Merchandising Basics for Beginners

The genesis of this post is a long-standing debate with my colleague on a topic that can be safely put as “Marketing Vs Merchandising”.  To begin with, I feel  that there cannot be a debate/discussion on Marketing “Vs” Merchandising because the latter is a very important subset of the former which also consists of several arenas including pricing, promotion and sales lead generation. If I were to present an analogy, consider marketing division as a human body and the different marketing functions as its organs that operate on their own to keep the human body up and alive! so you see now a debate on kidney Vs Human body is kinda ridiculous.

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who is the brain you ask?! well…most often it is the marketing head of the company 😀

But the best part of any discussion is the information exchange that happens (sometimes to win a pointless argument) and this time I got to learn about the merchandising basics that will help you close the gap between marketing, sales and operations that sadly work in silos in most organizations!

Merchandising is defined as the act of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets. The keyword here is presentation. Not to sound shallow, but the presentation of products, goods, services, offers, sales reps, furniture and displays inside your store is a testimony for the standard of your store.

Related image OR  Image result for merchandising retail

So watch out for these merchandising basics to make your store look like picture 2:

#1 STORE LAYOUT 

Spending a lot of time with the store layout to figure out the most optimum store setup is highly recommended in the case of new outlets. 3D layout and dry runs should be done before you actually start setting up the store units. This step can make or break the entire shopping experience in your store for the customers. During the dry runs where you approach the store from the eyes of the customer…figure out the high visibility areas, congestion areas, navigation challenges, placement zones which would be best for the store.

store layout
example of store layout for a pharmacy

the grades A,B and C in the payout are a part of the “Visibility Grading”. A being the most visible areas followed by B and C. Again, this here is the final layout which was finalized after a lot of permutation & combination of the display unit arrangements.

#2 MERCHANDISING SEGMENTS

Merchandising segments are defined to maintain the uniformity or uniqueness of each product category and hence maintain the overall look and feel of the store. merchandising segments are also mean to make the in-store shopping experience of the customer a lot more convenient. Let’s continue with the pharmacy example…so there will be broad product categories like skin care, hair care, feminine care, eye care, OTC medicines, vitamin supplements, baby care , etc. For a merchandiser it is very important to different each of these product categories in a visible manner so that the customer knows exactly where to find what.

Also, each merchandised segment should be have a line of connectivity for the customers to move from one product category to another without even realizing it. so having wall units for skin care, hair care & feminine care in a continuous line will make more sense than skin care, baby care & vitamins.

#3 STORE DISPLAY 

It is what it means! make your store look good…for which all the efforts are being made. But here are some sub points that will simplify your understanding of the display in a store:

  • Counter display – Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) should be displayed at the counter. The area of the counter display is graded as a high end visibility area in the store and are meant for handy products that might slip out of a customer’s shopping list. e.g chewing gums, candies, hand sanitizers, wipes and so on.
  • Free Standing Display Unit (FSDU) – or a Floor Stand is an integral part of  store display.  Utilizing floor display in a correct manner not only increases the likelihood of impulse purchase but also the willingness of shoppers to switch between brands.
  • Window Display – It is important to keep window display area tidy at all times as this signifies your store reputation. Do not stock up products in front of the window display as it portrays a disorganized viewpoint of the store. But window display is crucial for promotion material to entice the customers.

#4 LEVEL PLACEMENT 

There are few important things to consider when placing products on the shelves, such as:

  • Placing your most profitable items at eye level
  • Placing products for children and pregnant women at eye level
  • Placing your popular or targeted products in between eye and knee level of visibility

#5 PLANOGRAMS 

Once you have decided which products are to be placed on which shelves basis the best visibility plan, it is important to consider how the products have to be arranged on the shelves too. A planogram is a visual diagram, or drawing, that provides details on the placement of every product in a retail store. These schematics not only present a flow chart for the particular merchandise departments within a store layout but also show which aisle and on what shelf an item is located.

while I have tried to superficially touch upon the basic merchandising practices, there is a lot more that goes into making a store look flawless and customer friendly. But these pointers will definitely lay a strong foundation in your learning about merchandising and will surely make your views count in “merchandising Vs. marketing” discussion 😛

 

 

 

 

 

Top Visual Merchandising Trends of 2018

source: https://www.repsly.com/blog/consumer-goods/visual-merchandising-trends-2018


Brick-and-Mortar storefronts don’t fear a challenge as they take on the age of digitalization. Seeking a hands on experience, consumers look for ways to combine in-store shopping with the convenience of online shopping.

Take a look at how Kate Spade revolutionized window shopping. In their Kate Spade Saturday campaign, they employed digital window shops where customers could shop without ever stepping foot in a store. Talk about fashionable. Follow in the footsteps of brands like Kate Spade with our top five visual merchandising trends of 2018.

1. Dynamic Lighting

Turn on the lights! Lighting has a powerful impact with one fourth of consumers making an unplanned purchase because of it.  Dynamic lighting involves the color of the light, the intensity, direction, and even movement that turns shoppers into customers.

To feature a product, place a brighter light on it. Using an incandescent lamp – which is sharper and brighter –  can highlight its details and importance. Keep surrounding areas dim to focus attention. Bright lights in general tend to exude a positive vibe that can increase purchases. When using colored lights, match the colors of your packaging or product to a light in the same color family such as a hunter green package with a light green light or a deep red with a pink light. This will avoid unpleasant color clashing. Color also influences our mood. Remember that colors in the blue family will have more of a calming effect where reds tend to excite and stimulate.

2.  Interactive Merchandising

On average, people spend 5-8 minutes in the fitting room. But what if you never have to step foot in a dressing room again? The use of virtual reality, coding technology, and motion sensors make shopping more interactive and digital.

Mac Cosmetics recently launched their “Virtual Try-on Mirror” that lets customers try different makeup styles without ever putting a drop of makeup on their skin. Meanwhile, UGG Australia’s touch screen displays allows customers to customize, order, and research products within the store. The lesson here? Get customers involved. Whether it be incorporating tablets for use on displays, in store demos, or digital kiosks, boost your strategy by offering opportunities for shoppers to engage.

🇺🇸 | Learn about the mirror launched by MAC Cosmetics in the US this week that allows customers to preview how certain MAC shades and looks will appear when applied to their own faces. https://hubs.ly/H09cDFz0 

3. Neuromarketing

 Neuromarketing addresses the psychology behind buying habits and preferences.The field of is still young, but initial research can reveal how cues, like color, visuals, audio frequency, light, and smell influence the buying experience on a neurological level.

Although it may hard to get your hands on some of this groundbreaking research, it can be helpful to analyze the psychology of buying until further developments are made. Getting to know the overall ambience of your store from the type of music to the warmth of lighting can cue shoppers to make a purchase. There are also options such as tracking consumer’s eye movements and psychological tricks like removing the dollar sign from price tags that might be more accessible than the more advanced EEG and fMRI s

4. Augmented Reality

Virtual reality helps consumers conceptualize a product in a way that was impossible before modern tech. Now, they can see products in action before ever making a purchase.

TopShop currently gives virtual reality glasses to shoppers so that they can feel like they are front seat by the runway, seeing the clothes be worn and real time and helping them visualize how they could incorporate the clothes into their own wardrobe. These augmented reality applications provide customers the chance to “try on clothes” or other products in a totally new way! You can get virtual reality glasses that put your shoppers into the right mindset or environment with videos and images that communicate your story and mission. 

5. Minimalism

Keep it simple. Distractions are at an all time high, so it can be a refreshing change to clear the sensory clutter fogging our focus. Flashy decorations and displays are good attention grabbers, but they can ultimately distract from the true vision of a product.

Some retailers have manufactured entire spaces to reflect clean lines, sharp edges, and bright spaces. These kinds of setups allow you to showcase your product instead of hiding it. Use clearly defined lines which can be crafted from metal space that refines otherwise soft spaces. Neutral colors also contribute to the minimalist aesthetic and allow your product to pop. While you may not have control of your entire retail space, you can reflect the minimalist spirit in your displays using open space, whites and beiges, and avoiding overcrowding.

SaveDesign MilkThe Miami-based brand, Miansai, designed a SoCal space in Venice that reflects its accessories line: minimalist, laid-back, refined.16Andras KokaiRetail Interiors

All five trends display a certain level of consumer centrism. The tools work to provide shoppers with an environment focused on them. The styles, technology, and techniques prime the shopper while also ramping up energy and excitement with cool features.