Salon Visual Merchandising 101: 7 Elements of Retail Displays That Drive Sales

It’s no surprise that most stylists dislike “selling” retail. Love it or hate it, “selling” or retailing is critical to maintaining a profitable business, and when done right, merchandising alone could increase your retail revenue by 35%.  Not a bad increase for letting your display do the “selling” for you.

Not an artist or designer? No worries. Follow a few key elements outlined below, and your displays will look like you hired a pro.

Salon Display vs Fixture

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a well merchandised display and well merchandised retail fixture.

A fixture is meant to “house” the products that you carry in an organized manner, fully stocked, oriented from left to right then top to bottom with proper shelf talkers.

The purpose of a display is to highlight certain products by increasing their visibility. A display does not need to show all the items in a product line – focusing on three to five products makes a display less cluttered and more appealing to the eye. Displays should be engaging, changed out frequently, and strategically placed to guide the customer through the space, keeping their interest while they shop.

Key Elements of Visual Merchandising For Salons

1. What?

  • Determine what product or products are going to be featured. Displays can be centered around just one product, three, or five. Odd numbers are easier to work with and more enticing to the eye.

2. Why?

  • Know your purpose. What is the product promotion and what is the purpose of the display, specifically? Of course, your primary purpose is to sell more products, but make sure to integrate the display with the needs of your target customer. Start with determining who is your target customer and why would they want to make this purchase.

Don’t forget to educate your team on the details of the product and promotion. This ensures that your salon and staff are speaking the same language.

3. How Much?

  • Set a budget. It is important to set a budget for your display so that your extra profits aren’t spent paying for the display props. Spending a lot on creating a display does not always mean that you will profit more from its sales.

4. Where?

  • Placement is key. As a rule, when we walk into a room we tend to look and walk towards the right. If possible, this would be prime real estate for you to establish a “feature” display.

5. How?

  • Add props. Props are great tools for engaging your customers with your display. When using props, stick to an 80/20 ratio: 80% products, 20% props. Props of varying colors, heights, and texture make your display more interesting. Think about why the customer should want to purchase this item and go from there. For example: If your promotion involves products that provide protection from the sun, incorporating sunglasses, a beach towel, and a pair of flip flops appeals to your customers’ desire to take a vacation while reminding them to purchase products that protect their skin and hair. You may want to try several layouts until you’re happy with your results. Scents and music are also effective if they support your message. The more senses that can be integrated, the more powerful the display.

6. Share

  • Promote your message. Just as important as the display is sharing the message of what your promotion is. Just because you “build it” does not mean “they will come buy it”. This involves the use of proper signage of course. Signage should relay your message in a style suited to your display. Keep in mind the price point of your products and be sure you’re not using a flimsy hand-written sign to sell a $100 gift set.

Don’t forget to utilize social media to promote your message. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are perfect outlets for posting attractive images of your display. Be sure that your message is either expressed in the photo or explained in your posting.


7. Measure

  • Evaluate your strategy. Be sure to track the sales from your display to measure its success. Also, take into consideration other indicators that your display was a success like client comments, the amount of time clients spent interacting with the display, likes and shares on social media, etc.

TIP: Creating small displays in other areas of the salon like shampoo area, hallway, bathroom, or treatment rooms (if you have them) are also great reminders of a promotion you are having. Repeating your promotional message several times within your salon is more likely to be noticed and produce a sale.

Check out these “shelfies” from our #HolisticHairTribe for inspiration:

For a more detailed look into how Merchandising can help you grow your business, be sure to watch out for our upcoming online course: Secrets of Successful Salon & Spa Merchandising (Boost Your Retail Sales by 35%.)

Tracy Olson

About the Author

Tracy Olson

As the Simply Organic Education and Technical Department Manager, Tracy brings to us more than 25 years of experience in the salon industry. As a former salon owner and artistic director, Tracy has worked with salons, spas, schools, and health clubs in developing design solutions and strategies to help increase their retail sales. If you want to learn more how to bring organic, eco-friendly hair products to your salon, please contact us at 888-213-4744