3 Retail Merchandising Tactics Designed to Maximize Shelf Appeal

Simon Mitchell
Simon Mitchell
Guest Contributor

Incorporating tried and tested merchandising tactics into your store’s layout and design can deliver the ultimate in-store experience for your customers and give priority products the visibility they need to fly off the shelves.

When shoppers visit stores and gaze upon shelves, the products which stand out the most draw maximum attention and are therefore most likely to make it into shopping baskets. Savvy marketers now even utilize eye-tracking software to see which products the eye is drawn to on a shelf – using this important data to map their own in-store shelving displays.

With so much science and theory behind product packaging design, designers need to innovate regularly to remain relevant – without ever compromising their core brand imagery, of course. Below, I’ve outlined three key ways retailers can maximize the shelf appeal of their products – increasing visibility and, ultimately, sales.

Source: Unsplash

Engage in cross-merchandising

In-store merchandisers can take full advantage of cross-merchandising to broaden a store’s offering and boost that all-important revenue. Cross-merchandising has the ability to generate additional revenue for a store as a result of displaying certain products together in a carefully chosen area of the store.

This technique is known by various names in the industry, such as incremental purchases, secondary product placement and add-on sales – but these labels all refer to the strategic positioning of related or complementary products. Cross-merchandising sets out to satisfy consumer needs while informing customers of the different options that are available to them – particularly those that could improve or complement their purchases.

In summer, stores practicing cross-merchandising will likely place a combination of complementary items together, such as disposable BBQs, meat products and condiments. By identifying products which are usually combined and placing them together, retailers can entice shoppers into buying a range of related products for an occasion – even if they only came in for one.

Showing customers how to use a product is another great tip. Displaying simple recipe ideas on a promotional board, with all of the necessary ingredients placed nearby, is a clever way to foster interest. If your store sells a unique sauce, consider showing customers a tasty dish it can be used in.

Another popular example of cross-merchandising is positioning small, affordable products near the checkout, such as socks and chocolates. The modest size of these items means they can easily fit into baskets, aren’t seen as a considerable purchase and therefore don’t warrant a second thought before they’re swiftly added to the checkout pile.

Consider vertical shelf displays

Opting to use vertical shelving units is a smart way to make products stand out, maximize your use of the available space and give shoppers a richer and more varied in-store experience. The benefits of vertical merchandising all come down to eye-level shelf interest – as products positioned below eye level aren’t as immediately visible and therefore attract less attention from shoppers.

Retailers are aware of this, and when they choose to display their products in a vertical manner, they tend to place more expensive, premium items at eye level – while cheaper, own-brand or budget alternatives are typically placed at the bottom of a product display.

Source: Unsplash

Grab attention with color blocking

This merchandising tactic is commonly used by fashion retailers and food stores, and involves the act of placing items in contrasting colors side by side. Visual merchandisers utilize color wheels to harness profitable relationships between two colors and avoid chaotic or jarring color combinations – with a view to creating a store environment that flows naturally throughout.

For those new to color blocking, begin by choosing a theme (for example, Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Christmas) and position products or displays in relevant colors alongside each other. For Halloween, for example, goblin green, orange and black would be suitable colors for this theme. The next step is to create a color flow based on the theme – with darker colors placed on the left, moving gradually towards lighter shades on the right, or darker colors at the bottom moving towards lighter shades at the very top of a display. This way, you can use gradients to direct shoppers’ attention to wherever you’d like.

By incorporating these tried and tested merchandising tactics into your store’s layout and design, you can engineer the ultimate in-store experience for your customers and give priority products the visibility they need to fly off the shelves.

About the writer: Simon Mitchell has run successful companies in Europe and the US that are focused on delivering exceptional value to clients – while Action Storage offers a diverse range of storage products, along with the technical expertise to help clients’ businesses operate more efficiently. In Simon’s words, that’s a rewarding place to be.

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