Jeanette Cheetham’s role as senior brand consultant is to help retailers increase sales by implementing marketing techniques. She has worked for Visual Thinking for eight years and is employed by retailers to identify visual merchandising and commercial opportunities in store.
After Cheetham has investigated an individual store, she provides feedback and recommendations on how to improve the retailing experience for customers. This could involve anything from improving the standard of fixtures to giving further training to shop floor staff or senior managers.
When Visual Thinking was established 11 years ago, its clients were fashion retailers. However, Cheetham says multiple and independent grocers now use the service because they realise how vital visual impact is to succeed in a fiercely competitive business.
“With the level of competition, businesses cannot just rely on product range,” she says. “The overall ambience has to play an increasing role in creating a point of difference.”
And if a retailer can get the mix of product, layout and ambience right, they can achieve sales increases of 10% to 400%, says Cheetham. She explains that some products are commodities and availability is most important, but a “come and buy me” appeal must be created for other categories.
“Visualisation is absolutely vital for food retailers because customers buy with their eyes – 75% of purchasing decisions are based on visualisation,” she says. “There’s no point in putting in something that’s pretty but does not deliver financial results. Shoppers have a lot of choice in where they buy their groceries.”
She adds: “Growth will be difficult if food retailers have to rely on getting more customers through the doors, so we can help to increase the amount of shopping existing customers put in their baskets.”