Wednesday 7 October 2015


Do you repeat yourself?  I do, in my defence it's usually to get my message across, not an age thing! Even though the message may be the same sometimes you need to vary how you convey it. This is the same for how you merchandise products in your store.

Good merchandising will increase sales but it does require a bit of thought and planning if you want results. Here are a few basic tips to consider.
  • Visual content – a shop fitting merchandised with products needs a strong visual presence if it is to succeed in attracting customers. The key here is what customers see from a distance. At first instance customers won’t be looking at detail but the overall impression, good sign posting, product edit, quality top shelf display and colour will help draw attention.
  • Product edit – this is vital to the overall visual appearance. Keep to the obvious, similar product types, restricted colour palette (if possible), good selection of price points and linked products to increase individual customer spend.
  • Top Shelf – as this is usually out of most people’s reach you should use this mainly for display, signposting or both.  This shelf is about attracting attention so it needs to stand out. The example shown in the photograph (above) is not necessarily a good one.  Although the products are nicely arranged and blocked, the shelf looks top heavy and  most of the products on this shelf look inaccessible to the customers.
  • Eye level – is buy level. I know you’ve heard it here before but it is what it is! The eye level shelf and the shelf directly below should be merchandised with your best sellers. These are the most valuable shelves in terms of generating sales so use them wisely and monitor closely. These shelves demand your constant attention!
  • Product blocking – product block = easy shop. Same products arranged in blocks not only look visually strong but will sell more stock. Shop fittings merchandised with product blocks make the unit more ‘shoppable’ and the customers feel more comfortable about shopping. An excellent example is illustrated in the photograph above!
  • Stock density – this varies depending on what you’re selling but unless you’re in the top end of the market the chances are you need a higher density of stock. This will enable you to block products together making the whole unit visually stronger and easier for your customers to shop.
  • Shelf spacing – the size of the gap between the top of the merchandise and the shelf directly above makes a big difference to the overall visual impression.  For guidance 8cm is an average distance but it does depend on what you’re selling. Generally speaking, because of sight lines from standing customers a larger gap is required on the lower shelves and less of a gap the higher up the wall you go. With the exception of the centre shelf, the image above is a good example of shelf spacing. 
  • Low shelves – the lowest shelves are definitely not the best space for selling. For starters, customers don’t like to bend so products at this level are at a disadvantage.  Also most packaging is designed to viewed face on and, as customers are looking down onto this shelf, what you put there and how you display it should make it easy for your customers to see, without having to kneel or bend down to look. They’ve done a great job with the bottom shelf in the image above, good product selection, good shelf spacing and all of the products are identifiable from a standing position.
  • Shopablility – this is the ultimate test. How ‘shoppable’ is it for your customers? Can your customers easily access any item of stock without asking for assistance? A word of warning though, at all costs avoid heavy items on higher shelves, precariously stacked products (on any shelf) and anything that will obstruct customers from accessing a product. 
These are just a few points to consider when you’re planning the re-merchandising of a shop fitting but remember, the job is never finished!  Once installed you need to keep revisiting what you’ve done and monitoring the results. If you want to generate good sales per square metre at any moment, of any day, the shop fitting needs to look as fresh and inspirational as the moment when it was installed.   

Retail is a dynamic business, always changing, always evolving and always moving forward. The secret is to keep going and fine tuning what you do...

All the best

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