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scary endcap

Can Your Team Revive This Endcap?

Soon (if you haven’t started already) it will be time to decorate for fall festivities. The endcap on the left is appropriate to the season. It also might give you the creeps, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of an engaging display that draws in customers, disorganization has left this one lifeless. Do you have any suggestions for resurrecting it?

This year, Hardware Retailing is challenging you to improve your merchandising. Look through the displays in your store and see if you can spot the ones that need cleaning up. Then, use this exercise to help you recall some of the basic tenets of good merchandising. Decide what is wrong or what could be improved and then see the photos below for one option for cleaning it up. Let your employees give it a try, too.

There are many reasons an endcap might decay into disarray. One reason is that you might not have a plan for regular maintenance. A good endcap maintenance plan should include someone assigned to regularly making sure everything is in order. It also should include a plan for rotating each endcap, generally once a month. If endcaps always have the same items and start to look like every other aisle in the store, customers might overlook them. When that happens, you are wasting a valuable merchandising opportunity.

As some of the most looked-at displays in your store, endcaps are a prime venue for displaying new products and promotional pricing. They can also highlight some of the unique items you have to offer. Coordinate what you put on an endcap with the seasons to give the shopper a sense of urgency to buy. As with all displays, creativity will help your endcaps stand out, but it won’t make up for a messy construction or dirty shelves.

scary endcap before and after

1. The Abandoned Shelf
Having an empty shelf anywhere in the store can make a bad impression on customers. It gives them the idea that you are low on inventory and might not have what they need. But having an empty shelf on a prominent endcap is a particularly wasteful use of space. As a general rule, if you are running low on whatever product you are promoting on an endcap, it’s time to rotate that product out and bring in something new. Then, assign someone to keep an eye on it throughout the day to keep it full. Also, if shelving is starting to look dirty, clean it or give it a new coat of paint.

2. Colorful Costumes
These brown boxes are bland and hide whatever is inside. When choosing what goes on an endcap, look for items with color that will catch shoppers’ attention. Many products have colorful, informative packaging that can be an effective sales aide. However, there are times when it’s better to put emphasis on the product. In these cases, take the item out of the box so customers can pick it up and examine it. Once they have it in their hand, the chance that they will buy it increases. Leave the plain brown boxes in the storage room and put some color on the shelf.

3. Strangers in the Night
Endcaps should not be a catchall for merchandise you can’t fit somewhere else in the store. Every item on an endcap should be related in some way, whether they are similar items or part of a project. You can also combine an advertised item with nonadvertised items to suggest something customers might not have otherwise seen. Be on the lookout, too, for products customers may have left on an endcap that they decided not to purchase. Returning orphan items to their proper home will keep displays clean and help with inventory management.

4. Extra Treats
These baskets offer a creative twist on the standard sidewinder. They hold a few extra items customers might also be interested in when they’re looking at what’s on the endcap. Grouping similar items together or promoting the entire project will build the transaction size with add-on sales. It will also reinforce the breadth of product you have available. Unfortunately, there may be a lot of items customers don’t know you carry because they haven’t explored the entire store. Endcaps are one of the best ways to get them in front of customers and into the shopping cart.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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