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6 Visual Merchandising Tactics to Increase Holiday Sales

Dec 01, 2021

A Christmas tree with gifts piled next to it

You may have heard restaurateurs describe the importance of making a dish look visually pleasing because diners “eat with their eyes first.” When it comes to making your product appealing enough for a customer to want to take it home, why wouldn’t the same adage apply? Spoiler alert: It does.

Visual merchandising — presenting products (and your store overall) in a way that makes them visually desirable — can be a valuable tactic for increasing sales. In fact, 93% of customers make purchase decisions depending on the visual appearance of a store.1 So during the holiday season, when shoppers are on the prowl for gifts for family and friends, utilizing purposeful visual merchandising can give a big boost to your sales and end-of-year profit margins.

If you’re searching for ways to prepare for the holiday shopping home stretch with visuals that will capture your customers’ attention, read on for some great merchandising tips.

Dress Up Your Windows with Stop-Them-in-Their Tracks Displays

When you think about it, we’re all customers who shop at stores, right? And at some point, we’ve most likely walked past stores with window displays facing out toward the sidewalk or mall interior. So think about a time you’ve walked past a store and noticed a product in a display. And that display sparked your interest enough for you to venture inside to see what else they had. Mission accomplished for that store!

Visual merchandising featuring engaging, stop-them-in-their-tracks displays can be a great tactic for capturing attention, drawing people in (figuratively and literally) and increasing the likelihood of customers shopping with you. So get creative, tell a story and promote your products in a store window or at the front door — right as shoppers enter — to entice foot traffic and corresponding sales.

Create Interactive, Sensory-Engaging In-Store Displays

Fun olfactory fact: Believe it or not, 75% of emotions are influenced by smell.1 So right now, take a moment to just imagine: What do you think of when you smell cinnamon, pumpkin or peppermint?

As a retailer, use all of that to your advantage to increase sales! Making holiday displays interactive and engaging your customers’ senses to tap into those happy emotions and memories of the season. The benefit of a brick-and-mortar store is that customers are able to see, touch — and yes, smell — products in real life. And since sensory merchandising makes customers pay even more attention to the products being promoted, it seems like a no-brainer to consider adding music, lighting and scents to further attract customers during the holidays.

Feature Strategically Placed Promotional Signage

Promotional signage is one of the best, most effective ways to feature your offerings and maximize your chances to grow that revenue. Think about it: You could have the best product on the market, the best discounts compared to your competitors, the best sale in town … but unless your audience knows about it, how are you going to grow your business and make a profit?

Yes, word of mouth works as well, but if someone is walking past your store (or inside your store walking past a product) and no one is around to tell them why they should stop and take notice, rely on signage to tell the story. Investing in in-store (and online) signage that promotes your products’ value as well as the advantages of your store is a smart move that will pay off in the long run.

That said, it’s important to use it wisely. Here are some pro tips to keep in mind:

●        Clearly communicate the messaging you want to convey. 

●        Strategically place signage where it is most likely to be seen: at the end of aisles, at the front of the store, at the point-of-sale.

●        Find the right balance for your space. Too little signage could get easily missed; too much can overwhelm your customers.

Offer Enticing Gift Bundles

The holiday shopper is a busy shopper. He or she is often under a time crunch to shop for a lot of gifts in a short amount of time, wanting to do the best job of checking off everyone on their list in the most efficient way possible. And though this year there may still be some hesitation to shop in store given the aftershocks of the pandemic, many people will still take this route. So as a retailer, you should be thinking of ways to make that in-store shopping experience as convenient as possible.

Here’s a thought: Offer gift bundles, packages or groupings! Collect and group products that complement or enhance each other, display in an easy-to-see location of your store, and even provide special deals for getting the group (versus each item individually). Can’t decide where to start? Try bundling things by persona (e.g., “for the chef” or “for the interior designer,” etc.). Or, you could group them by genres of style — catering to everyone, from those customers who like classic and timeless to those who see themselves as stylish trendsetters, and create bundles of products specific to them.

Virtual + Visual: Consider an Omnichannel Approach

As much as we’ve talked about the effectiveness of visual merchandising inside the store, it may not always be enough to drive a sale. This is especially true during the holidays when every store is vying for your customer’s attention.

Fortunately, there are so many more ways to get the word out that go beyond your four walls to reach your customers. An omnichannel approach — a fully integrated approach to commerce that provides shoppers a unified experience across channels (in store, online, email, social media, etc.) — can be a powerful tactic for increasing holiday sales.

Reinforcing a product’s benefits and features across other channels and touchpoints can keep your product top-of-mind with the customers you want to attract. At the same time, you can use these same channels to advertise promotional campaigns and the value of your brand even after the customer has left the store. Keeping connected in this way helps keep customers thinking about your brand and can increase the chance of them following through on a sale. This is especially important when it comes to larger products that customers take more time researching and making decisions about (like on furniture, appliances or computers).

Let Acima Help Seal the Deal

Of course, you have to keep your eyes on the prize. All of the visual merchandising strategies in the world aren’t going to be worth implementing if, ultimately, your team lacks the ability to close the sale. And trust us, we know that’s a challenge at times — especially during the holidays. As much as some consumers want to shop, finances for some of them can be tight as many try to stay on budget. 

Acima can help. With our lease-to-own* program, we make it easier for your customers to say “yes” to getting your merchandise and doing business with your store. Our fast applications, flexible lease renewal payment options and high rate of approvals mean you can grow your customer base and generate more sales. The best part: it costs our retail partners nothing!

Instead of turning cash-strapped, credit-constrained customers away this holiday season, give yourself a gift: Use Acima lease-to-own* and embrace the advantages Acima can bring you.


1. 8 Visual Merchandising Insights to Amp Up Your Retail Store” – Digital Polo, April 12, 2019