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What is Merchandising and Why is It Important for Small Businesses?

Merchandising is crucial for small retail businesses as it will increase the sales of your products and services. Total merchandise usually involves a retail business, with shop marketing strategies aimed at driving up sales through the presentation of your products or services. 

There is a strong visual element to retail merchandising as the sales journey a customer undertakes will usually begin with what they see with their own eyes as they pass through a store.

What is merchandising?

Merchandising refers to how you promote your products, such as the pricing structure between related products and any special deals on offer, as well as how you present and display the products or services themselves. The idea is to use these aspects and other techniques to influence a prospective customer’s buying decisions. 

To benefit the most from merchandising, you must learn how to display your products and services to maximise sales by presenting them at the right time and in the right place. You will also want the perfect amount of product in the presentation, and of course they must be at the right price.

What is visual merchandising?

Getting more specific about what is merchandising allows us to explore the visual aspect of this important marketing strategy. The most obvious part of visual merchandising is the in-store displays, including window displays and special promotions.

The signage on and around the product aisles and shelves also play a big part in this, attracting attention and imparting information at the same time. For example, an aisle or shelf sign can simply inform a customer of where to locate certain items, but it can also make them aware of a special offer that may interest them.

A more subtle part of visual merchandising is grouping related products together. It might seem that this is more to do with convenience, but that is more of a by-product benefit of merchandising. By presenting all the options of a particular product in the same place, you actually maximise the chances of a customer deciding to buy the one that appeals to them the most.

Keeping shelves well stocked is another important part of visual merchandising, as it is more appealing for customers than bare shelves that might indicate something better than what’s left has sold out.

Other merchandising techniques

You can also increase sales with a variety of branded merchandise techniques. A good way to introduce new products and brands is in-store demonstrations, which allow a customer to see how a particular product works. This makes the customer feel familiar with the new product and thus more likely to buy it either now or in the future. Similarly, samples and giveaways perform a similar trick but without the need for a big demonstration.

In-store adverts also drive up sales by informing customers of offers and deals that they might not have encountered while shopping only for the items they originally wanted. Suggestion is powerful so this is an excellent strategy for growing sales.

One more trick of the mind to perform at a store is the spotlighting of promotional products. This makes them stand out and appear special to the customer, who will be inclined to pay more attention to them instead of simply ignoring much of the visual noise that they encounter throughout a store.

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