Gerry Loves: visual merchandising inspiration from World Markets

As a retail product developer, I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. The answer is everywhere and anywhere, but very often it’s found in the world markets I travel to. They’re such a rich source of inspiration, especially for sourcing authentic visual merchandising solutions. From humble fruits and vegetables, to livestock and flowers; local markets are the heartbeat of any city, town or village.

This past February, I had the great fortune of once again revisiting the breath-taking and vibrant Rajasthan region of India. Pulsating with people, noise and winding streets, our travels lead us to a simple village market with an inspirational way of displaying their wares.

Indian retail merchandising

Sometimes as retailers we can spend an awful lot of time and energy vying for the next big thing in merchandise design. We expend huge amounts of creativity (and budget) designing displays, fixtures and fittings that are over-the-top or ultra-dramatic, in a bid to draw as much attention as possible.

While there is certainly a time and place for overtly outrageous store displays, there is also a simple, rather more subtle way to merchandise, that allows the product to do all the talking; just like the merchandising examples below which are bursting with colour.

The spice district of the market we visited was teeming with fragrant and aromatic perfumes.  While usually a rule of thumb in retail display is to pile product high, few places in the world do it better than in India.  Here we see some simple merchandising techniques put to dramatic effect – big on product quantity with just a simple vintage hessian sack as a conduit. If you’d like to achieve something similar in your store, you’ll find a variety of wholesale vintage hessian sacks inside the online Prop Shop.

No re-creation of a world market would ever be complete without the obligatory wooden market cart like the sweet one in the image above. Somehow this cart, or the idea of it, is synonymous with agriculture and reminds me of the hustle and bustle of a working street-market stall.

Dotted around India both in city centres and villages on the outskirts, market carts are prevalent and used today.  They display huge amounts of fruits and vegetables and also used for displaying handicrafts, textiles or ceramics. At WBC, we will soon be stocking these market carts for your business, we’re just waiting for the shipment to arrive.  Authentic and cleaned up, these market carts are the epitome of rural charm and they’ll be here at the end of April.

No matter where you travel in the world, the central market place in any location always seems to draw you in, visitors and residents alike – maybe it’s something in the produce, fruits and vegetables displayed there that appear like a work of art.  Cascading colours, free-formed shapes, natural materials with simple tin baths and wooden bowls to hold it all in, like in the image below.

For wooden bowls from £55 Ex Vat click here
For hessian material from £5.95 Ex Vat click here
For rustic crates from £7.95 Ex Vat click here

These are just some of the spaces and places I take inspiration from, and I’ve even brought some of these merchandising props back home so you can replicate them yourself. Online at you’ll find a collection that will help you create beautiful eye-catching displays in your own shop. If you’ve yet to look around the online Prop Shop, inside you’ll find my unique vintage finds at trade prices. Also be sure to follow my Pinterest page for the latest retail display ideas that are exciting me this season.

Sometimes, the simple pleasures in life are the most beautiful…..


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