Whether your merchandising looks attractive or not is typically the primary factor driving sales in the retail sector. Some of the challenges you’ll face are inherent with the products, while other issues can be sourced to a faulty approach. Following the five fundamentals detailed below will help enhance store visibility and help your merchandising appear more attractive to visitors.

1. Ensure the Display Appeals to Your Target Audience

The merchandising is as much about the product as it is the potential buyer. The display should be centered around the same lifestyle mantras that coincide with the demographics and pyschographics of the target customer. If the appeal is not about specific demographics, the display should embody the mantras, experiences, philosophies and ideals associated with the target customer’s lifestyle. Start with creating a persona of the target customer that includes demographic information as well as their emotional connection to the product.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s has developed into a prominent retailer by aggressively appealing to the target audience of shoppers between age 18 and 24. The enchanting fragrance, engaging photography and familiar music are designed to make the retail experience resonate in young shoppers’ memories and help them feel welcomed in a type of environment. 

2. Display a Range of Three Categories

When merchandising, it’s wise to create your display with a theme based around three items. On the right, feature your most prestigious item accounting for 10 percent of your inventory, on the left feature promotional items accounting for 10 percent of the inventory, and in the middle feature your bread-and-butter offer. Even though most customers will purchase the middle item, most the talk is bound to be related to the allure created by the other two items. According to Shopify.com, arranging items of different sizes in groups of three resembling asymmetrical shapes is a great way to subconsciously engage customers’ eyes.

The Rule of Three is a universally powerful presentation technique that helps an audience remember easily, including the classic cosmetic, houseware or mannequin displays we’ve always seen in threes at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom or Sears. The Pyramid Principle states that placing one object centered above two others helps the shoppers’ eyes focus on the top, before working their way down. If you have three products of three different heights, they should be displayed accordingly: from tallest to shortest, or vice versa. 

3. Keep Merchandise Stocked On Schedule

Merchandise will only look attractive if it’s stocked correctly and all the items are fresh. Handling inventory management properly is essential to maintaining an appealing display. At minimum, retailers should have enough inventory on hand to last two weeks to three months. Identifying a buying system that works best for the retail business is the most effective approach.

Grocery stores and large retailers like Publix and Walmart are the kings of stocking shelves effectively, most places hire teams of workers to get everything done overnight. Product placement on the shelves happens in three levels: the eyes, the hands and the feet. The leading brands go on the most important shelf, at eye level. Product placement throughout the store is often based on hot and cold zones. Hot zones have the heaviest flow of consumer traffic and are the areas where products sell easiest, like by the entrance or intersecting walkways.

At minimum, retailers should have enough inventory on hand to last two weeks to three months. Identifying a buying system that works best for the retail business is the most effective approach.

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4. Pay Attention to Detail in the Display

Merchandising is most successful when planned with a thoughtful approach that involves creating a focal point, establishing a narrative and engaging other bodily senses beyond sight. The ability to dictate the mood or where consumers’ attention is drawn to is imperative for creating effective merchandising. Using the lighting or signage appropriately is a subtle way of making a substantial impact on the potential buyer.  Take time to ensure the display is not too cluttered, the products are positioned correctly and that the display doesn’t look unattractive from any particular angle with an adapted solution of qualitative reporting.

The decor in Abercrombie & Fitch is a starke difference from whatever shopping plaza the storefront is found in. The busy displays and black background help keep the focus on the products and blocks out the world outside the store. Cosmetic companies like Benefit and Revlon use elaborate merchandising displays to help enforce the brand identity they have established with their target customer.

5. Experiment with Displays and Pricing

Don’t be afraid to try different strategies to optimize your sales based on the customer data you have access to. Monthly sales data and other similar metrics can help make it easier to keep track of which methods have the strongest impact on revenues. This can be a motivating way to get creative and take ownership of how sales correlates with the quality of the display. You also need to experiment to make wise pricing decisions, such as determining how much the initial markup will affect your rate of sale.

Many retailers start by dressing employees or window mannequins with the store’s own clothing when they want to begin experimenting with displays or pricing. Simple A/B testing may be the most direct way of finding which version consumers prefer. EA Sports used this method for their Sims promotional merchandising and ComScore used it to gauge the impact that customer testimonials had with viewers online.

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