Darren Gilbert Jul 31, 2017 3:26:50 PM 8 min read

4 Merchandising Techniques All Retailers Should Know

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If you’re a retailer, there shouldn’t really be any debate about the importance of merchandising your store. Besides attracting customers, good merchandising can increase your traffic, increase your sales, and increase brand loyalty. That said, what is up for debate is the type of merchandising technique you use.

There are a number of different merchandising techniques available to you and which combination you use depends largely on what you want to achieve as a store as well as what products you offer.

Here are four of the more popular techniques that you can use in your store today.

Vertical Merchandising

As a technique, vertical merchandising is fairly easy to explain. It’s the grouping together of merchandise in a vertical column or display in such a way as to get your customers to buy more products.

How does this get your customers to buy more? Your customers tend to focus on those products that are at eye-level. Thus, in displaying your merchandise in a vertical manner, you’re allowing your customers to stay in one position while they use their eyes to follow your display of items, from top to bottom.

The result is an easier shopping experience for them since they’ll see more of your inventory. They’ll also be able to compare your product offerings and prices.

If you do plan on making use of this particular technique, just remember to consider who your customers are. If they’re adults, ensure that your popular products are at eye level. Likewise, if you know they’re likely to bring their children with them, place products that appeal to them near the bottom of the shelf.


  1. Improves the appearance and organisation of your store.
  2. Presented consistently in vertical columns, a large selection of products will appear organised, making it easier to shop your store.
  3. All brands at eye level will receive equal visibility.


  1. It can result in over facing SKU’s that don’t require a complete vertical allocation.
  2. Your brand impact is somewhat diluted.
  3. It makes it harder to display high profit lines exclusively at eye level.
Horizontal Merchandising

In going the route of horizontal merchandising - placing your products in a blocked horizontal manner - you’re essentially ensuring that all your products are at eye level.

That's the good part.

The downside is that your customers will need to move from side to side to see all your products. Since your customers prefer to stand still and scan your shelf with their eyes, this particular technique can make it difficult to shop your store. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make use of this technique.

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If you do decide to make use of this technique, just make sure that the first product they see is enticing enough to get them to move down your aisle so they can see your other products.


  1. It makes it easier to present more profitable items at or near your customer’s eye level.
  2. If done properly, you can entice your customers to walk through your entire display, exposing them to more products.


  1. Your poorer performing brands may not receive enough exposure and could perform poorly as a result.
  2. You will not be able to merchandise by price point.
  3. It is difficult to upsell your customers since you can’t display bundles or add-on items.
Cross Merchandising

Defined as the practice of displaying complementary products from different categories together, your cross merchandising technique is great in generating additional revenue for your store.

How? Since most of your customers are looking for convenience when shopping, you’re helping them by pairing up products that are indirectly related to each other.

For example, if you sell battery-operated toys, you should consider a display of batteries next to them. Not only are you saving your customers time, but you’re also given them a better shopping experience. Another example is if you’re a food retailer, you can place your spreads near to your in-store bakery.

If you do decide to make use of this merchandising technique, just make sure that you always have your customer in mind. Any items you choose to cross merchandise need to offer a solution to your customer.


  1. Offers a solution instead of products.
  2. It makes it easier for your customers to shop your store.
  3. It appeals to your customer’s desire to save time.
  4. Your products are organised in a way that your customers use them.


  1. There could be possible space limitations.
  2. Your customers won’t shop your entire store.
  3. Your store could be seen as trying to sell off higher-priced items
Colour Block Merchandising

When it comes to figuring out how best to draw your customers into your shop and keep them in store, you need to consider making use of colour block merchandising.

At it’s core, this merchandising technique involves the use of colour to display your products and is usually done in a vertical manner known as colour ribboning. This can be done both in store and in your window displays.

For example, if you’re looking to attract attention to your store, a window display filled with bright colours is a good bet. Once in your store, you can follow that up by including a similar display.

Mind you, just be careful that in picking a certain colour, you aren’t choosing the same as everyone else, which can result in customer’s not even seeing your store. In that case, a darker colour could work just as well.

An added bonus is that in using colours, you can also create an emotional and personal connection with your customers. That is especially helpful when you know who your customers are so you know which colours will appeal to them most.

If you’re interested in learning how to make use of colour block merchandising in your store, this article we wrote about it is a good starting point.


  1. Use a product's colour in a display to attract your customer’s attention.
  2. It encourages multiple purchases
  3. Your customers will see more of your product selection at a glance.


  1. It can be difficult to create a desired effect with certain products.
  2. It can make shopping your store slower than usual.


When it comes to picking the right merchandising technique for your store, it needs to be said that you don’t only have to choose one. There are plenty of successful stores who use a combination of the above techniques. Rather, it’s about choosing a technique that suits you store, because without one, you can’t hope to be successful.

Want to know where to get started with merchandising your store? First, you need to consider your product assortment


Darren Gilbert

With over 10 years of writing and marketing experience, Darren joined DotActiv in 2017 as a content writer where he was responsible for producing blogs, Ebooks and more. He has since worked himself up to the role of content manager, where he oversees all and any content produced by the company.