A look into the world of merchandising.
What is Merchandising?
Merchandising is the act of promoting the sale of goods that usually consists of sales, special offers, flashy displays, and several other techniques made to influence the customers’ perspective on the product and ultimately, their buying decisions. We can also define merchandising as putting your products at the perfect time, at the right place, the right number/quantity, and at the right price to drive sales upwards of maximum.
It is everything the business does to boost the number of sales with promotional offers. Merchandising is often seen in a typical retail setting as their products are available for sale and will usually get promotional offers during peak seasons. It’s undeniable that the sale process starts with the eyes being enticed by a good deal or a huge price cut. This is the power of merchandising. It typically involves products being as flashy and attention-catching to try and encourage the consumers to come to their store and purchase their items.
Does my business need merchandising?
It primarily depends on your business’ niche. Merchandising is often used and seen in brick-and-mortar retail stores like your typical grocery store. Retailers at times may be seen using the same merchandise but utilize different merchandising strategies to make their business stand out from their retail competitors. Factors like branding, packaging, visual display, offers, sales, and many more come into play when a retailer decides to apply merchandise to their business. In many cases, this also causes a surge in foot traffic, sales, new customers, better customer loyalty, and popularity. Merchandising is powerful as it can turn retail stores into a place where shoppers would love to be.
With that said, it is also possible to merchandise online. While the mechanics and overall strategies won’t be the same as your brick-and-mortar retail stores, the same general idea is applied. Put flashy advertisements with offers that consumers would not be able to resist and reel them into your online store. Another good technique would be uploading high-quality photos of your product with all angles covered to assure your customers of its quality. You can also be creative with how you build your online retail store and entice your customers with witty descriptions.
Why is merchandising important, and what tips can you give?
This won’t be a “what is merchandising” guide without determining its importance to businesses. It goes without saying that the product themselves are important. But what’s more important is how they are presented to the public and how they are used to change the buyers’ perspective and purchase decisions. Certain merchandising styles work best with specific business types, and when your business finds its perfect match regarding merchandising then you’re in for a good ride. Here are some of the best merchandising techniques and tips we can suggest:
- Variety. As consumers, we all love it when the competition is fierce as it drives down prices even further. It also means that options are endless and the choice is ours on what to get. A good example would be shopping for smartphones. South Korea’s tech giant Samsung successfully does variety by catering to every price point in the market. They have entry phones, budget phones, midrange phones, and of course their top of the line high-end phones (Samsung Galaxy S and Note Series). This variety and an overwhelming selection of smartphones ultimately benefit us, the consumers since we have the liberty to choose a smartphone that suits our needs and budget. Feeling like it’s time to upgrade to a phone that will last you several years? Then get their Galaxy S line of phones. Too low on budget? Their A series might be the one for you. Another good way of putting variety to your business is cross-merchandising. Cross merchandising is the practice of putting products that aren’t necessarily the same type of category together. Cross merchandising is well-known and utilized in grocery stores and department stores as it lures consumers to buy products they weren’t planning to get in the first place. If you see a sweets section near your grocery store’s produce section, then that’s an example of cross-merchandising.
- Quality. Variety is good and all, but if you prioritize quantity over quality then what’s the point? Improving your products’ quality will not only benefit you as a company since you are an innovator but also us, the consumers, who are wanting a product that will blow our minds. Let’s take the trillion-dollar company Apple and their line of products. Apple in a typical year only releases about two to three models of a brand new iPhone. On the contrary, Samsung saturates the market with a new release every two to three months or so. So how does this not negatively impact Apple’s sales and reputation? Simple, it’s because they settle for the highest quality when making their products with utmost minimalism and precision. It doesn’t mean that Samsung products are not of high quality per se, but when you hear the brand Apple, you just can’t avoid thinking about the top-notch quality of their iPhones. This is also a great marketing and merchandising move since people will be more inclined to think that your brand’s image revolves around unmatched quality and make.
- Flexibility. Merchandising definition isn’t only about variety or quality, but also flexibility. Merchandising will and should boost your sales and empty your stocks/inventory if done right. It also keeps your inventory rotation fresh which in turn keeps your retail store looking clean and new. It also enables your business to showcase new arrivals and the latest products to lure shoppers in. This tactic of merchandising is one of the best practices that businesses should do to help boost sales numbers and foot traffic. Got a candle business that is overstock with materials? Put them to good use and rotate your inventory to keep your business flowing smoothly.
- Use the internet and technology to your advantage. Take advantage of the power of social media and technology to expand the reach of your market. Post advertisements regarding your promotional offers, limited time offers, sales, etc. Create flashy banners and attention-grabbing photos to catch the eyes of would-be customers. Building a distinct website for your business is a good strategy too! It is never a loss to make use of the internet and social media to reach out to newer demographic and buyers. The beauty of it is that you won’t even have to leave your chair to get started. E-commerce has been a viable way to start merchandising because of how abundant smartphones and laptops nowadays are. Another tactic would be planning a giveaway on your social media sites while announcing the specific time and day the raffle would take place. This will pull in existing and new customers to your page to check out what’s the deal with your big giveaway. Starting a blog can be helpful too as customers will be constantly updated with your business’ milestones and achievements.
- Build a brand image that is going to be healthy for merchandising. While this is easier said than done, your brand image and reputation play a very important role in merchandising. Your everyday sales and frequent promotional offers won’t matter if the public does not have enough trust to instill upon your brand. Branding is what identifies and differentiates your products from your competitor. A good brand image and excellent branding tactics make your product distinct and set an impression on consumers that you are worthy of their hard-earned cash. A good example of excellent branding and brand image is yet again, Apple. Who would’ve thought that a simple logo of a bitten apple is going to define a trillion-dollar company? Another would be Nike. When we see the ever famous “white swoosh”, we instantly connect it with Nike as they have built and began their brand with their coveted swoosh.
- Make it easy for customers to access your offerings. With the help of the internet, this should not be a problem for you. Build a website and turn it into your e-commerce machine or write a script of code that will automate things for you. Whatever your forte may be, there will always be something to help you make things easy to access for everyone. Keeping everything transparent about your product is also a good way of keeping things accessible. Got a product that’s almost out of stock? Announce it or put it on your website! This makes it a breeze for everyone who wants to get their hands on your product.
- Stay consistent with your methods. It’s easy to get carried away with witnessing brands pull off something new, but if you observe carefully they never stray away from their traditions and ways in merchandising. If a “buy one take one” tactic has worked well for you last time, then don’t be shy to do it again. Or, if a 50% sale store-wide set records for your store’s foot traffic, then do a 50% sale that is store-wide again. If cross merchandising rakes in more revenue, then it should stay permanently. It’s fun to try new things, but doing techniques that have worked quite well for you last time is surely the way to go.