The Art of Effective Execution of Visual Merchandising in Retail

min read
The Art of Effective Execution of Visual Merchandising in Retail
Table of content

Capturing the attention of customers has become more challenging than ever. That is where the magic of visual merchandising comes into play so that your brand is always seen. Imagine stepping into a store where every display, every product arrangement, and every piece of decor effortlessly lures you in, enticing you to explore further. That is the beauty of well-executed visual merchandising. It is a carefully crafted blend of creativity, psychology, and strategic planning that creates an immersive and captivating shopping experience.

7 Tips for Effective Retail Visual Merchandising

As the marketing manager of a company aiming to execute a nationwide PoSM (Point of Sale Material) deployment at various outlets, the success of this campaign hinges on meticulous planning and resource utilization. Nevertheless, despite careful considerations, there is always a possibility of encountering challenges and delays, which could result in missed opportunities. To help you achieve effective execution, here are 7 essential tips:

1. Have a Target Retail List Approved by Stakeholders

Many brands initiate campaigns without an approved retail list, causing several issues:

  • Outdated lists may be refused by regional stakeholders during campaign execution, leading to chaos between regional and corporate marketing teams.
  • Discuss outlet preferences with distributors and channel partners beforehand to avoid such complications.
  • Ensure accurate outlet details, including cities and addresses, during the planning phase to prevent last-minute issues during field visits.

2. Get Your Outlets Enrolled Before Execution

Prioritize enrolling outlets before campaign execution to ensure effective merchandising. Without this, you may encounter various issues. Retailers may not allow visual merchandisers to deploy PoSM if they lack campaign-related information and miscommunication on PoSM material applicable to the dealer may result in refusal. There is also a possibility that outlets might reject execution due to unresolved business-related issues with local brand teams.

3. Conduct a Cost and Benefits Analysis on the Location of Material Production

Central vendors are often hired to maintain PoSM quality uniformity, with production and dispatch to various locations. One should plan production well in advance, considering media specifications and freezing production rate cards. Also, develop an audit and supply chain plan for PoSM material to mitigate risks, such as higher courier costs or transit damage.

Implement Effective Backward Planning

Inadequate backward planning can lead to campaign failures due to factors like artwork rejection, production delays, lack of manpower planning, intervention from stakeholders on outlet lists, and delayed PoSM delivery. Plan day-wise activities in advance and determine target campaign active dates according to town types to facilitate backward planning.

Set Material/PoSM Deployment Guidelines

To ensure maximum brand visibility and relevance, establish clear PoSM deployment guidelines.  

  • Deployment Grid: Determine the number of PoSM to be deployed for each outlet type.
  • Deployment Guideline: Specify where each PoSM should be placed to maximize impact.

Prioritize Training

Thoroughly train field executives (FOS) before market execution to ensure seamless deployment and accurate reporting, which significantly impacts the overall campaign success.

Establish a Strong and Verified Reporting Mechanism System:

To address real-time reporting challenges and prevent potential fraud, implement a reliable reporting system. Authenticate reports shared by field teams to ensure accuracy and prevent data manipulation and proper reporting enhances transparency and helps address any issues promptly.

What to Monitor in Large Scale Visual Merchandising Execution?

Generally, Visual Merchandising managers are overloaded with the reports and information which is being shared with them every day and focusing on the most important attributes is critical yet complex.

So, here are details on some key points to monitor which will help you in keeping your VM activity on a continuous improvement track.

Quality of Deployment

Every VM activity efforts around brand visibility enhancement only and quality of deployment could be the best measure of the same. Deployment of a PoSM at the desired location is a must to increase visibility. A poster deployed inside a retail store which is not visible to walk-ins easily will not help in increasing the visibility of the brand. Same is the case with dangler which is deployed above 12 feet.

Companies incur a lot over auditing the brand visibility through different measures. However, we can classify those into two categories which can be applied based on different market scenarios.  

  • Field Audits: City-wise or region- wise field audits should be done to capture the quality of deployment on a sample basis. Auditors should have a checklist or a questionnaire to appraise all points regarding quality. Field audits are the best and most effective measurement tool of as it can enable brands in checking the specifications of material deployed as well along with guideline adherence of deployment but should be utilized wisely as it eats out the marketing budgets as well.
  • Deployment Photographs Audit: Another method of measurement of quality of VM execution on ground is auditing through sample or 100% photographs received from ground. This is a cost-effective way of auditing the deployment as per guidelines but cannot be used for checking the PoSM specifications, thus should be implemented accordingly.


Every VM person-day spent in the market is a cost to the company thus increasing productivity should be the target of the brand to deliver maximum visits within minimum person-days. It can be measured by the number of outlets covered per day per manpower and thus should be monitored rigorously in a large VM execution program.

Day Time Spent

Sometimes just achieving the target productivity is not enough and it is possible that a VM can cover target outlets in a lesser time than his office working hours. It happens due to the higher density of outlets in one’s territory and thus enabling him in covering the target productivity in less time. If monitored properly daytime spent analysis can act as a key to productivity increment at an average.  

Outlet Time Spent

Quality time devoted to a target retail outlet is particularly important and enabling a VM to spend such time was a challenge till now. But thanks to technology nowadays which can measure time spent by a VM in retail outlets as well. This can enable management to prepare a list of tasks accordingly which will drive the behavior of a VM in an outlet inducing him to spend quality time in the retail outlet and checking the same on periodic intervals will ensure adherence of the same.

Deployment Grid Adherence

Deployment grid refers to the guideline on counting individual PoSM to be deployed in an outlet. It can differ basis outlet type/territory/region basis brand’s preference. Measurement of deployment grid adherence enables brands to check the actual consumption of PoSM in market which can ensure that right quantity of PoSM is deployed at right type of outlet. For instance, 2 danglers at a retails shop despite 8 as per guideline will not suffice the visibility terms.

PJP Adherence

Permanent journey plan or pre journey plan adherence helps managing the basis compliance of the VM execution at large scale. It should be measured meticulously to ensure that retail outlets are visited as per plan only.

Remarks in case of Non-Deployment

Field execution will always have issues in it and resolving the same within stipulated time is key for the improvement for the next phase of deployment. Thus, capturing reasons for the exceptional cases will enable the management to categorize the issues and take informed decisions which may lessen such issues in future. Few of such recurring cases and decisions are given mentioned below:

  • Outlet Found Close: Upcoming visit can be alternatively planned on any other day to save the loss of visit.
  • Outlet Not Allowed: Such cases can be taken up with management and stakeholders to sort out the issues.
  • Product Not Available: Such cases can be taken up with the SCM or the team concerned to ensure that related issues can be sorted out before the next visit.

In case you want to have a deep dive study and understanding on how all this works contact us for a VM Execution management approach and workflow, write to us.