We sat down with the store manager of a popular teen/young adult clothing store to see how she uses merchandising to drive sales. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: Does the quality of your merchandising displays affect sales? If yes, how so?
A: The quality of merchandising positively influences sales, because it is easier for customers to see how they can take individual pieces and make them into an outfit. When I am training an associate on how to build a sale, I often tell them to use the phrase “This is the ______, that goes with that ______.” Sometimes, it would be a lot faster to just throw a bunch of shirts onto a fixture by price point, but when you take the extra time to put the shirts next to some matching pants, necklace, and a bag, you’re kind of letting each table or fixture upsell for you. Each table ends up naturally telling the customer “this is the _____ that goes with that ______.”
Q: What are some tips for planning and setting up great merchandising displays?
A: The biggest tip I’d say is that you need to be constantly looking to see how you can be re-merchandising items differently every single day! If you’re doing a good job merchandising, you’ll hopefully be selling through a ton of units, which means a table that looked great yesterday, might look empty and unorganized the next day. As soon as a display starts looking sold-through, you need to be thinking about how you are going to sub in different product to take it’s place or how you are going to fold things differently so that the table always look full and fresh! On the other hand, if for some reason a table is staying full for too long and you’re not really selling through items like you should be, you might need to look at how you can re-merch it differently! Sometimes you won’t sell any units of a shirt when it’s folded, but the second you put it on a hanger you’ll sell ten! You just can’t be afraid to change things up if they aren’t working.
Q: How does the overall cleanliness and other aspects of retail operations impact your sales?
A: Cleanliness is really important… It’s easy to tell when a store isn’t being swept every day! Especially with clothing, it’s really easy for dust to build up! You always want to elevate your product and make everything look as high quality as you can make it. Obviously, if dust bunnies surround everything, your product seems less appealing.
Q: If you were to make a retail operations checklist of 5 key things you look for to ensure your store is ready to go for the day, what would that be?
1) Check that the store is clean and no lights are out.
2) Walk through the stock room to see if you have any product back there that is not represented on the sales floor. If there is product hidden in the back, how are we going to sell it?
3) Make sure each table is full and that there are no empty shelves anywhere, especially toward the front of the store. It’s sometimes a good idea to step outside and see what it looks like from the entrance. Anything that is visible to a potential customer walking by needs to look as perfect as possible; people will walk right past a store that looks empty and junky from the outside.
4) Check that items are in size order and are easy to shop. This is especially true for your top-selling items, so I always double check that our jeans are in size order and that it would be easy for customers to find the size they’re looking for. An unorganized display can hurt sales.
5) Make sure all items are signed correctly. It’s really frustrating for customers when they can’t easily tell how much something is. It’s important to make sure everything is signed correctly and that prices are called out in a way that is not confusing for shoppers.
We hope you are able to apply her lessons to your own merchandising to help you increase in-store sales.