The Science Behind Creating an Effective Retail Display

Creating an effective display is crucial for any business that wants to attract and retain customers. Visual merchandising plays a significant role in this process, as it can increase sales, influence purchasing decisions, and enhance the overall customer experience.

However, creating a display design that resonates with your audience requires more than just an eye-catching design. The science behind creating an effective retail display involves understanding how the human brain processes visual information and how to use design principles to create a cohesive and impactful display that drives results.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind creating an effective retail display design and provide some tips to help you create a display that stands out.

  1. Understanding the human brain and visual processing:

The human brain processes visual information much faster than any other type of information. This means that an effective retail display needs to be visually engaging and attention-grabbing if it is going to lead to increased engagement and conversions.

According to a study by the Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), in-store displays and signage can uplift sales of that product by up to 20%.

  1. The importance of simplicity:

Simplicity is key when it comes to creating an effective display design. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 59% of shoppers believe that in-store displays, and signage influence their purchasing decisions. A cluttered display can overwhelm the viewer and make it difficult for them to understand the message. A simple design, that still delivers a creative, eye-catching message, on the other hand, is easy to understand and remember.

  1. The role of typography:

Typography is an essential element of a display design. The right font can enhance the message and help communicate the brand’s personality. However, it is important to choose a font that is legible and easy to read from a distance. If your brand has fonts that it uses to represent the personality of your products or service, ensuring these are accurately represented and accurately displayed shows an attention to detail that is not lost on the consumer

  1. The use of imagery:

Imagery is a powerful tool in retail display design. High-quality images that are relevant to the brand and message can help grab the viewer’s attention and communicate the message much effectively than text alone. The same survey by the National Retail Federation found that customers are more likely to make purchases when they see high-quality product images.

  1. The impact of layout:

The layout of a display design can significantly impact its effectiveness. A creative, well-planned layout can guide the viewer’s eye, telling the story of your product and help communicate the message in a clear and concise manner. According to recent studies into consumer behaviour, effective visual merchandising can play a significant role in triggering impulse purchases, which according to many recent insights may make up to 85% of all purchases!

Who is Merit Display?

Market leaders in the design and build of engaging brand experiences, Merit Display have been delivering eye-catching, attractive, and innovative retail displays for 30 years.

Our unique experience and understanding of the principles around creating effective retail displays have led to our “Attract, Engage and Convert” process. Our proven approach is a result of 25 years’ experience in the successful delivery of retail projects across the globe.

You can check out some of our inspiring case studies here.

Our expert team are dedicated to delivering results for our clients. This, paired with our creative process is what defines our “Attract, Engage and Convert” process. See below for more information about each stage of our process.


Understanding your target customer and their behaviour is essential in today’s world. Using design aesthetics alongside your brand, we ensure your display will not only attract your target audience but provide quality engagement opportunities.


In a busy retail environment, we understand those first 5 seconds count. Combining our expertise in space planning, product interaction, and technology we create a desire for your products or services and a first impression for your customer, that really counts.


Making it easy for your customers to take the next step once they are engaged with your product / services, is the most important part of our process. Using a combination of physical and virtual methods, we make the customer experience simple and your follow-up process effortless.


The Bottom Line

Visual merchandising is a critical component of any business that wants to succeed in a highly competitive retail environment. By understanding the science behind creating an effective display design and utilising design principles such as colour, contrast, hierarchy, simplicity, typography, imagery, and layout, retailers can create displays that not only grab attention but also communicate their brand message effectively. With the right display design, retailers can increase sales, influence purchasing decisions, enhance the customer experience, and ultimately achieve business success.

To understand more about the science behind effective retail display designs, or to speak to one of our experts about how a retail display could boost your brand/business, contact us today for a friendly, no-obligation chat.