By employing effective merchandising techniques at your rental store, you make your selling job easier, according to information from the National Retail Hardware Association. And increasing retail sales at your rental operation can boost your bottom line considerably.
Effective merchandising encourages most customers to serve themselves, thus freeing you to help those who really need your help. In addition, good merchandising does the following:
- Increases your sales per customer. Even when you serve a customer, an attractive merchandising arrangement will stimulate extra sales.
- Raises your total sales. You can only wait on one customer at a time, but many customers can serve themselves at the same time from the displays you build.
Suggestions for success
Merchandising is not some mysterious art only a few possess. Merchandising is daily display activities that almost anyone can do if he or she works at it. Effective merchandisers:
- Put attractive displays, provided by manufacturers and wholesalers, to work for them.
- Use effectively the many point-of-sale pieces he receives.
- Displays related merchandise together for increased impulse sales.
- Features all advertised and promoted items.
- Ensures that all displays are neat, well-stocked and accessible to customers.
- Prices all items consistently. Updates all prices when they change. Makes sure the store is as competitive as possible.
- Allocates space to each department in line with that department's sales.
- Identifies all departments with signs or attractive decor or both.
Relating space to volume
For maximum sales, the amount of space a department occupies should relate to the volume the department generates. Keep in mind you should display what your customers are interested in.
The only way to know how much space you should allocate is to routinely check the store's record of sales per square foot for each department.
The space a store allocates to a department must change constantly. The seasons affect all departments to a greater or lesser degree. The most profitable businesses allocate high-traffic areas to seasonal merchandise, regularly changing the display with the seasons.
Make it effective
Good merchandising is not simply an attractive display. Merchandising, to be effective, makes the entire showroom inviting. No store is well merchandised until all areas of its salesfloor are appealing and easily accessible to shoppers. Effective merchandising demands:
A well-planned salesfloor. Assign every department a specific display area.
Fixtures and accessories designed for the merchandise they display. Stores waste space and lose sales per square foot when they do not use the correct shelf profile and accessories for each merchandise category.
Adequate aisle space. The best display loses selling power if merchandise blocks the aisles and shoppers cannot reach it.
Inviting displays. A display is more than merchandise on a fixture. The items must be clean, the display complete (which means you have to restock the fixture regularly) and the backup stock nearby.
Attractive signs and decor. Signs and decor serve two basic purposes: they create a buying and shopping mood and help direct customers into all areas of your showroom.
The displays at the end of each gondola run, called feature ends or end caps, are highly effective. The effectiveness, however, depends on:
- The display's attractiveness
- The merchandise's seasonal nature
- Location in the store
- Relationship to surrounding merchandise
- How well it has been advertised or promoted
- Ease of accessibility
In actual in-store studies conducted by NRHA, some end displays have moved merchandise up to eight times as fast as an identical display just around the corner.
Never crowd the customer by reducing aisle space. There are three basic aisle types in a store:
Main aisles, where major customer traffic is routed, are normally limited to one or two aisles from the front to the rear of the store. Main aisles should be five to six feet wide.