Visual Merchandising ROI for B2B

Q. How does a B2B or industrial / trade product supplier measure visual merchandising ROI?

A. They don’t! Well not directly anyway.

Let me explain. Visual Merchandising in the B2B sector is different to the retail sector in that the goods or services are generally displayed in different environments. B2B environments may include a clients office, a company showroom or foyer, or an exhibition or trade event, amongst others.

Providing a relevant & meaningful measurement of the ROI from these environments is often both extremely difficult and un-reliable. Visual merchandising measures in the retail environment are generally fairly straight forward, measuring things like direct product sales and pedestrian traffic flows.

While definitely not a hard and fast rule, displaying B2B related products and services in a general sense should be considered a straight forward cost of doing business. This directly relates to the strategic positioning, and subsequent value perceptions of your brand and/or its related products.

Remember though, that the value in your brand or products is in the eye of the beholder. The question is, how do you get your prospective customers to see the same value that you are asking for? A significant part of achieving this value is via your visual merchandising.

Other inputs that assist in achieving additional value (i.e. a higher average sell price), may include some or all of the following:

  • the knowledge, demeanor & attitude of all leaders & employee’s
  • the overall customer experience
  • the quality of marketing collateral
  • digital presence & useability
  • product or service quality
  • environmental & social considerations.

Depending on the business, product or service, there is un-doubtedly many more too.

Visual Merchandising in the traditional sense relates to floor plans and 3D displays, don’t forget about other visual representations of your brand and products such as building or vehicle signage and livery, uniforms, samples, banners, packaging, etc…. consistency across all visual presentations is critical.

Back to the original question, if you try to directly and reliably measure ROI on visual merchandising in a B2B context, you would probably end up doing very little, or none at all. Just as a digital presence is essential to the marketing mix for most businesses (and is often difficult to achieve a true ROI), physical presentations of your brand, product or service offer otherwise un-rivalled networking, referral, and direct business opportunities.