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Why does retail merchandising matter?

Why does retail merchandising matter?

When was the last time you went into a shop where there was no merchandising at all? We’d hazard a guess it has never happened. Even the big tradespeople’s warehouse stores are full of it, when these are probably the savviest customers going – they know exactly what they’re there for, and are unlikely to be swayed by a promotional display.

That proves that it’s about much more than showing and advertising your product. Merchandising is as much about letting customers know you’re speaking their language as it is about prettifying the store. 

Among the most important purposes of merchandising is maintaining brand recognition. If you were taken blindfolded into a Boots and a Superdrug and then told to remove the mask, you’d know instantly where you were, even though their ranges are similar. Achieving that level of familiarity is gold dust for brands, because one of the key motivating factors of branding is to achieve recognition and trust. And trust converts into loyalty.

Winning loyalty

Of course, that loyalty and trust have to be earned in the first place, and merchandising has an important role in converting passers-by into customers. From the window displays and street-facing signage to the demo stands and POS displays, merchandising is the magnet that draws people in.

The styling and mood all comes into play here. You can make your store look exclusive by having natural looking shelving, subtle lighting and minimal marketing materials on display, as well as placing fewer products on the shelves.

But if you’re piling high and selling cheap, looking exclusive is the last thing you want – it’s all about looking available, welcoming, affordable and abundant. This is where colours and bold messaging all come into play. 

Stores that occupy the middle ground can use the same grammar to compartmentalise their floor space, with certain areas looking more exclusive than others. It’s perfect for delineating premium and budget ranges, for example, without requiring separate properties to sell them. Department stores excel at this kind of customer-specific merchandising.

Influencing the customer journey

Online retailers love to talk about the customer journey and the sales funnel as though it’s unique to the online space. 

But over in the aisles we’ve been doing it for decades. Merchandising can be used to influence customer decisions by subtly guiding them towards products that the store is targeting. 

The guidance can be achieved through signage and the flow of store layout, but within a section of the store, more direct merchandising applications can steer customers towards certain products or groups of products. It might be something as straightforward as using a different colour, or it could be a wider ranging change of mood in a certain area.

The best laid planograms

You’re hopefully convinced that thought-out retail merchandising is important, and you’ll be putting your plans into action. That’s when you need a partner who can carry out all your merchandising installation and maintenance, and help you with all aspects of design, surveys and field marketing well into the future. 

CJ Retail Solutions has the staff, the equipment and the expertise to get the job done. Why not get in touch to see how we can help your stores?