When looking at the average shelf in your store, you’ll likely concentrate on getting the obvious aspects right. If it’s messy, you’d need to fix it. If the merchandising technique you’re using isn’t working, you’d need to change it. But what about the little details that could surely go undetected? Such as your clip strips, hang tags and shelf talkers?
In truth, it is these merchandising tools that complement the more notable elements of your store. We’ve already touched on how you can maximise the impact of your hang tags as well as how to use your shelf talkers effectively.
It’s now time to consider how to get the most of out of your clip strips.
Invented by Edward Spitaletta, CEO and founder of Clip Strip Corp in 1980, clip strips are thin pieces of metal (or plastic) with hooks placed at regular intervals on which to hang your merchandise. They go by many different names, including display strips, hang strips, merchandising strips, and impulse strips.
An illustration of clip strips used to hang merchandise
More importantly, they can serve multiple purposes.
1. You can use clip strips to educate your customers
While you’d use clip strips primarily to hang or present merchandise to your customers, there is so much more you can do with them. That’s if you look beyond their fundamental purpose.
One alternative function is to use them to educate your customers. Either about products you stock or your store.
For the sake of clarity, in this instance, we're focusing specifically on educating rather than advertising (which we touch on in a point below). While the two are similar in nature, there is a difference.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to educate your customers about how to use a product on the shelf. If the shelf in question holds alcohol, you could consider placing clip strips to display steps to mixing the perfect cocktail drink.
Another example is to use the space to provide information on the source of the product on the shelf. Or, how your retail store sources their products within a particular category. As promotional as this may appear, it’s focused on educating first. Moreover, considering customers today are cognizant of what they buy and why providing them with such information can help them to make a buying decision.
As they realise you’re there to help them make the best choice possible, they’ll come to trust you and your store more.
2. You can use clip strips to advertise your latest deals or promotions
To follow on from the above point, you can also use clip strips to present your latest deals or promotions.
There is the argument that considering their size, your customers can easily miss them so then why would you want to place them in your store. Here’s why: if you treat them correctly - attach the appropriate signage with the deal - you have every chance of catching the eye.
Here’s what it could look like in action:
It’s winter, and your supplier has a new soup flavour they want to test out. Before ordering stock, you could merchandise the product on a display strip alongside your Soups category. Of course, you’d need to provide all the appropriate signage informing anyone who visits the shelf that there is a new flavour.
How you display it is also up to you. It could take the form of a pamphlet, which customers can take home or the actual product.
You could even include a discount as part of the promotion - two for the price of one or buy one of the new products and get 10% off for another. You can decide on the details. What’s important is that you take the product off the shelf and get it in front of your customers.
If you were to expand this to include complementary products, it could work just as well. For example, if you’ve launched a new phone, you could advertise a deal to include a phone cover with any new purchase at a discount.
Instead of the salesperson telling each customer who walks in, you can add that information and a few variations of the phone cover on the merchandising strip beside or in front of the new phone.
3. You can use clip strips to cross-merchandise products
As much as your main goal is to make money and consistently so, you also need to consider your customer. We’ve mentioned that point on this blog before. Another way of presenting that idea is such: if you look after your customers and their needs, your profit margins will take care of themselves.
Because your customers don’t always have the time to look around for products, cross-merchandising through the use of clip strips makes sense. It’s convenient for your customer and enhances their shopping experience. What’s more, shoppers will remember that experience and are more inclined to return.
There is also the fact that regardless of how you approach cross-merchandising, it’s an excellent strategy to grow the basket size of your customers and make you money.
Let say, for example, that you’re a supermarket with a butchery in-store. And, it’s summer. In that case, you could look at cross-merchandising multiple items. You could place sauces or seasoning on your clip strips or cooking tools besides your Meats aisle. So long as the merchandising strips are sturdy enough to hold whatever product you’ve placed on it, it’s worth attempting.
For your cooking aisle, you could placed cooking aids such as whisks, measuring cups and spoons and so on on your merchandising strips.
If you’re a liquor store, you could merchandise wine bottle gift bags on clip strips. You could even place carry packs in front of your shelf should your customer want to buy a few bottles as a present and needs a bag to hold them.
4. You can use clip strips to encourage impulse buying
The fact that a clip strip allows you to display complementary products from different categories together means that it opens up the opportunity for you to generate additional revenue.
That’s because of this simple fact: cross-merchandising encourages your customers to buy items they weren’t planning to when they first set foot in your store. But there is another fact to acknowledge: when placed strategically, a clip strip can encourage impulse buying.
It’s why you’ll often hear it referred to as impulse strips.
Imagine a mother walking into your store with her children and you’ve placed sweets or toys on a clip strip in the aisle that she’d usually visit during her weekly shop. You can expect the children to nag her about buying a packet or strip of sweets. And, in an effort to keep them quiet, she might end up buying them. If she doesn’t someone else will.
Of course, there shouldn’t always be a negative connotation to impulse buying. In reality, impulse buying usually takes place when your customers are at their most comfortable.
For example, in your Hair Care aisle, you could include hair accessories on a merchandising strip besides the shampoo and conditioner products. In doing so, you’re making the shopping experience that much easier. When a customer buys shampoo, they’ll see the hair accessories and make a snap decision. They may realise that they need it and place it in their basket.
That only likely happens if you place it there for them to see.
5. You can use clip strips to maximise your retail space
Considering that your display strips attach to your retail fixtures, that makes them the perfect merchandising tool to help you maximise the retail value of your shelf and floor space.
For example, by using them, you can utilise the space on the shelf frame that might have otherwise gone unused. They thus provide you with additional merchandising opportunities.
The fact that you can place a clip strip anywhere in your store makes them that much more versatile. What’s more, since they don’ take up any shelf space, you can allocate space more accurately to the items that deserve it.
Let’s say, for example, you stock kitchen clothes and sponges. From a sales and unit movement perspective, they don’t deserve a full drop. But you still want to sell them. You could place them on a clip strip and merchandise them in the same aisle as your cleaning products.
Meanwhile, you might find that your gondola is too congested or there is insufficient space for certain products. Instead of deranging a product, a decision that you should only take after consulting your retail data, it’s worth using a display strip as additional space.
Also, since hanging bars can take up a lot of space on your gondola, it’s worth merchandising any hanging products on a clip strip to offer more space to those products that sell well. Again, this allows you to maximise your space.
While clip strips play a key role in maximising your shelf space, you also need a plan to get more space for your products. Such a plan involves data, and more specifically, specialised software. Such as DotActiv.