Theme Park Retail: 14 Challenges in Visual Merchandising


Like in every business: Time and Money are key in Visual Merchandising. And these elements are rare especially Time in peak periods or staff budget in low season to actually improve your store standards. During low season you are often busy with calculations, staff or tasks which are not finished during the peak season. Or simply you now have the chance to use your overtime and take some days off. Below I will describe the major challenges (I faced at different job roles) in Visual Merchandising in a fast moving environment with tide budgets and where time plays a significant role. These are common situations and hopefully will help you think of the standards in your own commercial area.

  1. Store standards:

    • Signage: although marketing has widely communicated what colors and fonts you need to use. You still have your shop full of different templates (some signage is plasticized which decreases the quality of you store). Of these templates some are discolored, not up to date or even broken.
    • Pricing: despite the clear pricing strategy in place there are still products not rounded or different color of price tags are being used. Although you want to price every single product I will still find products without a price. When I pick up a product which is changed in price I still can see the old price (which was cheaper!).
    • Promotions: you have set up great promotions, theoretically,  however there is no change in sales volume. When I walk through your shop I can’t find any signage other than the ones stacked to the slat wall behind the products. When I ask the staff member showing me around what kind of promotions we have in your store he needs to ask his colleague.
    • Hygiene: your store is part of a premium brand aiming to offer guests the time of their life however when I walk through your store I see dust on the shelves, spider webs near the broken light bulb, chewing gum on the floor and some parts of the floor seems to be sticky due to slush?
    • Equipment: Did I already mentioned that the company was aiming to be the best of the best? Why do I find crooked hooks displaying products?
  2. Store planning:

    • Hot spots: these will increase your sales if you know what your hot spots are! You think that the first wall guests do see is a hot spot? Wrong! Most of the time guests are still in a different mode and it takes time to change to the shopping mood. The entrance of the shop is more being used as a welcome area. From that point guests will choose where to go (with the first products already behind them).
    • Routing: from this point clear walkways must be in use to force the guests to see as much products as possible which will increase the chance to sell.
    • Fixture placements: we all like spinners because these fixtures are increasing the amount of products we can display. We also like spinners because we can use these to create a certain routing. However I don’t like the cheaper spinners suppliers will offer us because they will decrease the shopping experience (not saying that you don’t want have spinners in your shop, but limit and theme them as much as possible).
    • Zoning: Do you create overview for your guests to place homeware between toys and plush? And why do you hang those bubble wands at top level, where obviously no kid can grab them. Is it just for the time being..? Because products are out of stock? Why do you have stock issues?
    • Lighting: we are displaying products because we want to sell these products. So why do I still see dark corners in your shop? Or why do I see 3 light bulbs illuminating the same product?
  3. Product displaying:

    • Use of walls: your store is located in a great area, you can sell great products, you have a realistic budget (compared to buddy stores) but your shop is not performing as expected. When I walk into your store all I see is blue slatwall with hooks and some products. Why don’t you use the complete wall? 50% of the stock in your stock room can actually be placed in the store. No need to focus on space planning, first use the complete space and then we can move forward. We all know products in the stock room are not selling and a risk!
    • Display focus: there are several types of creating a great display: vertical, horizontal, balancing etc. So why do you only focus on 1 technic? Why would you create symmetry if all products can be seen when you are standing in front? Bulk blocking is a good way to increase sales on certain products but you don’t want have a mass presentation in the complete shop.
    • Target group: you know when school groups are coming and you know when the tourists are coming. Great! These target groups are interested in totally different products. Why don’t you take advantage of this knowledge highlighting pocket money items or trendy products for school groups and do the same with souvenirs when tourist are visiting?
    • Replenishment: this is the most common challenge! Replenish your store every day multiple times as a half replenished store will have negative impact on your sales. Why do I walk in a store and some best sellers are not available? After asking the best sellers are being replenished. Of course it is most likely your best selling products need to be replenished. Some store I observed and analyzed were losing 15% due availability of best sellers in the shop (but actually had it on stock!).

The above situations seem very basic and they are but believe me: the most basic elements will be forgotten during peak season! Which is now! Click here to see Visuals….

How is your commercial area performing? Can you tick all the boxes of the key elements in Retail?

Leave a Reply