Merchandising Know-How: Summer Accessory Spotlight

More often than not accessory displays are a mishmash, with accessories finding their way into nooks and crannies all over the store. With summer sales winding down and fall sales yet to start, re-merchandising accessories into "boutiques" or special areas of their own makes sales sense. After all, there are margins to be made with accessories.
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More often than not accessory displays are a mishmash, with accessories finding their way into nooks and crannies all over the store. With summer sales winding down and fall sales yet to start, re-merchandising accessories into "boutiques" or special areas of their own makes sales sense. After all, there are margins to be made with accessories.

Gather the accessory items that you want to move before the season ends. It might be sandals, bug bands, hats, T-shirts, whistles, mosquito head nets, sunscreen, waterproof bags and folding chairs. Find an area in the front third of the store and set up a table, a stack of cubes or use a portion of slatwall with shelving, hooks and rods. The best location for an accessory boutique is adjacent to your cash/wrap counter to capture those all-important impulse buys. The space required depends on the amount of accessory merchandise you want to stock, but, ideally, you shouldn't need more than a 4-foot-square space. The important thing is that you create a well-defined area.

Bring accessory items from every part of the store to the boutique area and arrange them at different levels incorporating props for interest. A mountain theme might include pinecones, rocks and pine boughs. Near a beach? Use sand, shells and fanciful fish. Or if a river is your choice use river rocks, grasses, miniature canoes or kayaks.

"Did you remember…?" or "Don't forget…!" make attention-grabbing headlines for signage in your accessory boutique. And most importantly, keep the area neat, orderly and re-stocked because it's a sure bet that by spotlighting accessories your sell-through will increase.

Sharon Leicham's merchandising column appears twice a month in SNEWS. Leicham is the author of Merchandising Your Way to Success and How to Sell to Women and is a frequent contributor to trade magazines writing on merchandising and marketing topics. She recently launched a website, www.merchandisingHUB.com, with information targeted at the independent specialty retailer.

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