What is Merchandising?

Merchandising is the art of capturing the customer’s attention. In traditional retail settings merchandising would tease the senses. Product placement being key, with items placed in a way that makes a customer want to stop and pick up the item. Merchandising done well will welcome the customer into the store, encourage the customer to stay for a while, introduce them to new and innovative products, and have well placed add on items throughout the store. Well merchandised stores are bright, clean, smell good and free of clutter (unless that is part of the branding/marketing strategy).

Types of Merchandising:

Merchandising comes in a variety of ways. The best merchandisers will explore the different options available to them, and through trial and error discover the best options for their specific location.

  • Display Techniques: End caps are a popular location to put new and innovative products, or hot demand items. Displaying top sales items in easy to grab locations will save customers the frustration of hunting down a particular item.
  • Free Samples: Commonly found in big box discount stores (think Costco) or even your local grocery store, samples are a great way to tantalize a customer’s taste buds and whet their appetite. Pair a sample with a coupon and a customer may even feel obligated to purchase the item that they sampled.
  • Demonstrations: Designed to capture the imagination of the customer, and show them how easy a particular product can make their life.
  • Pricing: Sales are a common way to get customers in the door. Running specials on certain types of products can bring the customers in, and by using other marketing measures you can encourage them to stay.
  • Shelf talkers: Electronic devices that sit on the shelf and tell you about a new and innovative product. Sometimes these devices can also provide consumers with product samples.
  • Point of Sale Methods: It’s no secret that retail markets like to line the checkout aisle with candy, gum, chips, Tylenol, magazines and other grab and go items. They do this because it works, after all – what’s a couple more dollars?

Online Merchandising:

Many of the same techniques used in brick and mortar merchandising can also be used in online marketing, but not without slight modifications made. A popular pizza place suggests drinks, desserts, and breadsticks as an add on when the customer goes to check out. The following is a list of suggestions to help with online merchandising:

  • Use your landing page to make a good first impression. It should be clean, easy to manipulate, and tell your story. The customer needs to know why they need to shop with you.
  • Create collections. Online collections go further than breaking items up by type, they break down barriers to mix different types of items that have similar styles. Creating themed collections can introduce your customer to different types of products that your company carries.
  • Ensure your site is easy to operate – this is one of the top considerations. If a brick and mortar store is difficult to maneuver in, it will chase a customer away. Online retailers have to take the same consideration.

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