Happy New Year

The start of a new school year is an excellent time to flip some new leaves with your merchandising efforts. Here are some ideas to get you launched:

Give your customers room to breathe. Leave plenty of room down your aisles and around your corners (at least four feet between fixtures and six feet between fixtures and walls). Nobody likes navigating a cramped store.

Tell them an evocative story. Better yet, tell them a nostalgic one. Studies say nostalgia sells, and that the tug to the heart encourages people to loosen their purse strings.

Display for the newbie, not the pro. Specialty shops shouldn’t be afraid to make assumptions about their expert visitors’ ability to find what they need; it’s the beginner who needs logical merchandising.

Make it look like a rare deal. Marketing guru Martin Lindstrom found that adding the sentence “maximum 8 cans per customer” to the price tag of soup cans caused sales to jump, even if no discount was actually offered, because it gave the illusion of one.

Sidestep patterns. As cute as your pristine arrangement of skin creams might be, avoid it. People are reluctant to disrupt designs.

Reduce choice. Sometimes, you do your customers a favour by limiting their options. The more exclusive your product count within a category, the more you free shoppers up from onerous decision-making.

Display on the up. Science says people’s scope of lateral vision is only about two-and-a-half feet wide. Make the most of this restricted reality by going vertical, instead of horizontal. Put less-expensive stuff on the left and larger items beneath smaller ones.

Hit ’em between the knees. Or at least between the knees and eyes, the optimal spot for displaying merchandise.

Make them walk. By arranging your floor space with the staples and sure bets at the back, you force customers to stroll past other merchandise they might not otherwise have encountered.

Merchandising