5 Tips on Visual Merchandising

ANAHEIM, Calif. Taking his cue from the Rock Star Food theme of this year's Dairy-Deli-Bake Conference, International Dairy Deli Bakery Association President Mark Rudy listed five key elements of effective visual merchandising that will make food the real star of the store. Rudy, who is also vice president of marketing for The Hubert Co., described visual merchandising as shopping with the senses,

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Taking his cue from the “Rock Star Food” theme of this year's Dairy-Deli-Bake Conference, International Dairy Deli Bakery Association President Mark Rudy listed five key elements of effective visual merchandising that will make food the real star of the store.

Rudy, who is also vice president of marketing for The Hubert Co., described visual merchandising as “shopping with the senses,” an activity that turns “passive lookers into active, engaged buyers.”

His suggestions:

  • Communication: Great signage should attract, tell a story and even convey a bit of humor. In all cases, it should be clear and accurately describe the product.

  • Landscaping: This applies to the display and how it relates to the environment immediately around it. While symmetry is comforting to the eye, asymmetrical merchandising can cause the shopper to seek out details.

  • Texture: Boxes, metal, wood, burlap and other materials create contrast and anchor the product in the case, as long as the various materials don't clash or overwhelm the display.

  • Color: The food itself should always be the primary color. Bowls and other merchandising vessels should complement the color of the food being displayed.

  • Decor: Not to be confused itself with visual merchandising, decorative elements like flowers are most effective in a supporting role, while reflecting the larger shopping environment.

Rudy said the retailer's challenge is to make visual merchandising a part of all planning. The concept should be incorporated into all training. The best retailers appoint someone to manage displays, making them accountable for planning, execution and maintenance.

“Food is the star,” he said, likening the practice to the show's proximity to Hollywood. “But every star needs a stage.”