How do you attract new customers to your store—and keep existing customers coming back? Effective merchandising is a key part of any retailer’s marketing mix and can be the difference between profit and loss.
Here are seven tips for successful retail merchandising that will ensure you don’t fall short.
1. Attract attention to the outside of your store and encourage walk-in traffic with distinctive signage. If your location requires a lengthy permit procedure before your permanent sign can be installed, a temporary sign can be a great way to let customers know you’re open for business.
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2. Be sure your business name, phone number and hours of operation are prominently displayed on the window or door. That way, even customers who stop by when you’re closed will know when to come back. Vinyl lettering that can be customized and applied to glass or any smooth surface is an easy and affordable option.
3. Appeal to shoppers’ senses. When you think of merchandising, you probably think of visuals—but touch, smell and sound are just as important. Soft or lively music, pleasant scents and a variety of product and display textures will entice shoppers to spend more time—and money—in your store.
4. Do you want to attract attention at night or in an area with lots of competition? Backlit prints in an LED light box can give your window displays a vibrant touch that catches the eyes of passersby.
5. Speed it up. Shoppers are in a hurry, so make sure displays and locations of items in the store are clearly marked with interior signage. Colorful decals that are easy to apply on walls or floors can alert customers where to go (“Checkout Here”), identify aisles (“Accessories”) or highlight promotions (“Big Sale This Way!”).
6.Give your customers ideas. Inspire shoppers to buy by merchandising products in ways they can visualize using them at home. For instance, a nursery could display a wheelbarrow accessorized with garden trowels, potted plants, seeds, gardening gloves and a straw hat. A clothing boutique could display a blouse accessorized with a handbag, necklace and belt.
7.Change it up. Change your merchandising frequently (at least once a month; ideally once a week) so shoppers are motivated to come back often and see what’s new. Using posters in your store or display windows is an affordable way to mix things up without breaking the bank. Add variety to your outdoor signage, too, by using colorful outdoor banners to advertise special events or seasonal promotions.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.