Merchandising Know-How: The way of the Four-Way

This isn't an article about Zen, meditation or group yoga. It's about that all-important fixture used to present apparel -- the four-way. Should your memory need jogging, the four-way is a chrome or wood rack with four arms facing four different directions. Almost everyone uses four-ways, but they often use them incorrectly.
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This isn't an article about Zen, meditation or group yoga. It's about that all-important fixture used to present apparel -- the four-way. Should your memory need jogging, the four-way is a chrome or wood rack with four arms facing four different directions. Almost everyone uses four-ways, but they often use them incorrectly.

Four-ways are presentation fixtures (as opposed to stocking fixtures that hold more merchandise) and are designed to show a collection of four separate items of coordinated apparel meant to be worn as an outfit.

Avoid using the four-way to hang only one category of clothing, such as all bottoms or all tops. Instead, mix it up. Hang pants on one arm, shorts on the opposite one, shirts that coordinate with both bottoms on the third arm, and a lightweight shell on the fourth arm.

Try to avoid hanging clothing with different profiles on the same arm. That means no shorts and pants together, no tops and bottoms together. It is admissible and encouraged, however, to combine one bottom with a top on the end of an arm to create a display. The top hangs in front of the bottom.

Always vary the height of the arms. Place two arms at different heights to create more interest. Make sure pants don't drag on the floor by adjusting the arm up.

Position four-ways at the front of your apparel area and always angle them so that one of the arms is facing approaching customers.

For more information on four-ways and related fixture capacities, uses, materials and costs, go to www.merchandisingHUB.com.

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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