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10 Commandments of Merchandising


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Many retail stores, including independent pet retailers, have integrated my merchandising techniques over the past 35 years with fantastic results. Oftentimes, stores have boasted upward of 30 percent increases in sales just from re-merchandising their store.

Here are 10 best-practice merchandising rules to help freshen your store's look, increase customer interest and boost sales.

1. Keep your store clean. Customers relate cleanliness to newness and value. If you cannot keep your store clean, there is no point in attempting to apply the remaining merchandising basics.

2. Face and front daily, hourly and continually. Move each product to the front of the shelf and face each product label square for best viewing. Products that hang on hooks should be pulled forward.

3. Spread to fill. Empty space kills sales. You want to give the appearance of abundance. If a product sells out, replace it with another product until you can restock. Double face products to double the exposure of the product.

4. Follow the two-finger rule. Just as horizontal empty space can kill sales, so can vertical space. Shelves should be spaced so there is no more than a two-finger-wide space between the top of the product and the bottom of the shelf above.

5. Create color blocks and breaks. Strategically place color items so that they each stand out. For example, place a white product between two blue ones and run color vertically to draw the customer’s attention down to the lower shelves.        

6. Lean to the right. Eighty percent of the population veers to the right when entering a store. The English language reads from left to right, and the majority of the population is right handed. Therefore, by positioning more expensive items to the right, you ensure optimum visibility and sales in a population primed for this setting.

7. Price merchandise on the back or on the bottom. Consumers generally buy value, not price. You have a better chance of selling a product if they read the label before they read the price tag. Keep in mind that, if they pick up the product, you have a 50/50 chance of making a sale.

8. Display heavy items at the bottom and lighter items on top. This establishes a natural flow of merchandise and keeps products and displays from being top heavy. We never want to shade a product from ambient light, either from the actual product itself or by a shelf above a peg-hook display.

9. Throw a visual curve. A visual curve is the tiering of products like a pyramid. This allows overhead light in the store to hit the edges of each item. You also can achieve a visual curve by using shelves and hooks of different sizes in progression.

10. Avoid the Manhattan skyline. Keep the general top line of sight even and appealing to the eye. This will allow focal points or other featured displays to stand out. “Less is more” applies to this technique. Focal points should not compete. If they get too close together, the Manhattan skyline falls back into play.

 

Tips for Endcap Displays

More than 10 to 30 percent of a store’s sales can be generated from correctly merchandised endcaps. Plan your purchases and use these areas to show off new and price point merchandise. Use the following rules:

Display no more than two products. Don’t display a manufacturer’s entire line. Limit yourself to two SKUs and try to use products in different colors.

Display related products. Using two related products doubles your chances for an add-on sale.

Display abundance. There is a cycle to displays; perception of abundance equates to volume. No one ever wants to buy the last one. Just like at home, no one wants to take the last piece of pizza.

Display signage. Preferably professionally printed and framed.

Display activity. Trigger sales sooner by removing one product to show buying has begun.

 

Chris Miller is the owner of Pacific Store Designs in Garden Grove, Calif.

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