Profitable Times Newsletter

A Checklist of Critical Merchandise Display Factors

Things a Great Merchandise Display Can Do For Your Store

  1. Sell More Merchandise
  2. Encourage Customers to Linger
  3. Sell More Merchandise
  4. Move Customers Throughout the Store
  5. Sell More Merchandise
  6. Enhance the Image of Your Store
  7. Sell More Merchandise
  8. Increase Your Average Transaction
  9. Sell More Merchandise

And yet, most stores do little more than throw things together for their displays.

Consider each item on this checklist every time you build a display in your store... it will result in increased sales!

1. Plan Your Display

This must be the first step if you expect to make good use of the remaining checklist. What's the purpose of the display — to introduce new products, highlight slow moving items? What merchandise do you want to promote? What's the theme?

2. Let the Merchandise Be the Star

Unlike Disney® or Sesame Street® type stores, you want your customers to focus on the merchandise. As you plan your display make sure the star is the merchandise, not the displays themselves.

3. Buy Products That Show Well

Other things being equal, if one product is packaged more attractively, has richer colors or a sharper design, buy the one that will make your selling and merchandising job easier.

4. Pay Attention to the Details — Your Customers Will!

I'm a backpacker. I learned a long time ago; when preparing your pack, if you take care of the ounces the pounds will take care of themselves. So too with displays. If you use this checklist to take care of the details, you will end up with a powerful, revenue generating display.

5. Color is (arguably) the Most Important Factor, and its Inexpensive to Change

Which of the following colors should you use to bring the right feeling to your display?

  • Red — High visibility, emotional, good for accents

  • Blue — Cool, relaxing. Good for displays about air, water, distance

  • Yellow — Cheerful, vitality, comes through in poor lighting

  • Orange — Energy, heat, makes food more appealing

  • Green — relaxing

  • Purple — Rich, dramatic

  • Black, White and Brown — are neutral and can be used to soften bright displays (Use black very sparingly)

6. Lighting is (arguably) the Most Important Factor

How is your lighting working for you?

  • Does your lighting make your store too hot? Customers will flee a warm store more quickly than a store that is cool

  • Use bright lights toward the rear of your store (no matter how small your space) to attract customers and make them feel safe

  • Use spotlights sparingly to make selected merchandise 'POP'. Don't overdo lighting highlights

  • Be aware of glare, light shining directly into customer's eyes, and shadows

  • Make sure jewelry has an 'appraising' amount of light

  • Dark objects need more light

  • Glassware looks best when lit from the back or side

7. Use Props for Height and Visual Interest

Flat displays result in flat sales. Almost any kind of prop will add visual interest to your displays. Acrylic stands and cubes, gift wrapped boxes, driftwood, river rock, stacks of books, attractive packaging, logs, baskets, painted wood blocks, cloth, branches...the list is only limited by your imagination.

8. Product Arrangement Adds to the Impact of the Display

  • The eye naturally goes to the upper left or center first, so use this initial impression to your advantage.

Which of the following arrangements enhance the impression you want your display to make?

  • Vertical lines — create drama

  • Horizontal lines — are placid, calming

  • Curves — are soft and gentle

  • Diagonals — are demanding, abrupt

9. Use Movement To Attract Attention

Hang a mobile or small compelling sign near a HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) vent using clear fishing line. The gentle movement will be eye-catching without being distracting. And, when you combine it with good lighting, your customers will follow you anywhere.

10. Use Signage as a Silent, Never Absent, Always Accurate Salesperson.

I strongly suggest my clients put informative signage next to their most expensive merchandise. By its nature this merchandise is out of the mainstream price range for your store. Informative signage distinguishes and enhances the value of this merchandise, and encourages customers to spend an extraordinary (relative to the other merchandise in your store) amount of money.

In stores associated with not-for-profit institutions, merchandise signage is critical for tying the merchandise to the mission of the host institution.

When writing the text ask yourself the following questions:

a) Is it easy to read? Use a larger than usual serif font.

b) Is it easy to understand? Ask people unfamiliar with the products to critique the sign to make sure it reads well.

c) Who is the target audience?

Start with the name of the product in bold letters, followed by a 30 - 35 word description (don't use all caps), and then the price. When writing the description assume the customer has no prior product knowledge.

11. Keep Your Displays Clean

Dust and dirt diminish the sparkle of your displays and give the impression that even your newest merchandise is shop worn.

12. Change Something Every Week, and Make the Change Obvious

If this week a display has dark tones make it light next week. If you were displaying a group of small items last week, fill the space with large items this week.

13. Allow Areas for Self- Expression

Your staff includes people with great ideas and the ability to execute them. Let your people go! Empower your staff to build displays and give them the opportunity to 'buy' into the success of your store.

14. Shamelessly Steal Good Ideas From Other Stores

See the complete list of Profitable Times™ Newsletters.


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