5 Tips to Strengthen Your Store Merchandising
Effectively managing a retail store is no easy task. After all, you have a long list of things to maintain, oversee, accomplish and constantly seek out to ensure your business is strong and healthy. One of the top priorities you have is to make sure your physical store environment is attracting the attention of customers to help encourage sales and loyalty among consumers. To help, there’s no better strategy than merchandising — which, when done effectively, can positively influence buyer behavior, offer support in assisting your customers in their shopping goals and allow for easy flexibility of your own team to manage and make easy updates. To further understand some of the key tips for effective merchandising in your store, consider the following.
1. Use consistent signage throughout your space. The key here is to consistently communicate with your customers through signage that is easy to read, easy to recognize and easy to update when necessary. Your goal should be to identify the colors, font and sizes you want to offer signage communication through — then identify how you can incorporate signage details into your store space. Incorporating signage as part of your merchandising strategy versus an after thought allows you to more effectively use signage to help your store experience. Additionally, you should consider signage to be used in all of the following areas, including on your door, windows, ceiling, floor and walls, bulletin boards, shelving, displays, fixtures, washrooms, guest areas, beverage bottles if used and more. In other words, signage can be used and should be used to help maximize your brand communication in whatever space and opportunity possible. Consistency, however, is key.
2. Offer repeat exposure on select items to help maximize sales. Known as cross merchandising or multiple merchandising, this strategy is used to help increase the sell-thru of new arrivals, slow moving inventory and more. An example of this may be if you have a new accessory item that you invested a lot of your open-to-buy dollars into and you want to move it as fast as possible. You could merchandise this accessory near your cash wrap to help move it as an impulsive buy, but also merchandise it in a handful of other areas within your store space that may include on a mannequin as well as within a display. The catch is to keep the item displayed differently so that customers can view and experience the item differently each time they may see it.
3. Maximize your POS area with store information as well as inventory. There’s no better time to make more money than when a customer has already decided to spend money with you, so use your POS area — also known as your cash-wrap area — to help you do this. Using the space around your check out space, incorporate small displays that entice your customers to touch and engage with this inventory to increase the chance of more items being included within your upcoming sale about to take place. Aim to offer merchandise that is affordable to your target market so that your customers don’t have to hesitate on whether or not they should buy anything else. Items should cater to needs — such as hand sanitizer, bottled water, Kleenex — to wants, as well, which may include novelty items, candy and humorous accessories. Another must that should be incorporated into your POS display area is signage that offers details about your return policy, upcoming events, gift cards and other details that customers should be aware of.
4. Identify who your target customers are and how they shop. Are your main customers moms with kids in tow? How about young adults with smartphones in hand? Or possibly aging seniors who wouldn’t mind some larger font on your signage? The key to merchandising any store is to do so with your customer in mind. If you have customers frequently bringing children in and strollers, as well, consider how you can make your store space more comfortable and enticing for them. Possibly you have a kids corner where you offer crayons and paper for the kiddos to color while the mom shop, leading to stronger sales for your store. Maybe you widen your aisles to accommodate strollers and children, although this should be a consideration anyway since space is desired for customer of all ages. If your target audience is not being considered within your store environment, you have to consider your store may not be considered, either, when it’s time for them to decide where they want to shop. Keep this in mind as you make future merchandising decisions.
5. Offer how-to-tips within your displays. It’s likely you have products within your inventory assortment that need some explanation, clarification or tips to help customers understand how to do something or why they should need that particular product. Keeping this in mind, incorporating how-to-tips or hands on demonstration opportunities is a great way to both engage your customers while also encouraging them to spend money with you. The key takeaway is this — inform you customers to help your customers want to spend more money with you. It really can be that simple!
Finally, as you aim to strengthen your retail real estate, remember just like all other kinds of real estate some areas are more valuable than others. Aim to maximize the prime real estate spots in your store to help maximize your overall store merchandising experience. Combined with the key merchandising tips listed above, your store will be better positioned to welcome customers, engage customers and keep customers loyal to spending more money at your store.
— Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the founder of RetailMinded.com, co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference and author of “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business.” Reyhle has a regular column with Forbes.com and was the spokesperson for Small Business Saturday in 2015. Follow Reyhle on Twitter @RetailMinded and at Facebook.com/RetailMinded.