Merchandising Know-How: Let's Table It

Let's talk tables -- table merchandising that is. The next time you're in a Nordstrom or specialty men's shop notice how tables are utilized to show T-shirts, folded dress shirts, shoes, ties and accessories. There's a reason retailers like to use tables.

Let's talk tables -- table merchandising that is. The next time you're in a Nordstrom or specialty men's shop notice how tables are utilized to show T-shirts, folded dress shirts, shoes, ties and accessories. There's a reason retailers like to use tables.

Tables are a great place to stock folded merchandise and give it more visibility. You'll usually find merchandised tables in the front of a department on the aisle or in the middle of a department to break up a sea of floor fixtures.

The kind of table you use doesn't matter as long as it fits in with the store aesthetics and fits into the space provided. It could be a table you find at a flea market, unfinished furniture store or antique shop. You might have fun hunting for the right table for your store.

To maximize space and add flexibility, check out nesting tables. These are most often two to three tables that fit underneath each other. Use separately or together by fanning them out to create a stair-step effect.

When creating table displays always vary the height of the products shown. Use acrylic risers to create platforms of different heights or cover boxes with brown craft paper and stack them in two's and three's to achieve the height you need. Create a focal point on the table by placing a tall vase with dried or fresh flowers (or objects like walking sticks or ski poles) in the center or slightly off-center.

When arranging products on a table, consider how customers will look at the display. You want them to first notice the focal point, the tallest object on the table, then work their way down to the lowest in an "S" pattern. You can guide a customer's attention by overlapping adjacent items to keep the eye moving and ensure they see everything on the table.

Always accessorize the product on display by cross-merchandising it with related products. You'll be making "silent suggestions" to customers about what to buy and, at the same time, creating add-on sales.

If you're interested in finding nesting tables, you can check with your local display fixture shop. Or go to one of the following websites offering interesting and varied table options:




I urge you to utilize tables as they break up the monotony of floor fixtures, are a great way to show folded merchandise and create all sorts of opportunities for cross-merchandising accessories, clothing and hardgoods. Best of all, they add interest to your store.

Sharon Leicham is the creator of The MerchandisingHUB, the author of "Merchandising Your Way to Success" and "How to Sell to Women" and is a regular columnist for SNEWS® writing on merchandising and marketing topics. You can access all of her columns by going to, where you will find tons of information targeted at the needs of the independent specialty retailer. You can email us with questions and comments at

For more retail training support and know-how, be sure to check out the SNEWS® Business 101 tools and stories, including our 10-part Retail Merchandising Training series produced by SNEWS®, including a useful online calculator for performing the most common retail merchandising calculations -- free to All Access Subscribers.


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