While I’m not an expert store merchandiser, I can honestly say that I have improved my store layout and merchandising skills TREMENDOUSLY since starting my retail journey eight years ago.
If I look back at pictures of our store when we first opened, I cringe. I can’t believe people shopped with us! But you know what, they did—and many have stayed on the journey with us.
My sister and I work on this often at our store. We also have my creative nephew on our team, who does a fantastic job with displays. And this past year, we really started to nail our store layout and merchandising. We received tons of compliments on our layout and displays over the holiday season!
So if you beat yourself up over merchandising and store layout, please know that it can take time. Thankfully, there are many ways to shake up your merchandising and improve your store layout! Read on for some of my favorite merchandising tips.
Think About Your Customer’s Journey
Do your customers naturally head in one direction in your store when they walk in? This might be determined by your current store layout, of course, but pay attention to their habits/movements. It can be so enlightening!
One thing we do is make sure a stroller can circle the store. Our store layout is a loop because we have a smaller space. We have a lot of Moms who shop with us, and it’s important that it’s convenient for them when they arrive with their adorable babes in strollers.
If you have a grid or aisle pattern, other factors might be considered there might be other factors to consider. Start with how your customers move, and optimize your space from there.
Place New or Seasonal Displays at the Front
You want to show your customers what’s current, fresh, and new! Get them excited about the upcoming season and wow them with a great display. Don’t make them wait until they’re in the back of your store to evoke this emotion in them.
Don’t Create Clutter
As tempting as it may be to pack it all in because we don’t want to miss a sale…please, don’t create clutter.
Make sure your customer has room and space to walk through. Keep your store comfortable!
One great way to do this is to make sure there are breaks in-between displays. Give their brains time to breathe and think as you take them on a journey.
If you lack storage space or an area for backstock, how can you get creative with this? Can you buy display pieces that allow for back stock? Can you rent a storage space nearby?
Use Signage to Inform and Educate
Is there a display in your store where customers always ask a lot of questions? Would highlighting a feature of the product(s) like “handmade” or “made locally” help educate the customer or help sell the products?
I know, we often say people don’t read—but more read than not! So go ahead and use signage to your advantage.
Many of us have high ceilings in our stores, yet we don’t take advantage of them. If you need to invest in tall shelving units or install higher wall shelves, do it! It’s well worth the investment.
But I’m not just referring to a floor plan. I’m talking about a wall plan! Don’t underestimate the power of going up.
Think about it this way: if you invest a one-time amount of $1000 in maximizing wall space and get an additional $20K in revenue, isn’t that worth it?
On the flip side, keep low or small items off the floor. Some customers have bad knees! In general, customers don’t want to squat or kneel to look at something.
Group it Up and Stack it Up
Curate collections or group similar items together. Remember, you can naturally create a bundled or cross-selling solution with a good display.
For example, when we display kitchen goods, we can pair a pretty tea towel with a honey jar and a container of handcrafted tea. If someone is looking for a housewarming present or a “get better” present, this is naturally a great little trio to buy together.
When you stack items, you should add dimension. You’ll often find a trio of display boxes in all different heights and widths. You can also do this with tables on the floor! We have a set of 3 small nesting tables that we use throughout our store. We can place them on tables for height, we can nest them next to each other for a small display…they have so many uses. Stacking is a great way to bring the eye up.
Look for Merchandising Inspiration
I have Savvy Shopkeeper Pinterest boards filled with all kinds of layout, display, and merchandising ideas. Follow me on Pinterest if you need some inspiration, too—it’s an excellent tool for educating ourselves on store layout and design.
No matter what your store looks like right now, there’s always something you can do to improve your layout, displays, and merchandising. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas in this area, as you’ll only improve the more you try.
- Shopkeeper Shoutout: Courtney, owner of Black Angel Designs & member of The Shopkeepers Lab
- Guest Instructor in Master Shopkeepers on merchandising: Nickeisha Lewis of NOLA Designs
- Savvy Shopkeeper’s Pinterest Boards, with lots of merchandising inspiration
- [06:17] Think About Your Customer’s Journey
- [07:24] Place New or Seasonal Displays at the Front
- [08:25] Don’t Create Clutter
- [10:11] Use Signage to Inform and Educate
- [12:12] Go High!
- [13:48] Group it Up and Stack it Up
- [15:38] Look for Merchandising Inspiration