The Guide to Effective In-Store Retail Merchandising
The shopping experience has transformed over time. Buying doesn’t always have to begin with window shopping, as consumers can find a product online and scan reviews before even setting foot in a store. This is why e-commerce has been taking center stage in the past few years, more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such a reality, however, does not take away the value of in-store shopping. In-store shopping remains very much alive today as it still provides a sense of enjoyment, physical interaction, and instant gratification.
Owners of retail shops know how important it is to stay competitive in the market. Increased in-store revenue is possible through effective in-store retail merchandising. For instance, printed displays help promote products and promotions, thus increasing foot traffic and revenue.
For retailers who want to learn how to utilize and implement retail merchandising effectively, this guide will provide best practices and planning considerations.
What is Retail Merchandising?
Retail merchandising is how retailers, brands, and other companies make their products available in retail stores. It also refers to organizing the merchandise to encourage shoppers to purchase more products. Retail merchandising involves execution (how items are displayed to promote add-on sales) and strategy, including product selection, product placement, in-store design, marketing, and other techniques.
The Importance of In-Store Retail Merchandising
When implemented correctly, in-store retail merchandising can lead customers to the right products, encourage them to buy from you and not your competitors, and ultimately convert window shoppers into customers. Other benefits include:
- Attracting customers
Retail merchandising delivers pleasant shopping experiences through great in-store displays that capture the customer’s attention.
In-store displays can inspire and inform how products could be used and may persuade customers to select an item they hadn’t necessarily considered. This dramatically influences shoppers’ decisions, with 89% of women and 78% of men who visit physical stores sharing that they placed additional items to their carts beyond their identified needs.
- Increasing foot traffic
The top reason consumers shop in-store is that it allows them to interact with the products—touch, smell, hear, and in some cases, try them. Visual merchandising can engage all the five senses and is part of a sound retail merchandising strategy. It guides the planning and activities responsible for how customers see physical stores and the goods or services visible within.
- Boosting revenue and sales
Retail merchandising that clearly, consistently, and memorably represents a brand’s identity can help establish brand recognition—and consistent branding boosts revenue by up to 23%.
Over 78% of consumers would also choose to spend money on an experience or event, which is one retail hack in creating store layouts that make shopping a delight, leave a lasting impression on shoppers, and persuade them to purchase and come back.
Elements of a Retail Merchandising Plan
Retail merchandising aims to encourage people to shop in your store rather than a competitor’s. It helps convert more browsers or window shoppers into customers by removing their confusion and helping them choose between multiple products more quickly. Consider these elements for better merchandising and messaging and an effective retail merchandising plan:
- Store layout plan
A well-planned retail store layout helps manage traffic moving through the store. It involves featuring merchandise efficiently, encouraging customers to consider making additional purchases as they browse.
When planning your product displays in the store’s layout, take into account the customer journey on the floor. Think about how product placement will market the products most successfully. You can also consider how physically interacting with your product adds to the in-store buying experience. If it’s a particular packaging component, ensure that it’s visible on the style of the shelf your product will be stocked on.
- Retail display
The retail display includes visual components such as signage, fixtures, and props. When designing retail displays, create a theme to organize the products and other visual elements. Use proper signage to allow easy and quick reference to your customers and arrange the fixture and fittings accordingly.
If you sell products that can be paired up, such as clothes, arrange fixtures that keep them close to each other. This will save customers time and effort to walk around the store to complete any outfit. You can then add props such as plants, artworks, and décor to tell the product’s story enticingly, especially for seasonal or holiday-specific products.
- Merchandising planning system
Merchandise planning will help maximize turn, limit out-of-stocks, increase margins, and minimize markdowns. It’s the method of selecting, managing, purchasing, displaying, and pricing the products in a manner that brings in maximum ROI. It also adds value to the brand name by satisfying consumer needs and avoiding excess inventory.
Essentially, merchandise planning aims to make the right product available at the right time, in the right place, in the right quantities, and at the right price.
- Retail store audits and inventory management
Retail inventory management is a process that helps you increase profits, as it ensures you have enough stock to capture every possible sale while avoiding overstock and cutting expenses. Managing inventory can also provide insights into which stock sells and which doesn’t, the profit margin by style, model, product line, or item, when to discontinue a product, or how changing seasons affect sales.
Retail Displays at the Heart of Your Merchandising Strategy
Printed in-store retail displays make your products stand out. The use of bright colors, striking visuals, and compelling copy attract shoppers’ attention and encourage them to purchase the product the display promotes. Since visuals help with the learning process, a retail display is a powerful way to inform shoppers about your product. Here are the specific elements in which retail displays fill the gap for an effective merchandising strategy:
- Speed to market
Speed to market is more vital than ever, with companies having to respond to market changes and opportunities quickly. Fast changes need to take place in marketing campaigns and promotions. Businesses have to design and produce in-store displays in record time.
Improvements in technology have contributed to significant advancements in the quality and capabilities of digital printing. Thus, printed in-store displays offer a short time to market as digital printing moves fast enough to get artworks on the press and tested by the end of the day.
You can also reduce time to market by creating retail displays with switchable graphics, which eliminates unnecessary lag time to recreate the entire display.
- Impacting shopper behavior
In a competitive retail space, emotional connections are a requirement. Color blocking is a visual merchandising tool that can affect a customer’s mood and behavior. Use colors to your advantage and improve the way products are displayed by emotionally connecting with your customers. For instance, utilize blue or green shades for a calming effect or warm colors to induce excitement.
Organizing your products by color encourages customers to notice and purchase products that would have otherwise been ignored. It also gives the impression that your products are fresh and your store is upmarket.
Since color is seasonal, place products from darkest to lightest during winter and the reverse during summer. By selecting a theme and color blocking accordingly, you can maintain an attractive layout and give customers a better shopping experience.
- Brand consistency
Creative retail displays can pique customer interest and build a brand in their minds through appealing designs. For instance, Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays increase the chance that customers will notice your products. They also help communicate your brand’s message well beyond what’s printed on your product’s label or box.
POP displays allow you to better educate on the unique value your brand offers. This can be achieved by making the display’s design consistent with your product packaging and providing additional information about the product onto the display.
- Omnichannel marketing opportunity
Omnichannel marketing aims to create a consistent brand experience by integrating various channels to interact with consumers. Retail displays can serve as a communication avenue or channel to disseminate that brand experience.
For instance, adding QR codes to your retail displays is a strategic, frictionless method to transition customers into the digital world. It also allows your customers to engage in ongoing campaigns and promotions and move down the buying funnel through your brand’s ongoing social or email marketing campaigns.
5 In-Store Retail Merchandising Tactics to Boost Sales
- Engage with the buyer’s senses
Physical stores have an advantage over ecommerce sites because they can engage shoppers with more than just visual images on a screen. Consider how your retail merchandising plan can engage with your customers’ senses. From maximizing store layouts to display fixtures, innovate on how to entice and attract shoppers.
If you have products that make an audible sound, interactive displays or “Try Me” buttons can pique their curiosity. Utilize lighting and color to direct customers’ attention to specific products and displays. You can also ensure that premium packaging feels good on the hand to appeal to their sense of touch.
- Maximize your in-store or window display area
To maximize your in-store display areas, identify high-traffic spots that can give particular merchandise the most visibility. These are ideal spaces for products that establish your image, new and seasonal merchandise, and advertised specials. Displays in these spots also guide shopper browsing and encourage impulse buying.
Store windows are ideal for bringing in both new and existing customers. They can display best-selling products, newly arrived items, and promotional merchandise.
The key is to create different themes for different windows to portray different stories based on the most recently inspirational theme. Arrange your display areas in a way that can help customers envision how your products can be used or set up in their own spaces.
- Design unique POP displays
POP displays capitalize on the shopper impulse to maximize sales. When designing them, go beyond boxy displays as these tend to be commonplace in retail stores and barely register on shoppers’ radars.
Consider how the display associates with your brand. For instance, beverage brands usually create displays in the shape of a drink bottle. You can also use unique shapes and sizes or add interactive elements. These allow shoppers to engage with the display, learn more about your brand, and be more encouraged to make a purchase.
- Be on top of inventory
Although seeing your products sell out can be a good thing, out-of-stock occurrences ultimately lead to loss of sales and can jeopardize your product’s placement. Across industries, retailers lost $1 trillion in sales in 2018 due to stockouts. This also encourages otherwise loyal customers to try competing brands.
Stay on top of inventory through consistent shelf replenishment. This can be ensured by keeping track of planogram compliance. Products are placed in a specific spot on the store shelf for particular reasons. When placements are meddled with, stock levels can get thrown off.
If you’re struggling with stockouts, try checking if it’s an ordering schedule issue. If it’s not, and you can’t increase deliveries or production, then it may be better to reduce your facings instead of having empty shelves.
- Establish clear branding and identity across all channels
Your In-store design and layout, promotions, product range, and social and online channels all need to have a similar look, feel, and tone. Approximately 90% of customers expect brands to be consistent across all platforms and channels.
With consistency comes familiarity, which in turn leads to trust and loyalty. If customers continue to receive the same brand experience, they’ll proactively choose that brand because they know what to expect.
When creating your retail displays, the message and imagery you employ should have a common thread that reinforces the product in your customers’ minds. This takes advantage of their need for consistency. Cohesion in your retail display, marketing, and other channels will only strengthen people’s perception of your product.
A Growing Retail Merchandising Plan is a Purchase at Hand
In today’s competitive retail environment, a retailer cannot afford to overlook retail merchandising. A strong retail merchandising plan simplifies the shopping process, attracts customers, increases sales, and strengthens your brand identity.
When forming your retail merchandising strategy, make sure to include a growth plan. Retail is dynamic, and customers will assume that you have nothing new to offer if you don’t adapt to change.
If you want to witness effective retail merchandising in full effect, take advantage of retail displays that truly engage customers. Bring these to life and fulfill your business needs through professional printing solutions offered by Meyers today.