Breathe new life into your retail space!

Expert Visual Merchandiser

karen Kritzer



Spring: the start of a new, fresh season. A clean slate and the stage is set for new intentions, goals and resolutions. Within a retail environment staying ahead of the day-to-day tasks can be challenging enough, and not to mention at times overwhelming. This year, take small steps and return to a “back to basics approach” to obtain results.


A simple exercise is to conduct a “store tour”.

With a set of fresh eyes, (and an openness to being slightly critical), take some time to enter your retail store and travel through the path like a customer would.


While conducting the tour, focus on these 5 key items. Click on a subject that interests you to begin!

The great part about having display windows, whether they are large or small, is that they can be used in numerous ways to impact a target audience. Are you using these elements in the best possible way? Of course windows can be used as key selling tools to promote events, and showcase merchandise, but using them to reinforce the brand, to entertain, and to shock and surprise potential guests can be refreshing. When used correctly these forms of media can get people talking, and if you feel it is time to step up your display window game, there are always plenty of talented merchandisers and fabricators in the industry just waiting for a space to bring to life!

When you enter the store how do customers travel around the space? Are there proper, obvious aisles? Does the customer feel crowded and closed in? Layouts can be a sure way to move the customer around the space, and that space can be manipulated. Maybe a clean straight grid line layout works in the space, or perhaps a free flowing organic layout that allows guests to wander is more suited to your brand. Trending now are layouts that may even change from month to month, allowing customers to experience a new feeling and overall environment which can complement the merchandise assortment or a seasonal change. Often times your layout can be changed and does not need to be carved in stone. If possible mix it up!

Focus on how the customer is coming into contact with the products and how they actually meet the merchandise. Sometimes what we think the customer will notice first can be different in terms of what they actually experience. Today’s trend is moving to a “less is more” attitude. This framework allows for air around products. It allows customers' eyes to have a rest and it can be refreshing from the busy chaos of the day to day. Curating themes and specific stories when buying from suppliers can offer customers ease of shopping, as complete looks have already been styled for them. Not only does this concept look visually appealing but it makes the customer happy.

Popular in today’s market is the sentiment that now “the store has become the stage”. While this is true, not every small retailer has a big budget to bring their ideas to life and attract customers. Champagne bars, coffee shops, and photobooths can all come with a price tag. But adapting this idea can shake up the store’s day to day feel and every once in a while it could be beneficial to plan a simple product launch, or invite a guest influencer. The sure way to highlight the store experience is to drive home top notch customer service. Sales associates can always be reminded to offer advice, insight, and to go the extra mile with personal service and customization to make the customer feel part of the brand. Sales associates are some of the most important influencers that a brand can have!

It is important to think about four key items: content, themes, features, and interaction. Think of your Instagram feed the same way you would think of a traditional paper flyer that you would receive in the mail. Are the images and products that are visible online matching what the customer will find in store? If something is on sale is it clearly identified in store? Engaging audiences online is an important part of making customers feel part of your brand. Asking questions, receiving feedback and allowing them to vote can cultivate brand loyalty.


Keeping these topics in mind, and allowing yourself to take a step back and look at your retail store in detail may just be the key to the start of a successful season!