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In the Trenches: Is what consumers see what they get?

There are two key elements that connect a customer with fruits and vegetables in the produce department — the eyes and the stomach.

Through experimentation, a psychologist once revealed that 83 percent of information is captured from sight. Whatever the eyes observe is fixed in the memory of a person’s brain. So, if a customer sees an eye-catching produce department it may attract them to it by sight alone.Broccoli-is-the-focal-point-of-the-visual-merchandising-connection

Just before entering a produce department, customers see everything from a distance. From that point, all the colorful items appear fresh and inviting. But how will shoppers react if they find those same items are not as fresh as appeared from that faraway view?

Much of the presentation and appearance that takes place in the produce department is visual merchandising connection. It’s simply catching the customers’ attention and drawing them over to a display’s focal point to make purchases. They enter, observe, become captivated, connect and are beckoned over to a particular section or display.

The visual merchandising connection is the produce department’s silent communication system. It reaches out to the customers’ eyes sending them a colorful and attractive presentation. That visual imagery becomes a mental appetite of hunger and taste, which hopefully triggers a desire to buy the product.

Observing produce from a distance is one thing. Getting close and picking it up determines whether to make a purchase or not. Anything can look fresh and wholesome from afar, but touching it will reveal its true identity. Seeing and connecting to it opens the door. But if the product is old and wilted, the door immediately slams shut. The positive, colorful mental image suddenly explodes into a grayish negative.

There are signature hot sections throughout the produce department. Many of them are the visual merchandising connectors. The first to be observed is often located in the store lobby as customers enter. The primary attraction is at the entrance area of the produce department. This location must act quickly in capturing the eyes of shoppers in making an immediate connection. It’s all about the display visual that sells the product and grabs that sale even before the customer gets into the produce department.

Here are the main components of a visual merchandising connection:

  • Color — Fruits and vegetables certainly have the chromatic intensity in drawing eyes to it. Use the various contrasts to send a picture of art to shoppers. Red, orange and yellow are “catch colors.”
  • Focal point — Design your signature hot sections in a way that the customers’ eyes are focusing on a specific location. An example is a colorful dramatic pepper display.
  • Decor — Accessories such as designer baskets, crates and barrels are used to create a visual merchandising draw. It adds creative artistry to the display and turns it into an attention grabber.
  • Simplicity — If the visual hot section is a free standing display or a table endcap, prevent clutter all around it. Overcrowded displays can confuse the main focal point of the customer. Additional items can be tied in, but not to the extent that it turns the eyes away from the center of the visual connection.

Visual merchandising is a psychology. Your main objective is always to get shoppers to connect with specific items on display. Zero in on specific signature hot sections and lure the eyes directly over to the central focal point. Once a customer is captivated and drawn to those displays, make absolutely sure the product is fresh, in top condition, and of superior quality.

Remember, what customers see in your produce department is what they will get.