Louise Gratton, Merchandising & POP Manager at Häfele UK, explains how you can use your space to best effect.
Retail/selling space is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. Used correctly, it can yield massive sales growth and provide great returns on investment. Used incorrectly, it can turn your shop into a jumble sale or dumping ground.
Merchandising is the science and practice of how we display goods and services to highlight their features and benefits, to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. Using POP or ‘Point of Purchase’ (the term for the physical pieces of display and messaging, often erroneously referred to as POS or Point of Sale) to help deliver your merchandising strategy is a proven way to turn a passive browser into an active buyer.
Whether in B2C or B2B environments, we all make purchases in a sub conscious state with thousands of messages bombarding us as we walk into any environment selling products. We have to be selective and switch off our conscious brain in order to get the job done. The role of POP is to bring customers out of that mode, focus them on the message, create impact — and ultimately lead to a purchase.
Shopping of any kind is a learned and repeated behaviour, especially in familiar environments. POP can be used to break this cycle, especially in the trade area where the tradesperson is proven to be extremely habitual. So, how do you make your space work for you?
No matter how much space you have to display your products, organise it in a logical way for the mental journey your customer makes when buying products. Try segmenting your products by usage, rather than type i.e. when they buy a hammer, do they need nails? When they buy paint, they’ll need brushes, rollers and dust sheets, etc.
Group products by what they do rather than by what they are. Use POP to highlight the links between products — printing barker cards, wobblers or shelf edge stripping can all be useful to suggest secondary purchases connected to an item. Link products together so your customer doesn’t have to.
Use adjacency to encourage trade up — put the more expensive version of a product at eye line and the cheaper alternative just below, with POP to highlight the features and benefits or USP of the more expensive product. The most effective messaging is between waist height and head height.
Familiarity can breed contempt as people ignore what they are used to seeing. If your customer enters your trade counter area and always see the same thing, their conscious mind will ignore it. Disrupt the status quo by changing two or three key areas regularly. Don’t change everything round, as this will just annoy people, but use POP to highlight the changes and help identify the offers — for example, hanging headers, dump bins or display tables.
Customer Experience in a ‘buzz’ phrase becoming more prevalent in B2C. All you need to do is watch how your customer shops, how they move through the space immediately after they enter the door — where do they look and what path do they follow?
Put promotional items ever-so slightly in their way, either in a dumpbin or another merchandised unit. If you have the room, add footprints to the floor to encourage people to walk around the space in a particular way — it’s amazing what the subconscious will pick up on.
Think about investing in some permanent fixtures that you can change the header, shelf edges or side panels to highlight changes in product. Pictures say a thousand words and nothing works better than a large image of a desirable product with a competitive price point in a prominent position
Don’t be afraid to ask your regular customers what they think of your proposals. Show them ideas and get their opinions, maybe even form a small focus group to try out new concepts before you launch them fully in the store environment.
Have a quick tidy up at the end of every day, as there’s nothing worse than untidy shelves, floors and environments. It makes it easier to clean and saves time first thing when you can be “facing up” your product — a retail trick that makes sure all the product displayed is facing the right way, any gaps are filled and everything is shown off to its best. Product manufacturers think a lot about the packaging — make it work for you.
Think about your environment as a whole and develop a holistic experience for your customer. For everything you introduce or change, ask yourself which of the following it fulfils:
- Building a brand identity in store
- Creating disruption
- Educating and informing
- Encouraging a trial
- Aiding comparison
- Reminding and reassuring from a message in another channel e.g. brochure, TV
- Upselling or substituting a purchase
- Illustrating product usage
Don’t know where to get started?
Talk to your product suppliers as they often have people in merchandising or POP roles who are there to help promote their products.
Alternately there is a specialist independent, non-profit association, called POPAI (www.popai.co.uk) with almost 200 retailer, brand owner and agency members. It promotes best practice, runs awards, conferences and research dedicated to enhancing the total shopper experience for B2C and B2B environments.
Phil Day, POPAI Director, said: “Our research shows trade shoppers have the same behaviours as those in regular retail channels. In that key moment, the tradesperson is open to messaging, often has a higher-than-average dwell time, whilst waiting for stock, and responds well to carefully planned retail spaces. Retailers and brand owners that pay attention to the trade shopper and their habits, responding with well thought-out displays, messaging and promotions are proven to increase sales and have more satisfied customers.”
Established as a leading brand amongst those in the trade, Häfele has been helping people make the most of their homes for nearly 100 years. Now a worldwide respected name in more than 50 countries, Häfele is built on solid foundations, including the highest quality products, a commitment to improving the way furniture works and looks, and most importantly, a passion for outstanding customer service.