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Five Ways to Cross Merchandise

Cross merchandising is one of the best ways to increase sales because it gives customers a reminder of an item they might have otherwise forgotten. Encouraging this add-on sale not only increases your average transaction size, but it is also a function of customer service. You are helping the customer get everything they need, and saving them a trip to another part of the store.

Most home improvement retailers already incorporate some cross merchandising in their stores, for example, by putting batteries near the flashlights or garden gloves near the long-handled tools. But are there more opportunities you might be missing? Consider these suggestions as you get your store ready for the fall and winter months.

Look for Projects

Most cross merchandising opportunities lie within project sales. You might put clip strips of solder and flux near the copper pipe, for example, because it’s an essential part of the project. It should be easy for customers to make the connection as to why the products are merchandised next to each other. In some cases, you may need to do more than simply place the products next to each other; you may need to have project how-to information nearby to help customers make the connection.

Use Impulse Items

Other items in the store may have little to do with a specific project; they may just be pure impulse. Candy and snacks, a tried-and-true impulse item for example, are typically near the checkout counter. Don’t be afraid to try them elsewhere, such as by the contractor desk or at some location further back in the store. Putting a product where customers don’t expect to see it may encourage a sale.

Identify Your Best Sellers

If you have a list of products that seem to sell well across a wide range of customers, then don’t hide them in one place in the store. Choose a few to stock in multiple locations so customers have a greater chance of seeing them. Capitalize on your best sellers.

Find Seasonal Items

Don’t cross merchandise the same items year round – some will change with the seasons. Put ice melt near the snow shovels, for example. Each season, look through the store and find those products you can highlight together in seasonal areas and endcaps. The seasonal nature of the products also creates urgency to buy.

Be Creative

If done creatively, cross merchandising can also inspire customers with new ideas and make connections between two products they might otherwise have missed. For example, customers know they might need a new light bulb when they buy a new light fixture. But if you merchandise a dimmer switch nearby, you might plant in their minds the idea for an additional project.


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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