Start Employing a Silent Sales Person – How Visual Merchandising Impacts Your Retail Store

Start Employing a Silent Sales Person – How Visual Merchandising Impacts Your Retail Store


You have spent time and money on purchasing inventory, training sales reps, and driving foot traffic into your store.  Now you need to ensure that you maximize your return on investment.  One way is to make sure that your store is acting as a silent sales person – inviting customers to enter the store, suggestive selling to them, encouraging them to browse, and helping them to make impulse purchases.  That's why you have to be extra vigilant about how your store is perceived by the public. 


Conduct a detailed inspection each morning prior to opening your doors and take action to make improvements.  Use a checklist to help you stay on track while you address the issues.  Here are some suggestions to help guide you through the process.


  1. Look at the Parking Lot:Is it clean and well lit?  Are parking spaces readily accessible?

  2. Examine Your Store Front:Are the sidewalks or mall-line clean and uncluttered?  Does your store front require paint or repair?  Are the windows clean and free of residue leftover from old signs?  Does the sign light up and do your window displays tell a story that encourages passers-by to enter?

  3. Access the First 5’ to 15’ of the store:  Often referred to as the “Decompression Zone”, your goal is to give your customer enough space to gather their wits, slow down, and concentrate on shopping.  Is this area uncluttered and inviting?  Are the sightlines clear so your customer can identify where they need to go?

  4. Appraise Your Featured Displays:These are typically small tables or fixtures with hot products that are placed just beyond the first few feet of the store.  Do they need to be restocked?  Are they clean?  Or do they need to be rotated?  Work these displays hard because they sell product!

  5. Look Right!In North America people tend to walk and look to the right.  This means that the displays and merchandise on the right side of your store need to look hot!  Make sure your traffic flow allows your customers to access the products and displays with ease.

  6. Walk the Aisles:Can customers easily maneuver shopping carts, strollers, or wheel chairs throughout your store?  Can two carts easily pass one another throughout the store?  Are the sight-lines clean so that customers can see your product and the current promotions?  Are related add-ons or accessory items merchandised so that your sales representatives and customers can easily find them?

  7. Look Up, Then Look Down:  The floors and ceilings of your stores create a subliminal feeling for your customers!  Are the ceilings clean – including the heating vents?  Are all of the light fixtures working and are there any stained ceiling tiles?  How are the floors?  Are the swept, vacuumed, and free of residue? 

  8. Check Out the Service Counter and Cash & Wrap Counter:Is there enough room on the counter for a customer to comfortably complete the transaction? Are there impulse items displayed at the checkout to encourage add-on sales? Is there an interesting display behind the checkout counter that will keep customers thinking about product? Is your policy and procedure signage accurate and visible? 

  9. Conduct an Audit of Your Signage:Are all signs easy to read and accurate in terms of pricing?  Are there inaccurate policy signs or handwritten signs present?  Is there old sale or product signing that needs to be removed?

  10.  Clean, Neat, Spaced, and Fronted: Are your displays fresh?  Do they encourage customers to stop and look, and entice them to buy?  Are there open peg hooks or empty spots on the shelves that need to be restocked?  Is the product “faced” (brought to the front of the shelf or hook)? Are there missing price tags or sales collateral?


Conduct a store inspection each day and you will soon become attuned to things that are out of place or need your immediate attention. Your customers, your sales representatives, and your top-line will be thanking you!


David Goodwin is the principal at Retail Advocacy Groupand Retail Training Services.  With over 30 years experience operating hundreds of retail stores and training thousands of retail sales representatives he and his team are focused on helping retailed improve their sales and operational efficiency so they can grow their profits.  To learn more about their training and retail operations consulting programs please visit