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Visual Merchandising In Apparel Industry

5113 words (20 pages) Essay in Marketing

21/04/17 Marketing Reference this

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Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. This includes combining products, environments, and spaces into a stimulating and engaging display to encourage the sale of a product or service. Visual merchandising starts with the store building itself. The management then decides on the store design to reflect the products the store is going to sell and how to create a warm, friendly, and approachable atmosphere for its potential customers.

Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays, including colour, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs such as smell, touch, and sound as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations. The main principle of visual merchandising is that it is intended to increase sales. Visual merchandising is one of the final stages in trying to set out a store in a way that customers will find attractive and appealing and it should follow and reflect the principles that underpin the store’s image. Visual merchandising is the way one displays ‘goods for sale’ in the most attractive manner with the end purpose of making a sale. “If it does not sell, it is not visual merchandising.” Especially in today’s challenging economy, people may avoid designers/ visual merchandisers because they fear unmanageable costs. But in reality, visual merchandisers can help economize by avoiding costly mistakes there by saving time and money. It is important to understand that the visual merchandiser is there, not to impose ideas, but to help clients articulate their own personal style. Visual merchandising is the art of implementing effective design ideas to increase store traffic and sales volume. VM is an art and science of displaying merchandise to enable maximum sale. VM is a tool to achieve sales and targets, a tool to enhance merchandise on the floor, and a mechanism to communicate to a customer and influence his decision to buy. VM uses season based displays to introduce new arrivals to customers, and thus increase conversions through a planned and systematic approach by displaying stocks available. Recently visual merchandising has gained in importance as a quick and cost effective way to revamp retail stores.

Apparel Industry

The influence of fashion clearly, fashion has also played an important role in shaping apparel consumerism. As lifestyles change, fashion in India is becoming more stratified, as in the West. Technology, ideas and lifestyles are moving concurrently, and quickly. Companies and brands that offered monotonous, mundane products for years have now tripled their product ranges and new appealing shapes and forms are being launched each season.

Top-notch fashion professionals came together four years ago to form the Fashion Design Council of India. Under the aegis of the Union textile ministry and in tandem with National Institute of Fashion Technology, FDCI now provides professional inputs for designing labels and is now working towards developing the fashion supply chain through backward linkages with suppliers and mills, and forward linkages with the retail and distribution network.

The boom in domestic apparel, nevertheless, tells only part of the story. India has huge potential as a market for foreign clothing, given its large population and growing household incomes. A few significant foreign players-such as Levi Strauss, Benetton and Lacoste-have been selling their branded apparel in India for a number of years. But now, just like their Indian counterparts, global apparel brands are setting up their own apparel outlets, instead of just selling through departmental stores. Ralph Lauren, for example, has a limited range exhibited in generic department stores located in metro cities. Yet it has now set up its own stand-alone stores, which showcase all the company’s brands.

Now, with the government’s proposal to let in branded retail players- brands like Benetton and Lacoste currently sell mostly through the franchise route-investments in India’s apparel sector are likely to go up substantially.

Indian Apparel Industry- an Overview:

The apparel industry is one of India’s largest foreign exchange earners, accounting for nearly 16% of the country’s total exports. The 1996 Indian textile exports approximately amounted to Rs.35,000 crores of which apparel occupied over Rs14,000 crores.


It has been estimated that India has approximately 30,000 readymade garment manufacturing units and around three million people are working in the industry. Today not only is the garment export business growing, enthusiasm in the minds of the foreign buyers is also at a high. Today many leading fashion labels are being associated with Indian products. India is increasingly being looked upon as a major supplier of high quality fashion apparels and Indian apparels have come to be appreciated in major markets internationally. The credit for this goes to our exporter community.

Consistent efforts towards extensive market coverage, improving technical capabilities and putting together an attractive and wide merchandise line has paid rich dividends. But till today, our clothing industry is dominated by sub-contractors and consists mainly of small units of 50 to 60 machines.

India’s supply base is medium quality, relatively high fashion, but small volume business.

Recent recession in Europe and the South Asian currency crisis have also contributed their own bits to the decimating Indian exports. Though these are expected to fizzle out soon, there is no reason for complacency on the part of Indian exporters or of the garment industry. The industry will be soon faced with open competition shorn of quotas or tariffs. Thus the need of the hour is to enlarge both manufacturing as well as the marketing base. Inculcation of a spirit of innovation by way of research and development and tapping new markets especially in South Africa, Central Africa, CIS, East European countries, Latin America and Australia is also mandatory for export growth.

In India, clothing retail accounts for 36% of organized retail business. It is the largest sector. Ready-made apparel accounted for an estimated 20% of domestic clothing sales in 2005. With growing working women wearing western wear to work, and pressed for time, market for good readymade clothes is likely to grow. India is a film-crazy nation, and the largest producer of films, with more than 1,000 every year. They provide entertainment and an escape from reality for India’s masses, and set the popular fashion trend. Bollywood fashions have become pan Indian. They affect various sectors of the market including clothing, footwear, weddings and fashion accessories. With the advent of modern format retailers and the growth of plastic cards, affluent urban Indian women are shopping like never before. Source:

They spend mornings browsing in stores looking for deals or latest styles. There are designer clothes that incorporate Indian motifs, ethnic fabrics and are a fusion of western and Indian styles. In the large urban centers, apparel retailers, like Shoppers Stop, Westside and Pantaloon

have popularized their private labels, which have attracted urban shoppers. Westside carries only its own private labels, while for the other stores, 20-30% of their apparel turnover is from private labels. Customers have loyalty to a store rather than any particular garment brand. This has led to a thriving unbranded or local brand market for ready-to-wear clothes leading to severe competition. Hence organized retailers like Lifestyle, for instance, has a loyalty programme called `The Inner Circle’, while Pantaloons offers a `Green Card’ Rewards programmes, Westside has `Club West’ to Woo the customers. Customers look to design and fit of the clothes, and use the shop’s name as a quality standard.

About the Companies:

Allen Solly

Allen Solly was founded in 1744 by a company called William Hollin and Co Ltd. The brand was purchased some time in the 90’s by a new company called Madura Garments which was a part of Madura Coats. Madura Coats was a big producer of threads.

The Vision Of Allen Solly :

The company aimed to emerge as a brand which was totally new and did not stick to conventions. “Friday Dressing” was introduced to give the company a stronghold. Initially the Indian markets was not open to experimental apparel for men. Friday dressing by Allen Solly gave Indian corporates an oppurtunity to transform their wardrobes. The new formal wear was relaxed and not boring. The Aditya Birla Group took over Allen Solly in 2001 .

Allen Solly brings together people from different walks of life and unites them in the matters of style and attitude. The innovative garments of Allen Solly give people an identity in the work place, while chilling out.



Max, a part of Landmark Group, is a fashion and footwear retailer in the Value segment. Max retails its own label clothing for men, women and children, as well as footwear and house ware. Max is opening around 100 stores across India, is a division of Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd., which is a part of US $ 1 billion Landmark Group. Landmarkgroup is one of the largest retailers in the Middle East with over 500 stores across 8 countries, directly employing 10,000 people. We have already opened stores in Indore, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi-Rajouri Garden, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Mumbai Noida and Delhi – Laxminagar. A good shopping experience and a great value at Max translate into making customers ‘Look good and Feel good’ to the maximum



Kazo is a young international brand that has made its way into the centre of the fashion industry within a short span of time. Kazo launched its first showroom in Delhi on 07th july, 2007 under the directorship of Mr. Deepak Aggarwal. The idea of Kazo came into being with the aim of amalgamating international trends and fashion at a value that would be affordable for the woman of today.

The garments designed are phenomenally fashionable with a high wear ability and practicality quotient.

The main asset of the collections is that it is highly affordable which enables customers an access to the latest designer wear, giving a chance to every woman to feel great in her skin, right to her soul.



The bizarre label was first introduced in 1987, to fulfill self-expression. They entered this new age with a change in recent years and a person so assertive, they all have set the women’s sights glouriously higher. With the buzz of a new girl on the block.



Launched in January 1998, Globus is a part of the Rajan Raheja group. The company opened its first store in 1999 at Indore followed by the launch of its second store in Chennai (T-Nagar).

The Globus has a Privilege Club card which is very unique in a way that Members are immediately rewarded for purchases at any of their stores, in addition to a host of other privileges such as exclusive tie ups, promotion and special shopping hours. To each his own individual needs vary. This is why Globus offers 2 different card categories, each with it own benefits designed to suit the needs of the customers.



This Company was incorporated on October 12, 1987 as Manz Wear Private Limited. The Company was converted into a public limited company on September 20, 1991 and on September 25, 1992 the name was changed to Pantaloon Fashions (India) Limited and in the same year the Company made an initial public offering. Later they changed their name to Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited on July 7 1999.

Pantaloons believes in managing customer expectation by offering them all the requirements for their entire family under one roof is the key to being a successful retailer, and hence have built their business model around ‘Family focus’ rather than ‘individual focus’.

Pantaloons clearly define Lifestyle products under Private Labels and third party brands.

They have a loyalty card programme with a name of ‘Green Card’. It is divided hierarchically into one star, three star and five star. Every point generated at all the levels is equivalent to Rs.1

It also stays in touch with its loyal customers through Mailers, SMS’s E-mails and Telephone informing them about the developments and promotions.

Source: 1) india-consumer-full-report



Gaynor Lea-Greenwood, (1998) in his paper “Visual merchandising: a neglected area in UK fashion marketing?” outlines recent research which demonstrates that the re-naming of display as visual merchandising has led to centralization and professionalism of the function. Centralization of visual merchandising has given the function a strategic profile which has to date been neglected within the literature. The move towards centralization and therefore increased professionalization and sophistication of the creative process is discussed and includes the following benefits outlined by the respondents: (1) communicating a cohesive brand image; (2) differentiating the offer from the competition; (3) integrating promotional effort across the brand; (4) increasing availability of technology to facilitate the process. The paper concludes with future research avenues and recommendations.

The article in Fibre to fashion on The art of visual merchandising talks about Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. It sets the context of the merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, presenting them in a way that would convert the window shoppers into prospects and ultimately buyers of the product. A creative and talented retailer can use this upcoming art to breathe in new life into his store products. Passion for design and creativity are essential to be a good visual merchandiser. A perfect design process and the ability to create ideas that are different are required. Awareness of happenings in fashion world is needed so as to keep up-to-date with the dynamics of the market constantly.

Components of Visual Merchandising:

Make merchandise the focal point

Right choice of colours is vital

Display themes to appropriately support the product

Thus visual merchandising is all about how to attract the customer to buy merchandise.

Jerry Gelsomino in his article on Basic Tips for Better Visual Merchandising states that Great store presentation and product merchandising is like a good book. It’s got an alluring cover to entice, an interesting first chapter to tell the reader they’ve made the right choice, and a satisfying conclusion to get the audience to want more. The tools used to achieve these attributes are based on creating the most satisfying experience for the shopper, turning browsers into buyers. Storefront Identity and First Impressions – the entrance reflects the personality of the store and gives a glimpse of the merchandise available inside. Design a distinctive store logo that communicates your mission. The way merchandise is displayed in show windows also has a lot to do with enticing the guests into the store. Whether you have a store in the mall or on the street, the customer has only a few seconds to view and be attracted by your displays. Your visual philosophy should replicate a billboard: make it bold, colorful, and simple. Store Layout – In developing an effective store design, a most critical element is how the store is organized for a logical unfolding or discovery of merchandise by the browser. Is your store easy to shop?

In this article on The importance of Visual Merchandising posted in Financial Express (2 November, 2002) it talks about the importance of VM in stores. It majorly focuses on aspects like:







Odour etc.

Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. This includes combining products, environments, and spaces into a stimulating and engaging display to encourage the sale of a product or service. It has become such an important element in retailing that a team effort involving the senior management, architects, merchandising managers, buyers, the visual merchandising director, designers, and staff is needed. This information on VM also contains:



Window Display

Merchandising etc.

Bill Gerba (19 October, 2006) In his article on Five visual merchandising tips for your in-store network the author explains Merchandising, as commonly used in marketing, means the promotion of merchandise sales, as by coordinating production and marketing and developing advertising, display, and sales strategies to increase retail sales. This includes disciplines in pricing and discounting, physical presentation of products and displays, and the decisions about which products should be presented to which customers at what time.

Five tips:

Don’t bother force-feeding your network name to consumers:

Do promote your host retailer’s brand and core values:

Do work closely with the retailer’s store marketing department

Do use your displays to complement the retailer’s other marketing strategies

Do make your content valuable to shoppers

This article on Retailing (2006) talks about the attitudinal shift of the Indian consumer in terms of “Choice Preference”, “Value for Money” and the emergence of organised retail formats have transformed the face of Retailing in India. With a growth over 20 percent per annum over the last 5 years, organised retailing is projected to reach US$ 23 Billion by 2010.The Indian retail industry though predominantly fragmented through the owner -run ” Mom and Pop outlets” has been witnessing the emergence of a few medium sized Indian Retail chains, namely Pantaloon Retail, RPG Retail, Shoppers Stop, Westside (Tata Group) and Lifestyle International. Given the attractiveness of the Indian retail sector, foreign retailers like Wal-Mart, Carrefour SA, Europe’s largest retailer and Tesco Plc, the UK’s largest retailer, were keen to enter this growing market, despite the Indian retail sector being closed to foreign direct investment (FDI).

Himanshu Vaidya in her report on Visual Merchandising – Concept and Concern talks about various aspects in VM and their importance Also the points where attention needs to be given.

Some of the areas discussed are:

Aim of VM

Effect of VM

Merchandise Seasons-Plans and schedules

Life expectancy of Visual Displays

Types of Visual Merchandise Displays

VM problem in India etc.

Preeta H Vyas in his IIMA journal (2 November, 2007) on Sales Promotion Practices in Apparel Retail Sector and Challenges Ahead, clearly explains that Indian organised retail industry is poised for growth. Apparel sector in particular has a great opportunity with alignment of Indian economy to globalised markets. With the widespread use of sales promotions- short term activities which provide material inducements to consumers and trade it becomes imperative for managers to understand such practices and understand challenges. This study investigates sales promotion activities of six apparel stores in Ahmedabad market and compares them on various dimensions. It presents major findings and provides insights on consumer behaviour.

Ulla Harrison, Sebastien Retaillieux,, Laurence Hugon &Ellen Verburg in their article on Visual Merchandising: Seeing is Buying (2008), talks about the various modes of visual display in apparel sector, it also gives a basic idea regarding:

Window Display

Entrance of a store

Props and its use

Types of displaying the merchandise:

By family

By colour

By Product group etc.

Zilka, Carlain their article on Dressing Down The Business Model; The apparel industry has been hard hit during the recession, and the industry’s cost-cutting measures may be out of fashion(17 April, 2009), they state in detail the condition of the apparel sector and the exhausted strategies of cost cutting measures used by them and suggests new measures as well. This article answers the question as to how can companies truly understand their organization’s “health,” especially when visible symptoms may or may not be obvious.

Global Luxury Apparel Retailers Eyeing Indian Markets, (Edit Article | 13 Jan, 2010) mostly talks about the situation of the apparel sector and regarding the International Majors that are in talks With Indian players to target aspirational but Value-Conscious Consumers. Especially regarding Shoppers stop and how they are planning to bring in more foreign brands.

This research paper posted by an anonymous person on Research Paper on Retail Industry (21 May, 2010), provides a detailed research on the organized retail sector of India. A brief introduction and evolution shows how the organized retailing changed its gears over the period from Panwala dhukan to chain stores across the length and breadth of India. The market size and related details gives a statistical view of increasing market in a few major areas of retailing. The major market players who enlivened the present caricature of retail sector are presented briefly along with statistics. The changing scenarios of Indian consumers give a proof to the potential opportunity in the retailing arena. SWOT analysis of retail industry and its future prospects. Major lifesaver of the Indian retailing is the advertising and promotional strategies and Visual Display; which comes out with innovative ways to win consumers over and keep them permanently happy.

Gupta and Swati, (23 July, 2010) in their wonderful article on Deviant Displays – New Trend in Window Fashion speak about the new trend that has started, where the deviant window displays are created to look creepy to grab attention. the article gives detailed information on what, how, when and Do’s and Don’ts of deviant display.

Hemanth Y. In his paper on Reshaping the Apparel Business, focuses briefly on the recent trends which are followed in Apparel retailing. Retail business in India has transformed from traditional mom and pop stores to big retail chains. We can witness the fact in this article what factors are going to bring about a change in the retail sector with special reference to Apparels. The paper gives a thought towards new trends followed in Apparel Retailing.

Tappal Babu in his paper on Visual Merchandising states that Visual merchandising is a comparatively new career field in which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandisers main area of work is to create impossible window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, euphoria etc. They are also engaged as shop floor mangers. They can also do freelancing on contract basis for windows displays in exhibitions, fares, and other places. Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor, fashion retailer, export manger etc. This paper discusses importance and potential for visual merchandising professionals.


To study the effectiveness of Visual Merchandising in Apparel Industry


To study the visual Merchandising of the stores covered under my research. (Max, Globus, Pantaloons, Allen Solly, Bizarre and Kazo.)

To analyse the efforts put in by the stores in Visual Merchandising.

To check the effectiveness of their current visual merchandising on the customers.

To propose a new or modified Visual Merchandising for the store that has least effect of VM over its customers.


3.1 Research design

Research Design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the marketing research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to solve the marketing research problems.

Research Design can be classified into 2 major categories:

Exploratory : The objective of this research is to explore or search through a problem or situation to provide insights and understanding.

Conclusive: The objective of this research is to test specific hypothesis and examine specific relationships.

A conclusive research is further sub-categorized into:

Descriptive: The objective is to describe something-usually market characteristics or functions.

Causal: The objective is to obtain evidence of cause – and – effect relationship.

In this research of apparel industry, including Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly, I adopted a Conclusive research as I was working on a specific hypothesis and was examining the validity of that hypothesis.

Within the conclusive research I have selected Descriptive research as I am trying to determine the effectiveness of Visual Merchandising in apparel industry (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly).

A Descriptive research requires a clear specification of the six W’s. So the specification of Six W’s in case for my research are:

Who: Who should be considered as the patron for the research?

Any one who is a customer of all or any of the stores considered in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly).

What: What information should be obtained from the respondents?

Information related to Customer’s feeling or view towards the display of all or any of the stores considered in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly).

Information about changes required in the Visual display of all or any of the stores considered in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly)..

When: When should the information be obtained from the respondents?

After they have shopped from the stores.

When customer is free and fills the questionnaire mailed to them.

Where: Where should the respondents be contacted to obtain the required information?

Outside the stores

Online through mail.

Outside the stores if they are not busy for a while.

Why: Why are we obtaining the information from the respondents?

To decide as to whether the visual merchandising of all or any of the stores considered in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly) is effective or not.

Way: In which way are we going to obtain the information from the respondents?

Direct survey through questionnaires.

3.2 Source of information

In case of this research though I have gone through the few articles published on all or any of the stores in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly). I have not considered those information, my source of information for this research is Primary data collected through questionnaires.

3.3 Sample size

In my research I have used the Statistical Approach to determine the sample size and in it I have used Sample size determination through proportions. I have considered this approach because I am interested in estimating the effectiveness of visual merchandising in the apparel industry. In my research:

Confidence Level (CL) wanted is 95%

Level of Precision required (S) is ±0.02 so s= 0.02

Thus : Formula for n – sample size is

Zóp = s :

Zóp = 0.02

The Z value associated with 95% CL is 1.96

So Z= ± 1.96,

1.96óp = 0.02

Now óp = √pq/n, So 1.96√pq/n = 0.02, √pq/n = 0.02/1.96. √pq/n = 0.0102

By squaring on both sides we get: Pq/n= 0.0001

Hence pq = n x 0.0001, Thus n = pq/ 0.0001

Now we assume the parameter p, though ideal is 0.5 we considered p as 0.0168

And q = 1-p thus q = 1- .0168= 0.9832

Replacing p and q we get: n = (0.0168)(0.9832)/0.0001 = 165.18≈165.

Thus our sample size is 165.

3.4 Sampling Technique

In my research I have used Non – Probability Sampling technique.

Judgmental: As in this technique the researcher chooses the respondents on the basis of his/her judgment as to who will be the best suitable representative of the population.

I mailed the questionnaire to all those whom I felt could be the customer of all or any of the stores in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly


Snowballing: In this technique a initial group of respondents is selected and after their response they are asked to identify others who belong to the target population of interest.

I selected few respondents in Amity Hostel and my other friends after their response I asked them to name few more in the hostel or their friends whom they know are the customers of all or any of the stores considered in my research (Globus, Max, Pantaloons, Kazo, Bizarre and Allen Solly).

3.5 Hypothesis of the research

H0 : There is no significant impact of Visual Merchandising in Apparel Industry.

HA: There is significant impact of Visual Merchandising in Apparel Industry.


From the data that I collected for the research, I posted them in SPSS and got t-test and k-test results..

As I have considered 95% as my confidence level. The result (α) of each question has to exceed

0.05, so that Null Hypothesis could be accepted.

The result of each question is as follows:

Are people attracted towards eye catching window display. As α is 0.000 which is less than 0.05. So Ho is rejected.

While passing through the racks, people tend to look through the clothes nearby. As α is 0.000 which is less than 0.05. So Ho is rejected.

People tend to buy the merchandise on display featuring a new style or design. As α is 0.000 which is less than 0.05. So Ho is rejected.

People are attracted towards sales or clearance signage. As α is 0.000 which is less than 0.05. So Ho is rejected

People are attracted towards promotional signage in the store. As α is 0.000 which is less than 0.05. So Ho is rejected.

Result of comparing the apparel stores (Globus, Pantaloons, Max, Bizarre, Kazo and Allen Solly) on the basis of there Visual Merchandising

H0: There is no significant difference amongst the mentioned stores in the minds of customer in terms following attributes.

Ha: There is significant difference amongst the mentioned stores in the minds of customer in terms following attributes

As per preference of shopping – H0: is rejected as α is less than 0.05, so Ha s accepted


From the market research on the effectiveness of the Visual Merchandising of Ap

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