Good Planning = A Good Display

A successful display is the result of good planning, organization and cooperation. The visual merchandiser must know in advance when and where a particular display should be created and what needs to be shown and promoted. For this, some sort of schedule or plan must be in place. (Although, keep in mind that every plan can be altered; flexibility is also important.)


  • The execution of a good display comes from knowing in advance what trends, colors and types of merchandise are scheduled for future displays.  It also requires good communication with the retailer, buyers, marketing or promotional person and even suppliers. Successful visual display stems from the knowledge of what product is available, what’s in stock and awareness of what’s happening in the local and global communities. All of these elements contribute to building the kinds of displays that sell merchandise.
  • A well-thought-out time schedule keeps displays and merchandise moving freely, in and out of windows and on tables and mannequins. These pre-determined time slots keep the store looking fresh, new and exciting and keep customers coming into the store repeatedly. The change of windows may be set for every ten days to two weeks, never go more than one month between window changes. Otherwise, your store will feel stale and your consumers will visit less frequently. The display schedule should be coordinated with merchants, buyers and marketing or promotional efforts to determine when new merchandising comes in and when seasonal, holiday and promotional sales events are scheduled. Your plan should have the flexibility to switch or change due to unexpected problems with merchandising delivery or happenings within the community or the world.
  • If there are only one or two display windows but you have several different classifications of products (for example: women’s apparel; men’s apparel; shoes; camping gear; paddling goods and so on), then the schedule should reflect where and when each classification of merchandise will be presented. This can be based on the selling period such as Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Holiday, Memorial Day, etc.  It can also be based on the expected arrival of new merchandise, such as winter outerwear or summer water sports gear.
  • In order to get the most out of your visual merchandising, a display calendar should be roughed out a year in advance based on the previous year’s experience. If there is no history you can start drafting a calendar per the example below.  Remember: planning ahead, coordinating the retail team’s efforts and implementing strong communication can go a long way. With these elements, your goal of creating effective visual merchandising is much more likely to be a success.

More on effective planning strategies next week.