Merchandising Offline: Yes, People Do Still Shop in Brick and Mortar Shops

Not long ago we talked about how 2014 has been named the year of visual marketing and some things that you could do to properly capitalize on that movement. It is important to note, though, that not all marketing happens on a screen. This is especially important to understand if you run a physical shop. You can have the best website and visual marketing in your field but if your store isn’t properly merchandised, you’ll struggle to turn a profit.

So what do you do? How do you merchandise your shop so that people are encouraged to buy?


Start Simple: Your POS Station

Believe it or not, a lot of stores are starting to dismantle their register stations in favor of portable POS systems. They think that this will help them increase sales by capitalizing on someone’s immediate impulse to buy (which, often, gets quashed on a shopper’s way to the register). There’s some truth to this but your register stations are such great opportunities for merchandising!

Set up cardboard displays of small items that your shoppers might have otherwise overlooked right at or very close to your register stations.  Stationery–pens, in particular, sells well here. Piece candy, like those Lindor Truffle Balls or other pocketable sweets are also quite popular. The idea is to put things that are small and cheaply priced so that people won’t mind spending the money to buy whatever it is that has caught their attention (and that you won’t get upset about if it walks out the door).

The wall behind your register station is another great merchandising opportunity. You can place more expensive items back here. The better the visual display, the more likely your customers will be to ask about it and buy from it.

Direct Paths Are Your Enemy

Right angles and straight lines look great on paper and when organizing drawers. In a shop, though, they can kill your sales potential. Pay attention the next time you go shopping, particularly in small stores. Is it possible to walk in a straight line all the way from one side of the store to the other? Probably not!

There are two ways to break up those straight paths. You can stagger your shelving so that people have to weave in and out of the aisles to get to where they need to go. This makes your endcap displays far more likely to capture someone’s attention (and can serve as a way to actively sell things instead of just putting up pretty signage).

You can also place floor pop displays in these pathways, most optimally at aisle intersections. The nice thing about these types of displays is that they’re temporary and easy to change out as you shift from one type of promotion to another. You can also move them as needed (which is helpful when you’re loading in new products and fixtures). If the display isn’t doing well in one part of your store, simply move it to another location.

Switch Up Your Products

One of the best ways to draw attention to a specific product is to take it away from similar items and put it smack in the middle of a group of very different items. You’ll see this in bookstores a lot: history books displayed on a table in the literature section or sports biographies on an endcap in the gardening section.

Mixing things up is a great way to sell things that haven’t been performing as well as you’d hoped.

Remember: visual marketing isn’t just about creating pretty images on a screen. It’s about creating an appealing visual in person as well as in virtual environments.


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