Key Elements of Retail Displays

A retailer must carefully consider and plan each element of retail displays. Display elements include the merchandise, shelf display areas or window displays, props, colors, background materials, lighting and signs. The retailer is to compare contrast, repetition, motion, harmony, balance, rhythm and proportion of each display to draw the consumer’s attention to it.

Display elements must be evaluated to determine how well and if they attract and hold the attention of the passersby. “Contrast” is one way to attract attention. Contrast is achieved by using different colors, lighting, form i.e., size and shape, lettering or textures. “Repetition” attracts consumer attention by duplicating an object to reinforce and strengthen the impression. For instance, by displaying 20 tennis rackets, the image is created of a store with a wide assortment of merchandise in that category. “Physical motion” is a powerful attention getter, as is dominance. If an item is much larger than other items in display, it will be the dominant item and will draw attention to the entire display. After getting attention and harnessing it, the attention is to be directed to the intended message where harmony and frequency are used to attain it. “Harmony” stands for the unification of merchandise, lighting, props, shelf space and show cards to create a pleasing effect. “Balance“, emphasis, rhythm and proportion work to focus attention on the central point. Balance is of two types, Formal and informal. Formal balance display in which one side is duplicated by the other tend to produce feelings of dignity, neatness and order. Informal balanced displays are one in which one side does not exactly match the other tend to generate excitement and are less stuffy. “Rhythm” refers to the eyes path after initial contact with the display. The objective is to hold the eye until the entire display is seen. “Proportion” concerns the relative sizes of the display’s various objects. Attention can be directed to the desired focal point by arranging items in a graduated pattern from the small to the large. The proportion concept also involves the positioning of objects in patterns. Popular display patterns include pyramid, steps, zigzags, repetition and mass. The image of height and formality is created with pyramids, while the zigzag is a popular method of displaying clothing to create an aura of excitement. Repetition arrangements are used basically in shelf merchandising situations. Merchandise placed equidistant from one another in a straight, horizontal line. The mass arrangement is the placement of a large quantity of merchandise in either neatly stacked lines or in jumbled dump bins to convey the image of a sale item. These minute aspects go a long way in creating needed effect. 

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