5 Things Video Marketers Can Learn from Visual Merchandising

13 May, 2019  

Video marketing is all about finding the best ways to engage your audiences and connect with them over the span of a video’s length.

In that time, you need to hit a number of marks – visually, aurally, and conceptually – to get your client’s message across in such a way that resonates with the viewers. In a way that draws them in.

In this regard, the goal you go after with your marketing videos isn’t that dissimilar from that which people using active visual merchandising strive for.

Even though one is exclusively concerned with optimizing physical space usage, while the other’s purview is based entirely around virtual representations of it, both pursue nearly identical goals – to get clients to take action.

This is a likeness I feel is more than worth exploring, as guidelines for one can readily inform and enhance the quality of the other. In this piece, I’m going to go over a handful of the core principles behind visual merchandising and see how they can also benefit the production of video marketing content.


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What is Visual Merchandising (And Why Should I Care?)

Put simply, visual merchandising refers to a practice common to the retail industry centered around developing floor plans, utilizing three-dimensional space, and efficient product displays to maximize sales.

It encompasses many techniques intended to highlight product’s benefits and features to attract, engage, and motivate customers into making a purchase.

Sounds familiar?

It uses elements of color, lighting, spacing, product information, and even sensory input, to achieve its goals — principles that can be effectively translated (to varying degrees) into your video marketing compositions to make them equally more engaging and efficient when it comes to prompting consumer action.

1 – Color Is King:

Every visual medium relies on color to stand out. It can be a powerful asset (or quickly become a hindrance) depending on how you use it.

One of the first thing visual merchandising cautions is about using erratic displays where colors contradict and work against each other, generating a visually displeasing discord.

Similarly, color can make or break your marketing videos. Not only do you need to apply basic color theory to ensure your whole composition is both, harmonious and pleasing to the eyes, but you also should base it around your branding. As your company’s colors should be present in some way in your videos.


As you work on your videos, think of color as a driving force behind attention, as color alone can be an outstanding asset to lead viewer’s attention where you want it to go. Just as they say in visual merchandising “Wherever the eyes go, the feet follow…” it just so happens with your viewer’s focus as they watch your content, and you can use color to light this path marvelously.

2 – Create a Focal Point

Another axiom of visual merchandising is to always check displays to make sure customers can see the hotspots and merchandise.

This point harkens back to the issue of viewer’s attention and how it interacts with your video’s content. Many times I see marketing videos with a beautiful visual finish where their animations actively contradict their efforts to lead their users’ attention.

If your video’s protagonist is taking an action relevant to your content, the last thing you want is to have a distracting animation in the background wrestling user’s focus away from where you want it to be.

Maintaining focus – or focal points – as part of your content works as well in marketing videos as it does in retail displays. Your viewer’s eyes (and attention) should remain where you want them, and creating focus points with your content is the way to orchestrate it.

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3 – Use Empty Space Wisely

In visual merchandising, there’s usually a space that often goes underutilized – the section between the merchandise on display and the ceiling – which is advised to be filled with useful content (signage, product information, etc.)

When it comes to translating this premise into video marketing, I’m reminded that what you leave out of the screen is as important as what you decide to include.

Sometimes, even more so. What I mean is that being a visual medium, many video marketers tend to obsess over the visuals of their content while neglecting or outright ignoring the other – equally important – aspects of a marketing video.

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Audio quality, the right narration, having the right sound effects pop up at the right times, are the elements that take a flat, exclusively visual piece of content, and make it spring into life. Make sure you aren’t missing the forest for the tree and pay equal attention to all the crucial elements of your video. Especially those that aren’t necessarily visual.

4 – Expose Customers to the Maximum Amount of Merchandise

This is one that will sound counterintuitive to most video marketers out there (as it did to me too.) But bear with me just for a second while I spin it around.

In visual merchandising theory, they tell you that a well-designed display exposes the customers to as much merchandise as possible while avoiding a sloppy mess. And it’s in this seemingly innocuous, almost throwaway caveat at the end that I feel video marketers should focus.

Your marketing video shouldn’t be about cramming as much information as humanly possible in a usually short time (most marketing videos clock under two minutes.) They should be about discerning how much data you can effectively convey in the short amount of time available while avoiding a sloppy mess.

Forcing yourself to approach video making in this way will keep you trimming the fat and only keeping the lean and useful content that will be left there to achieve your content’s goal.

5 – Tell A Story

Once you are familiar with the power of storytelling in marketing, it is not surprising it’s even being used while making a visual composition with items being displayed in a store.

The last visual merchandising axiom we are going to go over is the use of storytelling as part of your displays. They emphasize the fact that your arrangement should address in some way essential questions like “What’s in it for your customers?” and that you should include sales-enabling displays and signage to go along with the rest of the composition.

Video marketing is all about the story.

Tell a good enough, clear enough, and compelling enough story, and you can sell anything. It’s all about conveying your vision and meaning to the viewer, in a way that’s interesting to them. In a way that makes sense.

Using the power of storytelling in video marketing should be a no-brainer. But if the number of marketing videos where the message is all over the place and lacks cohesive structure is any evidence, it’s advice that bears repeating.

Just like having a visually pleasing composition in your store can be the difference between closing a sale or having someone walking away empty handed, making these elements part of your marketing videos can be the difference between a piece of content that converts, and one that goes into obscurity ignored.

And while it might sound daunting at first, just remember that there are some amazing video production companies out there that can make it easy.

Take your time during the pre-production and planning stages of your content-making process, and run it through these principles as a checklist of sorts.

I guarantee your videos’ quality will grow exponentially once you start making these precepts a regular part of your production process.

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