Quality Displays for Optimal Sales

 It may sound like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many businesses overlook

... this important piece of marketing, Quality Display...
Quality Displays for Optimal Sales
Manish Khanna Image
Manish Khanna
Monday 1st of September 2014

It may sound like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many businesses overlook this important piece of marketing, Quality Displays. Simply stacking items on a shelf does not make them go “flying” off of the shelf. To optimize sales it is important to have fresh, easy to understand, and uncluttered displays.

Multiple scientific studies into the way the human body responds to stimuli and interprets information have been used to develop more efficient and effective display methods in order to increase sales. Shelf placement, packaging sizes, weight measurements on packaging, packaging design, and sales tag placement are a few of the critical areas that have been improved through these studies.

Since research shows that most people tend to scan visual cues such as shelves from left to right and eye level down, these would be the best areas to display merchandise that brings in the highest revenue. In addition to selecting the proper height and shelf placement of products there are several types of display arrangements that have proven to be more effective than others. These are:

  • Block Placement – Placing like items together for consumers to more easily see all of their options for that item, an example would be all dry beans next to one another no matter the manufacturer. The most common method of this is to double block the items by blocking items together, but within the block grouping manufacturer items together.
  • Vertical Placement – Placing the same items on multiple shelves going vertically to draw the eye up and down creates an eye pleasing effect for customers and makes product location more easily recognized.
  • Commercial Placement – Items that are perceived to have a greater value by consumers and bringing more revenue for the business are placed in the more eye catching shelf positions.
  • {C}Market Share Placement – This placement refers to items that are the highest revenue makers for the business and these are placed in the most easily located areas of the store to accommodate customers and increase the sales of these high revenue items.
  • {C}Margin Product Placement – Margin Products are products that provide the retailer with the most profit from each sale. These items are placed in high profile areas in order to increase company profits.

Although shelf placement is a critical element in merchandising, following the eye-level rule does not work for all items. Research has shown that bulkier items placed at eye-level did not do as well as if they were placed on a lower shelf. The size, weight and shape of the product were key reasons for this. The bulkiness of the item made it more difficult for customers to lift the items at eye-level from the shelf causing them to purchase the more convenient items that were on lower shelves. One study trial using a 54 ounce juice product showed that by moving the product up to eye level sales decreased by 15 percent making it clear that this item was better suited for a lower shelf.

Maintaining properly faced displays is as crucial to sales as is the actual placement of items. Shelves need to look neat, clean, organized, and full but not over crowded. Messy, dusty, or under stocked shelves give the appearance of leftovers on the shelf. When consumers are shopping they are looking for the newest and freshest product, not the remnants. So, by maintaining shelf presentation consumers have the impression that they are receiving the newest product available.

Even in times of shortages, it is possible to keep shelves looking full by simply pulling the available stock forward and supporting it with boxes behind it if needed. ‘Bed Bath and Beyond’ is an expert at this method. Their shelves continually looked full from floor to ceiling, yet the highest shelves are typically empty manufacturer’s boxes or printed facings that resemble merchandise. This illusion effect helps keep the shelves looking full while managing turns without having overstock issues.

On the flip side of this, if shelves are overcrowded with products consumers may have difficulty finding what they are looking for and begin to feel overwhelmed. Crowded shelves can also create the appearance that the business is not doing very well and sales are down possibly from being overpriced, whether the pricing is or is not a great deal. Any of these impressions can cause a customer to decide to shop someplace else, and end in missed sales by the business.

When re-stocking shelves it is important to train staff to stock from the back and rotate product. Since customers typically pull from the front of the shelf, this process will minimize out of date products, returns due to date or spoil issues, and spoils on perishable items.

Products should be located in a draw format throughout the retail location. Grocery stores are experts at this, placing staple items, such as eggs, milk, bread, etc. in the center and back of the stores in order to draw consumers past the many other items in the store that

they may not have known were there or may not have originally intended to buy.

Impulse buying is a large portion of retail sales. According to a 1998 USA Weekend.com article in North America alone consumers spend over $4 billion per year on impulse buys. Using planograms that force customers to explore the store creates large opportunities for impulse buying when done properly. However, schematics need to make sense when doing this otherwise this method could lose sales due to customers being unable to locate what they are looking for.

Other ways to influence impulse buying are placing impulse items near registers and checkout areas, entry areas, and grouping complimentary items like chips and beer in the same proximity with each other. This is also a good opportunity for “upselling” by offering higher quality higher priced items alongside of the lower priced items for those consumers who prefer and can afford the more expensive products.

Remember to switch displays out from time to time and to meet the season or holiday, in a timely manner to keep things looking fresh. But, do not jump the gun. Let one holiday complete before packing the shelves with items for the next. In a world over-run with advertising, consumers can feel pressured if seasonal items, other than clearance items, are being rushed to the shelves too far in advance of the holiday or season.

Accurate pricing is another area that should be meticulously maintained. Consumers want to know what they are paying for items before they get to the register, and want to know that when they get to the register that the price they think they are paying is what they pay. Of course a consumer is never upset about getting to the register and paying less, but finding out the price is ringing up higher will definitely cause customer dissatisfaction and too many experiences with this will cause them to shop someplace else.

Understanding how people react to their environment and planning the layout of products, maintaining displays and keeping current with the season are all tried and true methods of increasing revenue and profits in the retail world. For those new to the retail industry learning these basic tips will be a necessity for survival.

Author Info
Manish Khanna

Manish is founder of Business2sell Group of Websites. 

Business2Sell.com.au is one of the leading business and franchise for sale listing websites. We work with our business brokers, commercial agents, franchisors and private sellers to help them connect with the right buyers for their opportunities. 

With website now functional in Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. We have over 18,000 businesses for sale listed, with over 220 Business Broker and Commercial Agent. 

I have over 20 years of experience in Web Industry; I have been involved in websites industry since the early years of 1996-97. In my professional career I may have worked for over 10,000+ websites. My Specialty is to build portals or complex online applications.

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