Retail is a tough game. Even the best retailers are challenged by competition and changing consumer needs. So, brands need to be successful in order to keep operating. One way to increase sales is through merchandising. This is the act of developing and distributing the products your business offers. Merchandising strategies will continue to play a crucial role in the success of your retail business. Whether it’s driving traffic to more profitable categories or building excitement by creating a buzz around a new brand or product line, these strategies are valuable tools that deliver results. Most importantly, these strategies allow you to stay relevant in an already competitive industry.
With an effective merchandising strategy, retailers can cultivate a unique and reliable operation that draws shoppers’ attention to their products and builds brand loyalty. Here are some of the most effective and useful strategies for effective retail merchandising:
10 Best Retail Merchandising Strategies for Retail Success
Well-defined merchandising strategies can help retailers maximize revenue and increase sales. To attract and retain customers, retailers should implement the following best practices.
1. Develop a customer-centric merchandising strategy
Successful retail merchandising starts with the right insights, and the best information always comes directly from the customer journey. It includes all the stages a shopper goes through when interacting with a brand’s products or services. Many customers, for example, prefer to visit a store to physically experience a product.
Retailers can use this to their advantage and display products so that customers can feel, see and try them before purchasing. Offering free samples, placing the search bar in an eye-catching location on the site, or using a live chat feature to facilitate product purchases can enhance the experience. This will allow buyers to actively engage with the brand and ensure they are happy with their purchase.
2. Focus on branding and storytelling
Retailers need to determine how to convey their brand through their products and create a narrative about their mission or values. For example, unique packaging or a small statement printed on an item’s label can raise consumer awareness of the company’s brand.
Additionally, retailers can use their social media to demonstrate their unique tone and style. Using sound, motion technology, and scent to create interactive displays can help customers connect emotionally with a brand and encourage loyalty to the company.
3. A unique and attractive visual display
The placement of an item on the shelves is critical to attracting the customer’s attention. Retailers should consider placing their profitable, fast-moving products at eye level on the shelves or displaying them in the center of their store.
From window displays to signage and the overall store layout, effective visual merchandising techniques work consistently to reflect the brand, attract the customer and increase sales. The following visual merchandising techniques can increase foot traffic and sales.
- Innovative and eye-catching in-store and window display to attract customers.
- Advocate for premium shelf space
- Be specific and easy-to-read signage to make shopping a positive experience.
- Display new products near the entrance
- Group products in a popular contemporary theme and colors for easier, more enjoyable shopping.
- Keep your store well lit – Lighting is very important to merchandising.
- Implement cross-merchandising
- Use technology and digital data in-store to provide relevant product information, such as videos, images, etc.
- Use banners for advertising
- Create experiential retail displays
4. Identify the reasons why customers don’t buy
Retailers must not only understand what their consumers want but also identify what they don’t like. Often, a customer won’t buy a specific product because of its packaging or the way it’s presented in the store.
By determining what turns customers off, retailers can take steps to improve their products. Asking for ratings and feedback on a product can help you identify customer needs and expectations.
5. Maintain optimal inventory and avoid stock-outs
Constantly being out of stock of certain products can have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line and its customer base. When goods are not available, the retailer loses a sale, and customers are more likely to buy from competitors.
Businesses can gain better insight into their inventory levels by implementing inventory management software. These integrated tools allow managers to track their inventory in real-time and receive alerts when product quantities are low. This will help retailers upsell, cross-sell, and bundle products that consistently maintain optimal inventory levels to meet customer demands.
6. Conduct research on merchandising trends
Keeping up with new retail merchandising trends will give companies an edge over their slower-moving competitors. For example, recent trends show that influencer marketing and ethical brands are on the rise. Apparel retailers can improve their merchandising strategy by incorporating these trends into their operations.
Retailers can identify people on social media who have a large following and a similar style to their brand and ask them to advertise their clothing. Retailers can also innovate their production processes, include more ethical practices, and inform their consumers of these changes.
7. Balance merchandising volatility
External factors such as supply chain challenges, inflationary prices, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical factors influence demand. In addition, climate, employment conditions, and wages, both environmental and social, are volatile factors that retailers must always consider and incorporate into their plans.
Retailers can turn these challenges into opportunities if they make bold and deliberate decisions. The right retail merchandising tools and effective operational management can help you survive and even thrive during tough economic times.
8. Collaboration with staff and suppliers
With the full collaboration of executives, managers, and employees, the company can attract customers effectively and make sales. Merchandising strategies must be communicated thoroughly to the sales team to ensure that they know how to present and promote the store’s products and services. Since employees work directly with customers, providing display-related training and collecting feedback can also help retail managers improve their strategies.
Collaborate with manufacturers on pricing. Since fluctuations in commodity prices affect retail prices, alignment with suppliers is essential so retailers can adjust the prices to maintain profitability, even if consumers have to pay a little more.
There are many elements to a successful merchandising strategy, but with careful planning, retailers will be able to captivate customers and outperform their competitors.
9. Advanced fulfillment channels
Leading retailers are making it easy for customers to pick up their online orders at brick-and-mortar stores (BOPIS) in order to stay customer-centric. In-store pickup mitigates pain points for both retailers and their customers and attempts to make in-store commerce an advantage over online competitors. Inventory management for both online and in-store sales is a major challenge for retailers, and the more normal it becomes to use BOPIS, the more important it becomes to get better at finding that balance.
10. Use integrated technology to achieve retail success
Retailers, whether online or brick-and-mortar, can improve their merchandising operations simply by adding a solution to their operations. Digital transformation can help retailers understand the financial impacts of trade-offs and enable advanced decision-making in their merchandising processes. This requires a merchandising software solution that delivers high performance, increases foot traffic, and boosts your sales, profits, and reputation.
Improve your merchandising in the 21st century. Don’t get left behind. ChainDrive merchandising software helps you win across the retail chain and optimize your merchandising operations. Get a free online demo today with one of our merchandising experts to grow your retail business.