Visual Merchandising Tip: Follow The Rule of Three

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Retail business owners should constantly adjust and tweak their store layout to encourage more sales. This is where visual merchandising comes into play. Visual merchandising -- the act of arranging and displaying product in a store to maximize sales -- will encourage customers to buy your product while promoting better all-around shopping experience. While there are dozens of elements that go into an effective visual merchandising campaign, few hold as much weight as the rule of three.

What Is The Rule of Three?

The rule of three is exactly what it sounds like: grouping products together in sets of three. For instance, a store owner may set up three mannequins displaying apparel and accessories instead of just one or two. It may sound a little unusual, but this simple rule can yield yield more sales in a retail store. 

How exactly does the rule of three encourage more sales? Studies have shown that humans respond better to groups of three. Our brains are wired in a manner that allows us to remember groups of three more so than just a single item or a pair. So when a shopper comes across three mannequins in an apparel store, he or she will naturally remember it with greater ease. This, of course, translates into more sales, which is the primary objective of visual merchandising.

The online e-commerce solutions provider Shopify explained the methodology behind the rule of three, saying that our eyes move around when there are three objects or items grouped together. According to Shopify, this is because triplets are asymmetrical, and threfore, they keep our eyes moving. When we see one or two items, on the other hand, are eyes stop because they are symmetrical.

Rule of Three Tips:

  • When choosing your three items, make sure they are closely related (but not necessarily identical).
  • Experiment with different positions and arrangements to see what works and what doesn't. Lining mannequins up side-by-side, for instance, would obviously be more visually appealing than placing them back-to-back.
  • Pay close attention to your sales after setting up a new product display. Did the grouping of products into threes boost sales? If so, you should replicate the process throughout your entire store.
  • Use lighting to emphasize and draw attention to your triplet displays.

What are your thoughts on the rule of three?

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  • George Blitzer
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