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Retail Merchandising Tips

May 28, 2010

I recently had the opportunity to hear a nationally known merchandising and visual marketing expert, Bruce Baker, who was in Worland and Cody recently.  I thought that I would share a few of the tips he gave to area retail business owners as they may apply to your business as well.  Of course some will depend on budget, the current state of your storefront, the amount of space you have to work with, etc.


Start outside.  Your windows and window displays should be used to get people's attention, those walking by and in some cases driving by.  Make sure people can see the display by having it well lit, especially if people tend to see it at night.  Also, wash the glass periodically.  Avoid using your doors and windows, prime display space, for advertising all the local fundraisers, baseball team schedules, and so on.  It's great to support those entities, just do it at a separate location (bulletin board, etc.) within the store.  Also, make sure that your signage can be seen by those walking by and driving by, but don't cover up your merchandise display with your sign.


Once they are in the door, it should smell good.  Not overpowering, but pleasant.  Soft, appropriate music can also help.  Use small signs near the merchandise to help customers find what they are looking for.  If you can do this in a fun way to make them smile, even better.  These can be silent, unpaid sales people.  Consider using large format photography to help highlight various lines.  Lean on your suppliers for this as many have some large posters they will give you if you simply ask.  Your merchandise should be displayed from the knees to about 6 inches over the customer's head.  They don't want to, and usually won't, bend over to get items off the floor or they simply won't see them.


The merchandising must match the merchandise!  In other words, don't use cheap dime store displays to hold or show off expensive items.  This sends a confusing message.  Change your displays at least quarterly, a little more often is even better.  Use seasonal colors, and "don't let the groundhog see Christmas."  By February 1st, Christmas items and displays should be long gone.


Now, the two biggies.  Most stores don't have enough light.  People won't buy it if they can't see it.  Replace burnt out bulbs.  If possible use track lighting to light up the merchandise, not the wall or the floor.  And finally, get your customers to touch the product.  They are much more likely to buy it if they pick it up and look at it, smell it, feel it, and fall in love with it.

Category: Marketing

Bruce Morse

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