When searching for the right ingredients that can make a retail store stand out, especially in an increasingly crowded, competitive landscape, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) notes that top products and experienced salespeople are half the battle in retail sales. The other halfpossibly the most difficult halfis merchandising a store so that the quality of its products stand out and the sales force has the opportunity to service customers properly.
SEMA advises that setting up displays, arranging counters and fixtures, designing floor space and a store's layout all are crucial to a retail operation's success.
The Diamond Bar, Calif.-based trade group offers the following tips to help accomplish that:
1. Group products together. Ensure that tie-in accessories are near the higher-ticket items. The add-on products can increase sales significantly.
2. Arrange similar products by price point, lowest to highest. That makes it easier for a salesperson to upsell the customer by comparing features.
3. Utilize name brands. Brands reinforce the customer's trust in the products you sell. Never underestimate the power of name recognition.
4. Stay organized. Clean, orderly and artful displays reflect pride in your products and increase their perceived value.
5. Use the right fixture. Never try to repurpose a fixture for something it wasn't intended to do. Always check for weight capacity and structural integrity, especially with freestanding merchandisers.
6. Be consistent when merchandising quantities of shelved or carded goods: smaller item to the left, larger on the right, small on top, larger on the bottom and so on. High-profit items should be at eye level. Don't make your customers struggle to find what they're looking for.
7. Be sure that categories are clearly indicated. Signage is your best friend and a free salesperson, but handwritten signs can send the wrong message. Professional signage is always a good idea.
8. Be sure lighting is bright enough. Nothing makes people happier than being able to see.
9. Place new or high-profit products where your customers can't miss them. Find your store's hot spot and change displays frequently there to encourage sales.
10. Be innovative. Seek out new products, new display methods and new ideas. Always be planning your next sale. Get into your customer's head and anticipate their needs.
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