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Merchandising Mistakes

Updated on June 2, 2011


Recently I found an article online about merchandising mistakes that occur in Retail shops. We have all seen these disastrous mistakes in retail shops and there is a way to make sure that they don’t occur in your shop.

The key is to make sure that you enter your store each day with your customer’s eye, trying to avoid retail blindness.  Spend 10-15 minutes daily just walking the floor, see where the gaps are, look at your displays, dust and tidy up.  You will be amazed with the difference.

When I managed two electrical retailers I gave each staff member a section of the shop for them to clean and keep tidy.  I would walk the floor daily with them through a customer’s eye and we were able to bring the standard up substantially. And guess what – sales climbed as well!


Here are the 10 merchandising mistakes:


1. Fill the holes. You can always tell when a retailer is in trouble – their range and depth of their stock is skinny with major gaps.  Next time when you walk into a newsagent check the number of holes and stock holdings – the more stock you see the better they are performing, the less stock and they may be out of business soon


2. Don’t split your categories. I always tell my staff to keep like stock together.  This assists in up and cross sell activity, especially when you are selling on the floor.  The only time you will split stock is when you are setting up a display.


3. Put the right product at eye-level. The stock that you want to move will move quickly at a customer’s eye height rather than too high or too low.  This is a great way to move unpopular stock quickly.


4. Use signage to communicate effectively. You internal signage should inform a customer quickly where to go for their purchase.  There is nothing more frustrating than having to search through a store to find that one item due to poor directional signage.


5. Open up the sight-lines so that the customer can see. Let the customer see clearly where the product is and assist them with finding the counter with lots of clear directional signage and clear pathways.  Remember that you can also assist by acknowledging the customer and assisting them with the sale.


6. Get your adjacencies right – and that means the way the customer shops, not because it suits you that way. To enable you to cross sell effectively you need to ensure that complimentary products are together eg Pasta next to sauces and herbs.


7. Get rid of that stupid sign that says ‘the camera is watching’ – and try and have a sales assistant that actually serves and get rid of that stupid sign that says ‘you pay when you break it’ and encourage the customer to shop. I hate any signage that doesn’t make me feel welcome.  Recently I was in Cockburn, about 30 minutes out from Broken Hill at the only service shop for the next 200kms.  Everywhere you looked was a sign – even one that said you couldn’t use the toilet unless you bought something!  It goes without saying that I left without buying anything!


8. Displays are not about ‘themes’. Display what you want to sell – stack it high and watch it fly!


9. Give your display a ‘focal point’ – something that draws the customer’s eye; because if it isn’t seen it will never be sold.


10.  Clean your shop. There is nothing worse than a dirty, poorly maintain shop – it doesn’t create the experience that the customer is seeking.


Your goal in retail should be to make the customers shopping experience their most memorable experience of the day for the right reasons.  By having a clean and well merchandised Shop you are on your way to enhancing the shopping experience




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    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks Jeannieinabottle and Victoria for your kind comments. Placing complementary products together is really important if you want to increase basket size, average sales per shop and to make life much easier for your customers so that they keep on coming back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well. Cheers Michael

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great information. Useful hub! I wish all stores would follow this advice.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I know what you mean about not splitting stock. When Safeway first opened in my area, I looked everywhere for the pizza sauce. Everyone else carries it in the pasta sauce section. But no, this was located in the special pizza section that took 10 minutes to find. I noticed recently the pizza sauce is now in both the pizza section AND with the pasta sauce. Wise choice!

      This is really helpful information. Voted up and shared!

    • webverification profile image

      webverification 6 years ago from Idaho

      Great tips! Thanks.