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Making store displays sparkle

Merchandising is a great tool in selling all products. You spend hours buying outstanding products, but without merchandising, it doesn't give your store the complete look. Merchandising will increase your business tremendously, but you need to take the time to go to the temporary floors in Chicago or take a trip to the Atlanta Show to buy interesting accessories.

One of the ways we do this at Patio & Hearth is we built lighted display cases in our stores. In these cases we display a lot of color. Start on a shelf with a large framed picture and work around it with glasses, pots, candles, silk flowers, etc. Use this as a focal point in your store. If you do not have a display case, use baker's racks and do the same thing.

I also buy a couple of wicker or dining groups with a lot of color or something unusual to give the customer something to talk about. I know I probably will not turn these groups as quickly, but it gives brightness to the store and the customers always seem to enjoy the spark it gives to the sales floor.

Accessories are the key to making your store look complete. Make sure there is art on your walls. Use a lot of silk trees and flowers along with outdoor lamps, candles, outdoor rugs. We use gazebos and pergolas to add interest and create the outdoor room look in the stores. Plus it is an add-on sale when you create the total environment.

Think outside the box. Give the customer the option to see what can be done in their home. Give the complete picture how it will look on their patio. Most customers need to be educated in how to put it all together. If you display it to create the total environment the consumer is better able to visualize it.

There are always a lot of different heights and color throughout our stores. Use a few bright colored umbrellas on those sets that are monochromatic along with matching colors on the tabletops. You will be surprised at how many customers buy these umbrellas. It will be a happy look for your store and make you look different from the masses.

Remember your store is a reflection of you. Make the customer feel good about your business and want to come back to see what exciting merchandise you will have in soon. Make it a happy experience.

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