Are Traditional Merchandising Methods Needed Now More Than Ever?
The buying process used to be fairly straightforward (and fairly simple). A customer would head to their favourite store, browse the products or fill their cart according to their list, perhaps use a coupon or two at the checkout, then head home. This however, is no longer how it works for most. Now the process typically starts with far more research – the majority of which is done online – and the process may just end with another visit online to speak about the experience. The traditional retail visit has been turned on its head in recent years – so are traditional merchandising methods still as effective?
We would argue a resounding yes. And not only are they still effective, they’re needed now more than ever.
One of the primary goals of traditional merchandising used to be providing as much information as possible. People wanted to know about a product before buying, and your signage or display was your way to communicate that information. This, of course, was before the advent of the digital age as now everyone can just Google whatever they want to know. As a result, the new trend is ‘less is more’ – your customers have probably already done their research, and know why they want a particular product. The real question is, will they buy yours? Here is where the goal has changed. Now you need to use those traditional merchandising methods of signage and displays to attract, entice, and delight. Eye-catching, provocative, innovative signage is the best way to ensure that.
Another very popular merchandising method, experiential marketing is all about the experience. In its infancy, experiential marketing was a novelty that never wore off. It remains so. You really can’t deny the power of appealing to more than one sense; people like to touch, taste, smell, and hear what they are buying before they buy, thus the reason experiential marketing still proves to be as powerful as ever. As far as a traditional merchandising method, it cannot be ignored.
Also called mystery shopping, retail intelligence, or the act of gathering it, has not waned. Even with all of the technology being leveraged by companies, technology to track, order, inform, etc., retailers and brands alike still need to know how and why things are performing the way they are. Conducting an in-store review of employee behaviour, planogram compliance, stock levels and placement, or even store cleanliness can give you a great deal to work with when it comes to improving your selling strategies. Yet another traditional merchandising method that you can’t do without.
Being successful in the retail industry means adapting, being flexible, following (or at least considering) the trends making waves, and doing what you can to get customers to think of you. Traditional merchandising methods are a great way to do that – these still hold immense strength.
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