Impact of Visual Merchandising

Shopping has transformed from necessity to an adventure. It’s more of an experience, opportunity for celebration. Gone are the good old days when a list is made and shopping is done at the nearby Kirana store. Shopping is a welcome break from hectic schedules, time to let your hair down and hit the malls. Retail giants like Central woo their patrons with mottos of “Shop Eat and Celebrate”, and Big Bazaars rule hearts with “Is se sastha aur acha kahin nahi”.

Do those attractive mannequins and 3D displays of Play stations actually make more sales at your store? Does “What” and “Where” in store really matter as far as customers’ buying decisions are concerned? Pathfinders take you on a Foray Between the Aisles, where we can look at shopping in a different light. OBJECTIVES Ever wondered why shaving blades are kept near the billing counters and atta/maida at higher shelves? The Marketing Researcher of a shopping savvy India asks the question,What attracts customers towards different products in a retail store?

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On a more specific note, the objective of this study would be ? To determine the impact of visual merchandising on the buying decisions of customers in a retail store ? ? To determine if buying choices made before reaching the store or thereafter To examine how the layout and display should be altered so as to attract customers towards products ? ? To analyze whether customers actively seek for new products at a retail store To determine if buying decisions are unconscious or purely conscious PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles DESK RESEARCH

Purpose 3 Search of secondary sources will be carried out which would give more insights about the objectives cited. This would be the basis for rest of the research. The search would yield published data on what attracts customers towards products and buying behaviours of customers with reference to visual merchandising. It will also throw some light on impulse buying behaviours of customers and the impact of store displays on customers. Synopsis Significant amount of work has been done in what drives people to choose some products over the others from shelves.

The increase in Existing Indian middle classes with an increased purchasing power turn implies that retail industries are finding various ways to attract customers of different SEC to buy the goods for which visual merchandising plays a very important role. Introduction of slotting allowances which necessitate payments by manufactures to retailers for providing shelf space for new products becomes relevant in this context. It is all about how to make customers look at your products [1]. Visual merchandising has taken retailing by storm.

Stemming from Neural marketing, an intriguing marriage of marketing and science is the window to human mind. It is the key to unlock Buylogy – the subconscious thoughts, feelings and desires that drive the purchasing decisions that we make in everyday lives [2]. Studies reveal that indoor signage play a dominant role in attracting customers to buys certain products. “Standee” is preferred by the majority of shoppers followed by drop down and shelf stock signage. A striking data that came out of this research was that signage of discounts and offers influenced the group with monthly income between INR10000 and INR 25000.

Here is a graphical representation of the range of information carried by signage PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles 4 Source: Report by V. P. S. Arora, Shivani Sharma and Nirdesh K. Singh for the Agricultural Economics Research Review Study on ITC Choupal fresh revealed that all the racks were placed on the left hand side and the cash counter was on the right side of the store keeping in view that the moment the customer enters the store, he turns to the left instead of right [3]. They also designed special section and racks for fruits and vegetables to make it look more appealing.

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Purpose To provide qualitative information about the objectives mentioned. The following methods of exploratory research will be used by Pathfinders ? Experience surveys with the salesmen and the floor supervisors of retail outlets to understand, 1. Whether visual merchandising leads to impulse purchasing and thus enhance sales 2. How frequently the layout pattern is changed and does it reflect in any changes in the buying behaviour of customers? Depth Interviews with store managers 1. Do you observe consumer behaviour and accordingly change the layout of the store? . Which location do you feel is the most preferred (strategic location) to promote a product and why? 3. On what basis do you decide which product to promote in a specific location? ? PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles ? ? ? 5 Observation as a tool for analysing consumer behaviour. Conversing with customers will also be done to check for impulse buying in the purchases made. Interviews with customers to determine if they actively seek for new products at retail stores Depth interview with alumni of ASB working in retail industry

Population and Sampling ? ? We propose to interview store managers of Big Bazaar( Palakkad and Coimbatore), Nilgiris (Coimbatore and Palakkad) Observation of customers will be done for across age groups and genders in these stores Procedure As Peter Drucker rightly said, “Most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions”. To ask the right questions, here is what we plan to do! How do Pathfinders propose to go about Qualitative Research? ? ? A standard set of questions will be made by Pathfinders which will be a blueprint for asking the right question to right people No paper based questionnaire will be given to any of the stakeholders Only the feedback from the stakeholders will be noted which will act as a base for the quantitative research QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH A descriptive research will be carried out using the below mentioned methods ? ? ? Survey in Mall intercept Survey at home Electronic Survey Purpose This stage will give us quantitative evidences about the inferences obtained from qualitative research.

We propose to give quantified data on impulse buying behaviour and its relation PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles 6 with visual merchandising. We will also give quantified data on buying behaviour of customers towards newly introduced products. Population and Sampling Pathfinders will circulate a questionnaire based survey among men and women of different age groups. The sample population will include faculties, staff and students from the university. The survey will also be carried out among customers at accessible retail stores.

Moreover responses will also be taken through the electronic media. A separate questionnaire will be formulated for retail store managers / supervisors. Procedure A questionnaire will be developed by Pathfinders which will be evaluated by our batch mates, mentor and faculty. The questionnaire will cover the following issues 1. How far does visual merchandising and layout of stores contribute towards buying behaviour? 2. From a managers perspective, how important is visual merchandising and layout of stores? 3. What is the level of practical implications of these concepts in the retail stores?

The analysis will include statistical inference of data collected from all the above surveys. REPORTING A report based on desk, qualitative and quantitative research will be submitted to our Marketing Research professor, Dr. Deepak Gupta and mentor Mr. Arpit Mishra. A final presentation based on the findings would also be delivered in front of a panel of specialists in the first week of April. PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles TIMELINE 7 Time managed is time saved. Here is how Pathfinders would manage their time as sand falls off the hourglass. DATES th March – 10th March 2010 ACTIVITY Discussion with Mentor, Problem definition, Brain storming, Identifying the DM & MR problem, Designing the research. 11th March 2010 Submission of Research Proposal to Faculty & Mentor. 12th March 2010 – 16th March 2010 Exploratory Research, Formulation of survey questionnaire with insights received from exploratory research. Starting with report preparation – keying in the basic data, Secondary data analysis. 17th March 2010 18th March 2010 – 25th March 2010 Evaluation of Questionnaire Quantitative Research, Cleaning, Editing and Preparing the data.

Keying in relevant data obtained from quantitative research. 26th March 2010 – 2nd April 2010 Analysis of data, Reporting the inferences in statistical ways, Discussion and conclusion, Overall Recommendations. 3rd April 2010 Presentation & Report Submission FEES Little things do not mean a lot; they just mean “EVERYTHING”. The insights that Pathfinders provide will shed some much needed light on answers that have been evading every retailer. If you feel our work gave you those answers you were looking for, that it would be of help to you, A certificate appreciating the work of Pathfinders would serve as our fees.

PATHFINDERS Research Proposal Foray Between the Shopping Aisles CREDENTIALS 8 “Foray between the shopping aisles” by Pathfinders will be monitored by Dr. Deepak Gupta, B. Tech. (IIT-D), PGDM (IIM-C), MS (Mktg. ), MA(Econ. ), PhD at California-Berkeley , Dr. Gupta has more than 10 years of teaching and research experience and has worked with several research projects in University of California, Berkeley including fields of higher education and transportation research involving econometric modelling of individual choice behaviours.

The project undertaken by Pathfinders will be mentored by Mr. Arpit Mishra of Reliance Retail who has also served Pantaloons Retail. His knowledge and experience with the giants of retail industry coupled with diligent work of Pathfinders would make the perfect “Research Mix”

REFERENCES [1] Loganathan, D. (2009). Indian Retail Industry – An Exploratory Study. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from retailnetworks http://www. retailnetworks. org/index. php? option=com_content&task=view&

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