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Merchandising in COLOR!

Traffic lights and psychology have taught us that the first color the eye sees is red. The second? Yellow. You guessed it: the third is green. Not only does color attract our eye, but each color comes with imbedded meaning, can influence mood, can attract people based on personality … and other much more complicated things.

We might not specialize in the science surrounding color, but we do know that a punch of color gets shoppers’ attention. But does all the attention result in sales? Absolutely! Getting customer attention is the first step in making a sale.

Color Merchandising: Pump Up the Brights

Until recently, retailers have restricted color to only their merchandise, leaving the pieces that display it in bland colors like sand, white, or ivory. Don’t get us wrong, white, ivory, and sand fixtures can definitely have a place in retail – and we still sell a boat load of them! But when white fixtures are paired with white walls and white floors, well it’s a major snooze fest. Check out this picture from a well known discount retailer:

tj maxx

Now, check out TJ Maxx & Marshalls and their “CUBE” concept – this is the ‘Maxxinista’ section of the store. White walls, white floors, white fixtures, but they have added bright pink shelves, colorful graphics that call out the space, and strategically placed colorful merchandise here to create some excitement and much needed oomph to the center of the store!

tg maxx the cube

At this year’s GlobalShop show, we visited manufacturers of vibrant fixtures, displays and even mannequins in hues that are anything but blah. Bright orange mannequins, even shelving and racks have come alive with color. Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, has popped into retail displays not just onto merchandise.





People notice color, which is why color merchandising can be so effective if done right. And history has shown that in times of recession, the brighter the better. In 2011, people gravitated toward neon and then the trend to mix neon and pastel became en vogue more recently as the economy recovers. Color trends are interesting, that’s for sure. We can’t wait to see what Pantone will reveal as its next history-making color for 2015. We’re pulling for IDD orange 🙂


Color Merchandising Requires Strategy

As much as we love the addition of vibrant colors to the retail experience, these colorful displays may not work for every color or every type of merchandise. As with any successful display, strategy is definitely key.  Just like TJ Maxx’s CUBE concept, think about using color to draw attention to one part of your store. A feature wall is an easy way to try a bold color to feature a collection of exciting products. The green wall below really works because the shelves and cubes are all painted the same color, allowing the products to pop. A non-linear layout keeps the eye moving (but that’s a blog for another day!). Check out our Pinterest page for more inspiration.

green backdrop

As we said, there’s no right answer for every store – strategy is key to make your store the best it can be! What color schemes work for you? Do you think brighter is best or are subdued hues the way to go for you?

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