Hi, my name is Katie and I am a shopaholic. To put a finer point upon it, I have weak impulse control when it comes to attractive things. There are certain boutiques in town that are styled so well that I simply have to avoid them, because I know I will inevitably cave and wind up opening my wallet. When catalogues arrive in the mail, they go straight to my recycling bin. Emails from fashion companies?

Deleted immediately. Lifestyle bloggers and Instagram influencers? I definitely can’t follow them. Yes, I really would “like to know” what they’re eating/drinking/ wearing/using in their homes, etc., but I’d also like to own a house one day and send my future kids to college. Alas, admiring their picture-perfect lives — and discovering how I can replicate them — makes following a budget about a thousand times tougher than it should be.

I am hardly alone in my susceptibility to visual merchandising. There’s a good reason why the world’s most renowned department stores invest months designing window displays — for the holiday shopping season, many start planning more than a year out — and thousands of dollars in supplies and manpower to create something spectacular. Or why designers and companies will handsomely pay people to hock their products in lifestyle Instagram posts. (Editorial aside: how does one get that job?

Don’t take my word for it. Last year, CrowdRiff, a marketing company in Toronto, conducted a consumer study
on visual decision making. It found that most people admit that visual cues really impact what they buy. A few
excerpts from that study:

  • 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 63 percent of consumers said good visuals are more compelling than the product description
  • 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website after looking at a sponsored
    Instagram post
  • 88 percent of consumers have purchased something they pinned
  • Including a photo next to an item on a menu increases its orders by 30 percent

In honour of the approaching holiday season, we’ve dedicated this issue to visual merchandising. Soon, shoppers will be out in droves, ready to spend. But the competition is steep. As I know all too well, there are literally thousands of things to spend money on — and the vast majority of us have to be picky. Want to entice people into your shop? You need an alluring window, interior displays, logo, website, and social media snapshots.
Overwhelmed by that list? Stop, take a deep breath, and read on. Our writers spent the summer compiling best
practices to help you improve your image and increase your sales. We hope you enjoy the content and that it brings you success.

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Katie Hendrick
Katie Hendrick is the editor-in-chief of Canadian Florist.
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