Merchandising Success Strategies Part 2

Ever heard the saying “it’s hard to sell a secret”?

If people coming into your store or business can’t see what you’re trying to sell to them, the chance that they’ll buy it is slim to none. 

Merchandising is all about positioning your product range for maximum profits across your line.

The big grocery stores have product placement all figured out. In fact it’s an art form. The products which have proven themselves to be the biggest sellers are usually at eye level. The not so popular products usually find themselves on the bottom shelves or totally dropped from the product line. 

You’ll often find small items placed near the exits or cashiers. Your goal is to have your customer exposed to as many buying opportunities as possible. Once your customer has picked up or committed to the first item, any additional items are easy sales. The industry term for this is “Impulse Buys.”

Alternatively, if you have a slow-moving product that you want to get rid of it’s a good idea to put it right in front of your customer so it’s hard to miss. You might reduce the price and highlight that it’s a run-out clearance sale. You would have seen this on many occasions – and it works. 

As well as placement, product packaging is one of the keys to a successful merchandising strategy. Never overlook the way your product is packaged – as it can often be the deciding factor in a purchasing decision. 

Product Packaging Quick Tips:

  • Create perceived value – if you’re selling an expensive widget that comes in a box that needs to be packaged, you wouldn’t package it in brown paper, you’d use something more opulent. Why? Because it has a higher perceived value.
  • Bundle items together – it is more attractive to customers. Not only does it make it easier for the customer to make a purchasing decision, it also helps move additional items with the one purchase. Bundled items can also be packaged in more interesting configurations than individual items. 
  • Sensory appeal – you need to pay close attention to the colours and materials of your packaging to maximise its attribute appeal to your niche market.  Research your market and adopt strategies from the psychology of influence into your packaging. 

The Future of Packaging:

  • Create eco-friendly packaging – use environmental design, reduce excess packaging, incorporate recyclable material, make arrangements for end-use recycling, etc. Communicate your eco-friendly packaging as a selling point. 
  • Understand your customer and their motivations – keep abreast of buying trends by understanding how, why and where your customers are purchasing. For example, instead of buying super-sized items many consumers are now turning to micro-servings for added convenience. 
  • Follow future packaging trends – adopt new packaging technologies and materials as they hit the market and incorporate arising social concerns– such as an increased desire for security – into your packaging design. 

The most important thing is to test your packaging with your target market.  A quick market test will soon reveal what hashing out ideas around a boardroom will not. For example, child resistant closures on medicine jars are almost impossible for those over 50 to open, and the colour pink is more appealing to teenage girls than dark brown.

What you can do today:

Test your current packaging options with your target market to monitor their responses, choices, and feedback – in relation to your packaging as a stand-alone item and then relative to competitor packaging.

Where possible, try to have an objective third-party undertake the research, so as not to collate biased data. If your findings have potential sales implications, then work together with your design team to implement a packaging review.