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Industry News: Merchandising Success for Retailers – 5 Tips for Improvement

09th November '18

In a survey conducted by One Door and Research Scape, the merchandising behaviors of 250 successful retailers have been analysed and valuable findings revealed.

This 2017 survey is the industry’s first ever Merchandising Execution Maturity Benchmark, assisting retailers in assessing their merchandising strategy. The survey pinpoints areas where merchandising improvement can have the most impact, looking at behaviors and practices with the highest correlation to sales.

“As retailers face new demands fueled by the growth of online and the acceleration of consumer trends, many are struggling to adapt their merchandising practices to keep up” according to E.Y Snowden, president and CEO of One Door. He also notes that the survey “…reveals a new store-centric merchandising ‘code of conduct’ that retailers can follow to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive industry.”

The survey outlined the following 5 key findings –

 

  1. Recognising the link between merchandising execution and sales improvements

“When products and promotions are placed on time and according to plan, customers have an easier time finding what they came for and more importantly, what they didn’t.” Through taking actions to make the shopping experience as simple as possible for customers retailers can fuel demand and potentially encourage more impulse buys.

The survey also notes that “the vast majority of retailers (86 percent) believe there is a direct correlation between the proper execution of merchandising directives and an increase in sales conversion rates.”

 

  1. Recognising the value of big data, not only in assortment planning but in space planning, as well

The survey outlines that retailers “understanding that they sell more of Product A when it is closer to Product B and not near Product C can have great significance when planning new product launches.” Understanding successes (and failures) promotes continuous improvement in visual merchandising processes.

According to the survey “Retail Winners also use big data when analyzing campaign effectiveness. They track store conversaion rates, and merchanding directive “lift” after new merchandising directives have been executed.”

 

  1. Encouraging two-way store communication as a critical part of the merchandising process

“There is no situation more frustrating than when a store receives a generic execution plan, usually delivered via email, and must rely on outdated, printed directions and SKU lists to execute the plan.”

Successful merchandising requires flexibility as individual stores and their individual capacities and capabilities aren’t as uniform as the instructions received. The survey notes that Retail Winners collaborate with stores through seamless, two-way communication, enabling store associates to provide immediate feedback on each campaign and ideas for how to improve merchandising.”

 

  1. Thinking differently about training and encouraging store associates to merchandise properly

With a high volume of foot traffic coming into the store, it can be difficult to organise merchandising activities. According to the survey “Retail Winners plan for these situations by providing step-by-step guidance for executing merchandising directives in store, including prioritizing the fuxtures and products to be updated first.”

 

  1. Adopting digital tools in all facets of creating superior in-store experiences

With so many shopping alternatives out there, it has never been more important for retailers to provide an impactful store experience for their customers. Stats in the survey reflect this with stores spending “11 or more person hours per week” on merchandising, an increase from 43 percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2018.

According to the survey “Retail Winners are combatting this reality by using digital tools to help streamline many of the cumbersome, manual operations that eat up so many person hours.”

“At store level, it can include using tables to guide the placement of products and promotional materials and big data in the analysis of merchandising completion, compliance and effectiveness.”

 

Read further details in One Door’s survey.

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