. They are mass-merchandising displays and
The objective of the mass-merchandising display is to bring the buyer
into a specific area of the salon. This technique utilizes several shelves
for a large number of products. To catch the customer's interest, products
should be organized by type-moisturizers with moisturizers, intensifiers
with intensifiers, etc. (note, different manufacturers have different
names for these products.) This creates horizontal lines the eye will
Use product size to establish vertical lines that further lead the eye.
On each shelf, position the largest sizes at the far right, because most
people reach from right to left, following the same impulse as they do
when they shake hands. Place large items, such as gallon-size containers
and other oversized products on the bottom shelves. This creates optical
weight, which breaks the visual pattern. Place the best-selling items
at eye-level and the slowest movers on the shelf just below, to generate
carry-over interest to the next shelf.
Once you decide where everything should go, stack items at least four
deep and place a mirror behind them for extra impact. Remember, empty
shelves send a negative message about your commitment to a product.
Feature displays, on the other hand, differ from mass merchandising displays
in that they create intriguing visual variety, therefore, they offer more
design flexibility. They are easy to arrange, can be large or small, and
are a powerful sales tool. Try arranging items at an angle to follow the
normal sweep of the eye with the largest or tallest items on the left
and the smaller ones on the right or in front. If all the items are small
and close to the same size, create a zigzag pattern by placing items on
top of props of varying heights, using fabric-covered bricks or cardboard
boxes as pedestals.
The best feature displays are centered around a product category, such
as moisturizers, or around a theme such as holiday gifts. The important
thing to remember is that the product always should be the focal point
of the display. Lighting, props, colors and signage should complement,
not overpower the product.
Color is one of the most effective tools used in displays. Research has
shown that blue is the most popular color on a worldwide basis. It induces
thoughts of the sky, water and purity, and is preferred especially by
mature customers. Red makes the heart beat faster, demands attention and
attracts all ages and both sexes. White creates feelings of cleanliness
and purity, and attracts young people. Black stimulates elegant, sophisticated
and subcultural feelings, and appeals to individualistic and youthful
people. Green promotes thoughts of health and the environment. Yellow,
one of the most widely used colors in the indoor tanning industry, is
the color humans see first, which is why it has a strong shelf impact
Placing The Displays
The best location for visual merchandising displays is within the first
10 feet of the salon, or the first 10 percent of the salon if space is
limited. Customers are more likely to purchase a product from this area
than any other. Both mass merchandising and feature displays are very
The second best place is at an eye-level display near the reception desk,
as customers will pass this area three to four times per visit. Mass-merchandising
displays work best here, because they allow clients to handle the products.
The third best place for visual displays is on the reception desk or
counter. A feature display works best here, however, the reception desk
must be spacious enough to accommodate the display. The next best place
for displays is in a front window if your salon is on a high-traffic street,
and this should be an attractive, theme-oriented feature display.
Behind the reception desk is the fifth most effective location, which
is another ideal place for feature displays. Displays in this location,
however, give off a "do not touch" signal, so it is best to
place exclusive, high-priced items here. Make sure that the person working
behind the desk is knowledgeable and educated enough to answer questions
and provide recommendations about these products.
One of the latest and most effective merchandising supplements in indoor
tanning salons are visual educational tools. Posters, brochures, pamphlets
and other types of literature can be found on countertops and walls in
salons across the country. They consist of facts and photos explaining
the tanning process and different types of tanning products. Their purpose
is twofold: to educate clients and to pitch sales.
One way to get the word out is to hang posters in the tanning rooms to
reinforce skincare suggestions made at the reception desk. Even customers
who want to take your word for it are impressed by a professionally designed
poster that says the same thing. Manufacturers are more than happy to
supply this kind of back-up information to salon owners. For little or
no money, you can see your sales increase substantially.