Mix merchandising for high impact
Staff Staff -- Casual Living, May 1, 2008
I am often asked: How do you get the “wow” factor in a merchandising mix?
First, it begins with the trade shows and what you see. When I attend the gift, casual and home furnishings showrooms at markets, I am usually first impressed by the visual. The display impact of the product lures us into the showroom.
The second thing I begin to notice is the individual product. What is the theme of the product display? How is the product made? What is the price point? And how is it sold — in sets or individually? I then want to know what the market “deals” are to make better merchandising choices. For example: 5% off with an order of $1,000 and 60 day terms, etc. You all know the drill.
After all of this is going on in your head, how do you them decide what is needed to buy for your store? And how do you get the wow? For any of us who consult with retailers on products and merchandising — the person I ask most is you, the retailer. You know your customer, demographics and what inventory is selling or not. You also know what dollars you have for visual investment, what product is on order, what is selling well and how far you can spend to get the wow.
Put your most on-trend group of product in the front display. Use color and tight displays to convey a theme. More often than not, I can change the look of a store with paint. Happy colors of green, yellow or red unify a look as a background to make the product pop! Orange is one of the trend colors I keep seeing. One accent wall would give a sense of surprise, but not look like a clearance wall. Color is a wise investment to make the store look fresh.
Grouping like products together helps further tell the story. Whether you are selling outdoor pillows, rockers or lamps, when you only show one or two it does not look important. Show a dozen for impact.
In this challenging retail environment, I suggest putting your best foot forward. Order new exciting products that create the first impression your customers see. Translate the market deals into promotions that can be used for great values for your customers. If you are having a sale, make sure it is well tagged and priced, so it does not look like mistakes but great values. Use a sense of urgency with the promotion: “20% off Spring Sale through this weekend on lamps!” Have an end date.
As I have suggested in past columns on display: Use of color, background music, accessories, rugs, exciting products and a sense of fun with your staff all help to create the excitement. Sometimes it’s a secret ingredient, sometimes it’s the mix of the recipe.
Entice your customers to come in and buy. I want them to say “Wow!” when they leave with a great experience and product for their home.