Perfectly placed merchandise earns profits

Well placed merchandise and the good look of a store are factors that contribute positively to sales, but only if done with utmost care. Here is how a retailer can display merchandise to encourage sales and customer loyalty.
Place it well

Merchandise in a store is displayed using a variety of fixtures, namely counters, racks, wall systems, platforms and free standing fixtures. These display fixtures should be aimed at displaying maximum amount of merchandise on the retail floor. A merchandiser has to keep in mind a lot of details while deciding on how and where the merchandise has to be placed; the type of product, its colour scheme, usage frequency of the products and customer traffic. The way the merchandise is displayed is quite crucial in converting contemplation into must-buy decisions.  

Departmental displays
Ease of accessing a product either for taking a closer look at it or trying it on is essential for encouraging its sale. Cumbersome and unmanageable merchandise display can be of discomfort to the customer who may avoid visiting the store, if the display is not rectified. 

Cross-aisle merchandising
It is an off-shoot of cross-merchandising, where customers are exposed to related items on both sides of the aisle. Cross-aisle merchandising is based on the principle that depending on a customer’s usage, related articles are displayed on counters so that the customer is tempted to ‘cross-over’ and buy the other product as well. It is in a sense, a kind of prompting done to the customer to buy more, which in turn, can also lead to impulse sales. To place sweetners along with coffee and tea, beverages with snacks, trousers with shirts, stationery items with school bags are a few examples of cross-aisle merchandising. 

Vertical merchandising
Displaying related product categories in vertical sections give customers a full view of related merchandise in one spot and promote related item sales. Horizontal merchandising limits visibility and makes the shopper walk along to buy items. Vertical merchandising emphasises the visual aspect and lets the customer ‘see’ more of the complete range of products. Fixtures in a store play dual role of displaying and advertising merchandise, and vertical stacking of units gives the look of a well-stocked store. 

Eye-level displays
For effective sales, the best range for display is at the eye level or between the belt and the eye level. Display at eye-level ensures that the customers see the merchandise rather than just walk by if the retailer has chosen to place them below or above eye-level. Fast selling and high margin products should be placed well within the reach of the customer, as opposed to slow moving and lower margin products, which by virtue of being slow moving do not warrant a majority of the display space. 

Planning the display 
Here are some factors that a retailer should keep in mind while preparing the display plan. 

Group products visually
The visual aspect of the merchandise should never be ignored. Every product has its colour and a balance is needed to create a strong display. Products with bright colours give the appearance of ‘fullness’ and dark coloured items appear to be heavy. The dark coloured items can be placed a little lower in the display racks and those with bright and vibrant colours, on the top and at eye-level. Colours also have an association with feelings and send out vibes. A merchandiser needs to keep in mind these associations during planning the display.  

Make space work
Appropriate amount of space should be left while stacking items on racks and counters so as to leave adequate ‘finger’ space around the product to allow comfortable access for the customer. Shelves and racks which are too far apart waste a lot of space and do not give the store a good appearance. Store capacity should be well utilised with easily accessible and well-spaced aisles, which are comfortably negotiable. 

Identify products
Products, its details, their prices, the savings customers can make on them all need to be clearly identified and the information effectively provided to the customer. Point-of-sales signs should catch the shoppers’ attention. Sale signs should be informative enough, so that the customer does not have to go looking for the sales person to explain the sale details. Care should be taken to position promotional merchandise at a strategic place where shoppers are bound to see it. 

While deciding on the store lay-out, positioning of fixtures and display of merchandising the retailer should always keep in mind to allocate space and place merchandise in a way which is conducive to selling. The shopping experience, in order to secure customer loyalty and boost sales, should be made comprehensive, hassle-free and logical.

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