One of the best things you can do to beat the competition and gain the attention of shoppers is understand merchandising. In today’s blog, we are going to guide you through a merchandising technique called colour block merchandising and how you can use it in your displays to stand out from your competitors and ultimately give your customers a memorable experience.
What is colour blocking?
Colour blocking is the use of colour to support merchandising of products. It is an effective weapon which visual merchandisers can use to improve the way products are displayed. Here are the basics before you move to implementing colour blocking:
1. Colour wheels
A colour wheel is used to show the relationship between different colours based on three primary colours - red, blue and yellow. Primary colours create secondary colours when mixed which go on to create tertiary colours when mixed with primary colours, creating a six and twelve colour wheel respectively. It’s important to remember colour harmony when choosing colours.
2. Left to right, bottom to top
Colour, just like the weather, is seasonal. For example in winter, people prefer darker colours whereas in summer or spring people prefer lighter colours. When colour blocking it’s important to consider the season – placing products from left to right from darkest to lightest during winter and the reverse during summer. Most of your customers read from left to right, making this placement feel more natural. As for bottom to top, seasons do not have an effect allowing for darker items to be placed at the bottom and lighter colours at the top.
3. Colour affects mood
In the competitive retail space, customers won’t necessarily buy from you because you have great products, reasonable prices or meet their needs. Emotional connections are becoming a requirement too. Luckily, colour not only affects mood but has a direct psychological impact on shopping behaviour. Colour sets the tone for a customer’s experience, attracting their attention and inspiring different feelings (i.e. blue/green for calm and warm colours for excitement). Use colours to your advantage and emotionally connect with customers.
Why you should be colour blocking
When you walk into a mall, what do you experience? Every store you come across is fighting for your attention. Like most shoppers, odds are you stopped at stores with displays which appealed to you. These stores are practising visual merchandising by using attractive storefront displays. Believe it or not, the colour of the display had an impact on your choice to go in-store as well. Here are some benefits to making sure colour is a key element of visual merchandising:
1. Get customers to browse
Organising your products by colour in-store has proven effective in encouraging customers to look through more stock - causing them to notice and purchase products which would otherwise be ignored. Take duvet covers for instance – when organised by colour it can transform from a rather boring product into an attractive display customers can’t resist. Colour blocked displays also look well organised which gives the impression that your products are fresh and your store is upmarket.
2. Operate with flexibility
A common problem for retailers when placing product in-store is figuring out how to display several different colours together, especially when there is stock left over from a promotion or sale. In this case categorising products in the traditional sense will not work because it creates chaotic displays which can overwhelm customers. There are alternatives, however, and colour blocking has proven to be effective in solving this issue.
For example, your store has had a massive holiday sale, and you have 10% of the product you expected to move, still sitting on the shelves – most of which is red and green in colour. By selecting a theme and colour blocking past merchandise with new inventory you can effectively maintain an attractive layout, move more merchandise and give customers a great shopping experience. In the end, store operations are easier to maintain, and you remain flexible, no matter what stock you have.
How to get started with colour blocking
Customers expect retailers to be creative with their displays, understand what’s trending, use various themes and create engaging experiences with their merchandise. It may seem overwhelming at first, but follow these steps, and you will be well on your way to colour blocking mastery:
Choose a theme
The first and most important step of implementing a colour blocking strategy is selecting a story or theme. What season is it? Remember colours are seasonal and affect mood. Look at nearby events and holidays to come up with ideas for themes. For example, if you’re updating your display for Valentine’s Day: reds, pinks, and whites should be your primary colours.
Just as traffic flow indicates how customers physically move throughout your store, colour flow has a direct impact on why your customers moved throughout the store in a particular way. Based on your theme and according to the season, colours should be placed from left to right and bottom to top – with darker colours being on the left, getting lighter as you move right and darker colours on the bottom, lighter colours on top.
We live in a world where everything and everyone is competing for the attention of consumers. For decades the only competitor's retailers had to be concerned with was each other, but with the transition into a digital age, their newest and toughest opponent is a 5-inch screen in the hands of almost every consumer. To win the competition for attention, retailers will have to stand out in some way.
If you are interested in including colour blocking into category management try out our complimentary (free) 30 day trial of our leading space planning software. During the obligation free trial, you will get access to our team, training videos and expert advice from our account advisory team.