We know this: it's your goal as a retailer to maximise your sales per square metre. You can achieve that through category management*. By implementing category management best practices in your business, you can create a more enjoyable shopping experience for your customers, increase your profit margins and strengthen customer loyalty.
We've written multiple articles about the impact and significance of category management, covering it from numerous angles to provide you with a holistic view and understanding of how to tackle it. As we've covered this topic, we've explained that you can use it to control each aspect of your retail business.
Two such aspects are your merchandising and display efforts. Before we continue, it’s critical to explain that merchandising and visual displays are not the same - they are vastly different.
Merchandising refers to the variety of products available for sale and the presentation of those products to encourage shoppers to buy them. Displays are vignettes or scenes that incorporate multiple products with a common theme that captures attention.
1. Choose a theme for your gondola end
Gondola ends or end caps describe the retail shelf or area located at the end or the beginning of a shopping aisle. It's also easy to underestimate the power of one that is well-thought-out and planned.
Why? Because they can turn stock twice as fast as all other areas in your store. And the first quick tip we have to maximise their performance is to choose an appropriate theme and stick to it.
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The great thing about picking a theme is that you can change it regularly, and they are usually quick and easy to set up.
Is summer around the corner? Why not set up a beach theme display if you sell clothes or a Get back into Summer shape display if you sell health snacks, food or home gym equipment? Is it almost Easter? It's perfect for a chocolate display and other Easter-related items you might stock in-store.
However, keep this in mind: when choosing a theme for your gondola end, we recommend you not have more than three product categories on display. If you do, it can become cluttered and messy and lead to a loss in sales and reputation.
Your gondola ends aim to attract the attention of your customers. However, that attention must be positive. There is also the point that it acts as an entry point into your shopping aisles.
2. Tell a story about what is in the closest aisle
As mentioned, gondola ends are entry points to your various shopping aisles so it only makes sense to use them to tell a story about the products you stock.
It's even better if the story relates to the products in the aisle behind it. That leads to a better shopping experience - you've displayed items with the goal of drawing in your customers. If they want to continue to shop, they can walk down the aisle to get what they want.
Or, better yet, add items to their basket they didn't intend to buy when they walked into your store.
Of course, it's not only about drawing attention. You can also display products on your gondola ends to indicate what stock is in a particular aisle or area.
For example, you could display basketballs or soccer balls at the end of an aisle. If your customers want to shop for anything sports-related, they can spot this from a distance and know they need to enter that aisle to get what they want.
3. Use your end cap space for impulse products
When your customers walk into your store, they do so for a reason or purpose. Either they have a list of items in their head or an idea of what they want.
If you've worked in retail for a while, you'll know that placing your more popular products - purpose products your customers want - near the back means they will need to walk through your store. That means exposure to more products, and often ones that they might not have seen before.
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As they walk past these products to get to the ones they intended to buy, you can set them up to persuade them to make any impulse decisions. How? One way to encourage this is by placing promotional lines on your gondola ends.
By placing these purpose lines in the right location and developing a sound gondola end policy that encourages impulse buying, you can look forward to an increase in your bottom line. Do it correctly and frequently across your store, and your sales figures will jump significantly.
4. Add bestselling products to your displays
Besides promotional lines or products on sale, you can also include bestselling items in your end cap displays. In reality, we'd recommend you try it. Of course, this comes with the warning we gave earlier - ensure that you don't have too many product categories on one display.
That aside, adding bestselling items serves a purpose. Many customers could enter your store and recognise a brand or item on your display. It doesn't need to be on sale or have a special price, but you can use these popular products to draw attention.
Product popularity tells us two things:
The product is reasonably priced;
The product or brand is trustworthy.
By associating these products with others, you can begin to generate trustworthiness. For example, when a customer sees a popular product - Product A - nearby or beside another product they don't know - Product B - it could generate interest. More importantly, it could make the customer consider the other item. If Product A is next to Product B, surely they are of the same quality and worth trying?
As soon as that thought occurs, you could see customers decide to try the item, thereby increasing their basket size, upping impulse buys and improving your bottom line.
5. Cross-merchandise products on your gondola ends
Do you have a new item in your store or want to push sales of your house brand? Cross-merchandising is a sound tactic.
Cross-merchandising allows you to generate brand and product awareness and show your customers what to buy. You can also use cross-merchandising to show which products complement each other.
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Let’s say, for example, it’s summer. If you’re a clothing retailer, you could set up a display showing all the clothes and accessories that would fit into a beach scene. You could even set up a family scene, providing all the clothing and accessories for each - men, women and children. Then, when someone enters your store, you can catch their attention and show them what they need if they’re looking to get ready for summer.
You could even include water bottles, cooking equipment, chairs and more to fill out the scene to change it from a beach scene to a weekend braai or barbeque.
That’s one example of many. If you can think up a scene and stock the products to fill it out, you can create attention-grabbing displays that invite people in to buy from your store. As they interact, you can use other merchandising techniques and displays to draw them in further.
The average consumer only has a limited amount of time to spend in your retail store. It’s thus imperative that you create displays that say “If you’re only giving us 15 minutes of your time, we would like you to notice these products.”
Getting the correct mix between merchandising and visual displays will be what sets you apart from your competitors and leaves you with full pockets.
Are you looking to maximise the potential of your selling space and please your customers? Why not book a custom complimentary consultation with a DotActiv expert today or browse through our various services and software editions on our online store?