Merchandising, also known as display marketing, is the presentation of products in visually appealing ways in order to generate consumer interest and improve sales. Used primarily in brick-and-mortar retail, a well-designed merchandising strategy can transform any shopping environment and help differentiate a store from its competitors.
There are three main points that are top of mind when it comes to effective merchandising: strategize, plan, and execute. Below are some of my secrets to merchandising successfully.
Many businesses don’t ask themselves the basic questions they need to answer in order to build a successful merchandising strategy. Questions like:
- What is my overall story or message?
- Who is my target audience?
- Am I featuring a brand or category?
- Do brands or products in my assortment compete against each other?
Answering questions like these will help you build a strong strategy and get you prepared for step two: planning.
If there is one piece of advice I can give when it comes to planning, it is do your research. You want to ensure that you effectively plan based on the strategy you just laid out.
It’s important to give yourself some time and determine how you are going to communicate your plan. Do you need sketches? A planogram? A deck? Make sure you determine your budget and stick to it using a spreadsheet—I love a good spreadsheet! Once you have determined your budget, it’s time to purchase products and prepare your area.
What’s the aesthetic? Modern? Farmhouse? Boho? Once you have this figured out, you can order the necessary supplies. Always over order and keep your receipts—you can return what you don’t use. Once everything has arrived, make sure your area is clean, and then you’ll be ready for step three: execution.
Now it’s time for the fun part—bringing your idea to life. My biggest piece of advice is to prepare for things to go wrong and don’t sweat the small stuff. Merchandising is all about the bigger picture, and while the minor details are important, the bigger picture of driving sales is paramount.
A few more questions to ask yourself at this critical juncture:
- Do you have enough help?
- Did you properly brief your team prior to execution?
- Do you have all your supplies?
Now place your products where you think they belong, take a step back, and breathe. Sometimes seeing something on a shelf will give you a new idea. Don’t be afraid to make some changes—that’s ok! Once you have everything in place and to your liking, snap some pictures and a few moments to appreciate all your hard work!
As the director of marketing for Greenlane Holdings, Lauren Drury oversees the company’s marketing and creative teams and is responsible for the execution of product launches, trade shows, events, public relations, and promotional strategy. Over the past three years, she has led the team through twenty-five successful trade shows and helped to onboard and launch more than fifteen brands.