The role of VM for retailers

We were recently asked to contribute to an article about the increasing importance of VM for retailers and the essential role it plays today in:

  • Attracting customers into your store (drives store traffic)

  • Moving them around your store (improves store penetration)

  • Engaging them in your store (increasing dwell time)

  • Creating desire for your products (increasing sales)

  • Building memorable moments (builds engagement and emotional brand connections)

  • Encouraging them to talk about your store (creates brand advocates)

VM today is about creating visual theatre – from the window right throughout the store environment. Retailers need to compete harder than ever today and great VM helps them to standout from the crowd. Done well, VM should capture your brand essence and tell your brand story. It’s no longer about just seasonal product display – it has a bigger, more strategic role to play.


The iconic Jo Malone blossom tree window (above) is a great example of the theatre that VM can bring to a store. While Ai Weiwei’s installation at Le Bon Marche in Paris (below) shows how far some premium stores will go to drive footfall.

Ai Weiwei art installation at Le Bon Marche Paris

The advent of omnichannel retail has added to VM’s evolution too. It can help connect the online visual experience (both from your website and social media feeds) to the physical bricks and mortar space to build recognisable brand and product stories, anticipation, excitement and footfall. The more impact your VM delivers, the more likely your consumers will want to engage with you, buy your products and share their experience via their social network.

Sunglass Hut Westfield London, largest digital screen in Europe

Sunglass Hut (above) are past masters at connecting the digital and physical world through their fashion focussed high profile brand publicity


There is a lot of discussion around creating ‘Instagrammable moments’ in retail environments because social media plays such a big role in sharing consumer experiences with the world today. So we are building this element into our store design briefs for clients. VM teams will therefore continue to explore not just how to create eye catching VM but how to engage customers in it too.

The utilisation of digital within the retail environment is growing and VM will continue to find innovative new ways to enthrall and engage customers in store as well as online.

Blondies Kitchen Selfridges London

We designed an ‘Instagrammable’ Cookie Countdown Clock for Blondies Kitchen at Selfridges London


Our focus here at Innovare Design is on delivering retail brand stories that drive footfall and engage the customer. We work closely with either in-house VM teams or VM consultants to ensure that the brand essence is always at the route of the creativity. VM is intrinsic to the customer journey so our store designs allow for strategically placed flexible VM ‘platforms’. These then facilitate seasonal and promotional display as well as zones for building brand stories.


There is so much to consider in delivering great VM but if we were to pick one critical aspect to get right we’d say lighting. The quality, quantity, direction and colour are essential to engendering the right emotional response to your VM. But it’s a very specialist field and should never be left to your electrician – unless of course they are a qualifield lighting designer too!