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What Your Merchandising Tells Your Customers

Merchandising has a lot to say to shoppers. It shapes their perception of your pricing, inventory position and expected level of customer service, and it can influence how much they buy. Powerful merchandising can build your average transaction size and help customers find what they need quickly.

Hardware Retailing editors have been collecting photos of compelling displays that send customers a message. Each display can influence shoppers in a specific way, such as help them with projects, alert them to a bargain price or encourage add-on sales.

Use these ideas from retailers across the U.S. and Canada for inspiration as you develop your merchandising strategy for the coming months. Even if you are not allowing customers to spend much time browsing the store right now, you want to be ready with fresh display ideas when customers start coming back. 

Visit this department.
At Harris Home Hardware in London, Ontario, these endcaps introduce the rest of the department and draw customers deeper into the aisle. “We want everyone who enters our store to feel welcome and intrigued to see what is over there,” says Kevin Harris, store manager. The endcaps also help join two departments, housewares and home goods, so customers are more likely to visit both. 

Find something unique.
Homemade endcap displays at Harris Home Hardware slow down customers and encourage them to browse. They also give the signal that there’s something unique about the store’s product selection. “These displays add flair to the area that a regular endcap would never be able to do,” says Harris. “They add something a little different than what customers normally see, and that can make all the difference in retail.”

Focus on lifestyle.
Creative labeling at Outdoor Supply Hardware in Napa, California, gives departments the feeling of a destination where customers can outfit their lifestyle. Custom signage and a little creativity can go a long way in catching shoppers’ attention and enhancing their overall shopping experience. Give your store a unique flair, and customers will be more likely to remember  you the next time they plan a shopping trip.

Projects start here.
Wendy Weiler, owner of Sunbury Ace Hardware in Sunbury, Ohio, says an effective project display inspires customers to start projects. “Maybe they weren’t thinking about painting, but if they come into the store and it’s 50 percent off, they might change their mind,” she says. “We also put something in there they may not have thought about, like the ladder, as a suggested add-on sale.”

Point them in the right direction.
Bulky inventory normally stocked in the lumberyard gets fair play at Central Valley in Napa, California. Garret Ippolito, chief marketing and merchandising officer, uses strategically placed signs and TVs to make sure items such as fencing or straw bales don’t go unnoticed. “If something is out of sight, it’s out of mind, so we bring those hidden items front and center and let customers know what we have,” he says.

6 Components of An Effective Display

6 Components of An Effective Display

  1. Sharp Assembly
    Show products assembled and out of the box so customers can touch them and understand how they work.
  2. Curated Assortment
    Let customers see the wide assortment of products you carry in the highlighted category and how it differs from your competitors.
  3. Targeted Signage
    Reinforce your merchandising message with signage; in this case telling customers about your ability to serve a specific customer group.
  4. Seasonal Suggestions
    Change displays with the season to remind customers of the products they’ll need for upcoming projects.
  5. Add-on Sales
    Boost transaction size by suggesting the necessary accessories that go with the tool or project you are selling.
  6. Custom Displayer
    You likely can construct a simple but effective merchandiser using materials you already have around the store.

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