Welcome to the Shopability Series! Our mission is to equip shoppers with the knowledge and tools to successfully navigate the retail jungle and transform it into a shopper's savannah, where unforgettable shopping experiences are the norm. Today, we delve into a time-tested visual merchandising principle that has long been debated in the retail world: to fold or to hang jeans? Drawing on our extensive collaboration with a leading Amsterdam couture retailer and several European fast fashion giants, we present to you our latest findings on the subject, supported by meticulous analysis of shopper behavior data.

To fold or not to fold

When it comes to visual merchandising of denim spaces, there are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to fold jeans or put them on hangers:

  1. Available space: If your store has limited space, hanging jeans on hangers may take up less floor space than folding them. However, if you have ample space, folding jeans can create a more visually interesting display.
  2. Shopper experience: Consider the shopper experience when deciding how to display your jeans. Hanging jeans can make it easier for shoppers to see the details of the garment and imagine how they would look when worn. However, hangin jeans can create a more tactile experience for shoppers, allowing them to touch and feel the fabric without disturbing perfectly folded items on shelves.
  3. Brand image: The decision to fold or hang jeans can also depend on your brand image. If your brand is more casual and laid-back, folding jeans may be more appropriate. However, if your brand has a more formal or polished image, hanging jeans can create a more elevated and sophisticated display.

In general, it's best to mix up your display methods to keep things interesting for shoppers. You might consider hanging some styles of jeans and folding others, or even using a combination of both methods in the same display. Ultimately, the goal of visual merchandising is to create an attractive and engaging shopping experience that will encourage customers to make a purchase, so it's important to experiment and find what works best for your store and your customers.

Generally both female and male shoppers initially follow the same behavioral pattern. We first want to make sure that we visually like the product (1-3 meter range), then as we get closer (< 0.5 meters) we want to feel the fabric to ensure we like the texture and quality. However, beyond this point, there are some subtle differences in the shopping behavior of men and women. For example, women tend to pay more attention to details such as color, fit, and style, whereas men may be more concerned with functionality and durability. Only after this moment, we tend to think of our ideal size. We will break these two important moments in the following paragraphs.

First Moment - Look and Feel

When male shoppers are in a jeans department, the first thing that often comes to their minds is the fabric and look of the jeans. For men, it's important to display a variety of styles and fits, such as straight-leg or slim-fit jeans, in different washes and colors. By organizing the jeans in a clear and easy-to-understand way, men can quickly find what they're looking for and feel confident in their purchase. Women, on the other hand, tend to browse more before making a decision. Therefore, creating an environment that is visually appealing, with well-organized displays and effective signage can help women feel inspired to try on different styles and explore new trends. Additionally, providing a comfortable and welcoming fitting room experience can help increase satisfaction and loyalty among female shoppers. At StoreDNA we have found that the Men's Jeans department has experienced the greatest benefit from being in close proximity to fitting rooms. Moreover, male customers tend to hesitate when it comes to selecting neatly folded items, likely due to concerns about potentially creating a disheveled display that they would then have to tidy up themselves.

Second Moment - Size Choices

Once a shopper has made a confident decision on the fabric and style of the jeans they want, the next step is to move on to the sizing experience. When it comes to men, the focus should be on providing a range of sizes that are easy to find and try on. Clear signage and well-organized displays can help men navigate through the store and find the perfect fit quickly. For women, however, sizing can be more complicated. Offering a range of sizes that cater to different body types, including petite and plus sizes, is crucial. By providing size charts and detailed product information, including product benefits for 3 different price points, women can feel confident in their purchase and find a pair of jeans that fits their unique body type. Additionally, creating an environment that is comfortable and welcoming can help women feel at ease while trying on different styles and sizes. By focusing on the fabric and sizing experiences and catering to the unique browsing and shopping behaviors of men and women, retailers can enhance the overall shopping experience for shoppers and increase sales.

Amsterdam Couture Retailer Case Study

To test the above hypothesis we worked closely with a leading Amsterdam retailer to conduct a test aimed at validating our hypothesis based on shopper behavior insights. Our objective was to determine whether changing the way jeans were displayed in-store could positively impact shopper engagement and ultimately drive sales growth. In the existing approach, jeans were meticulously folded and arranged on an eye-catching display wall.

We decided to experiment with breaking this display into two distinct moments, each catering to different shopper needs. First, we hung the jeans on a rail to cater to the first moment where shoppers focus on the look, feel, and fabric of the product. Next, we placed folded jeans in additional size runs above the rail to cater to the second moment where size becomes a more crucial factor in the decision-making process.

The results of our test were truly remarkable. We found that the hanged jeans were significantly more likely to be picked up and touched by shoppers, with an index of 3.5x compared to the folded jeans. This increased shopper engagement translated into a significant sales boost, with a 12% increase observed in jeans sales.

Our findings demonstrate the power of leveraging shopper behavior insights to inform and optimize in-store visual merchandising strategies, leading to enhanced shopper experiences and improved sales performance.

If you want to learn more, please reach out to us at StoreDNA.