A simple act of poster printing and offering the customer a powerful experience as they enter the store can be an effective merchandising technique. However, nearly half of all customers change their mind about a purchase because of something they see in the store. This means it is as easy to get retail merchandising wrong, as it is to get it right. Here we offer some advice on retail merchandising, some essential rules to tip the scale in your favour.
Retail locations are under pressure to make the customer journey as streamlined as possible. The shopper needs a positive experience. This is the age of Amazon, and your customer can buy anything they want with a few clicks of the mouse. Consequently, you need to increase the pressure for more instant gratification than next day free delivery to the door.
Your customers will come instore for two reasons. First, they want the product now. They have decided it is essential and they want it in their hands without delay. Second, they want to interact with the product and therefore, experience value from the trip to the store.
Therefore, your first task is to ask: is there a way to make this visit an experience? Is it possible for your customers to physically interact with the product before purchase?
Product branding and storytelling are essential to the success of your shop. Not only do you need to sell the retail location but also connect with your other channels. Find a way to make your social media channels interact with your bricks-and-mortar store. You can use all sorts of smart technical options to interact with your customer’s phone as they make a journey around your store.
The branding you use online should carry over into the store. The point is to sell a consistent image that the customer will recognise. Any disconnect will seed doubt into the mind of the customer and so potentially lose the sale.
The issue of consistency is one reason why a customer didn’t buy. However, there may be others. The more you understand about why the customer didn’t make that final commitment to your product, the more you can remove the barriers in their way. It might be that the customer finds more connection with a competitor. It could be that the journey from the shelf to the till allows too much time for the customer to doubt the purchase. You need to find the holes in your selling funnel and then find a way to patch these up.
If you are seeking to place your brand into a large retail outlet, then you need to negotiate for premium shelf space. You may be excited that your brand has been accepted into the bigger stores and that they have ordered thousands of units. However, if they are not placed correctly in the shop, it could be a one-off purchase. The difference in sales for some products on the eye-level shelf compared to the bottom shelf is 87%.
There is no fighting the truth that some retail bricks and mortar shops have no place on the high street anymore. The online battle has been fought, and the physical shop has lost. There is no point being the lone voice in trying to reverse this trend. You need to research the retail merchandising trends and work with these, going with the grain. You need to satisfy the customers’ needs if you wish to be successful in the retail space.
One exercise that all brands should undertake is research into the merchandising techniques of leading competitors. Look at exciting POP displays and seek inspiration for your store.
The qualities of a top merchandiser are consistency across channels and security of supply. You need to avoid out of stocks for the sake of your reputation. It is not that you have lost the immediate sale. You have lost the returning business of a customer who had bothered to choose you. It is hard to win new customers, so you should cherish the opportunity to serve those that do buy with you. You should seek to nurture the relationship, and any out of stock moment will jeopardise this relationship.
If you wonder how large operations manage multiple stock lines without losing track, checkout electronic tracking software and hardware. This will allow you to know the state of your stock instantly and act instantly on any shortages.
James Birch is the sales and marketing manager at Colour Graphics. He is an expert in quality printed marketing materials
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