by Tom Boyer for the Lasting Impressions series

Part of leaving a good impression with your merchandising is to have an appropriate amount of inventory on front-end shelves. If the front-end shelves, endcaps, and displays have empty spots, customers may get the impression that your stocking levels are haphazard and that it’s not worth shopping your store because it doesn’t look like you’ll carry what they’re looking for.

If you carry only one of every item or have significant holes on your shelves, it’s not easy to shop your store. When customers have a hard time determining if you just happen to be out of an item or don’t carry it at all, it can cause them to go elsewhere and never try your store again.

Keep your front-of-store looking fresh. By fresh, I mean it should look newly stocked and thereby inviting. Think about going to a food buffet and how its presentation can inform your opinion of how good it’s going to be – it’s much more attractive if it is freshly stocked and looks as though it is refreshed on a regular basis. When you have a fresh look to your shelves, displays, and endcaps, you are creating a welcoming environment that should positively affect purchase decisions.front-end stock levels

Depending on the size of your front-end and number of staff, you should refresh your shelves every day. Manage your inventory properly and check levels daily to avoid holes and outages. Also ensure your stock is in good condition (not dusty, sun-faded, or torn) and is properly faced.

Pay special attention to items on sale and Never Outs®. When items are promoted or on sale and there isn’t enough stock available for customers coming in, it makes for a very frustrating shopping experience. Hopefully you have access to HRG’s Never Outs list through our TEMPS® Category Manager service.

While you shouldn’t have empty spots on your shelves, you likewise shouldn’t have overly full or cluttered displays either. Focus on a robust, balanced presentation that’s going to leave a great impression.

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