Why merchandising makes a difference – part one

May 16, 2016By Assortment Planning and Placement, Behind the Shelf Blog

by Steve Choate

According to Wikipedia, merchandising is in the broadest sense, any practice which contributes to the sale of products to a retail consumer. At the retail in-store level, merchandising refers to the variety of products available for sale and the display of those products in such a way that it stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase.

Have you ever walked into a retailer and asked yourself, “What kind of store is this?” This has happened to me several times. You see the name on the door and in your mind you have already determined the type of store it is, what they should carry, and how they should be merchandising it. When you go in, you are confused as to whether you walked in the right door. The merchandise mix or displays that you immediately see aren’t a match of your preconceived idea of the store type. If the expectations of your potential customers do not match what they see when they enter your front door, they may turn around and walk out. Grab your customers’ attention as soon as they walk in the front door. Invite them to visit the rest of your store.Make sure your merchandising always aligns with your established identity.

Today, it is hard to distinguish a convenience store from a drug store from a supermarket from a dollar store as they all are selling the same things. Trying different items and displaying products in a new, unique way are perfectly fine; however, do not confuse your customers as to who you are and what your store “stands” for. Make sure your merchandising always aligns with your established identity.

Another way to enforce your store identity through merchandising is placing the newest OTC items on a “New Item” endcap just inside your front door. This will do at least two things for your store. First, it tells customers that you keep up with new items and want to have the newest products available for them. Second, it establishes that you are a drug store and that they can expect to find more OTC and healthcare items within the store.

Remembering why you are in business, who your customers are, and why you opened your particular type of retail store will help you solidify your merchandising focus and help to retain and attract new customers.

Check back for my next post on merchandising later this week.

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