Merchandising Tour: Creating visual interest with creative accessory displays

The varietal nature of accessory products can present a merchandising challenge, but there are ways for displays to stand out. Consider these creative ideas SNEWS spotted at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011.

Accessories cover a wide range of different products, designs and sizes, making merchandising a challenge. But the category can also be a lot of fun if you turn your creativity loose with customer engagement at the forefront. Don’t be afraid to let your imagination (and your product) out of the box and explore ideas that not only get attention and demonstrate product use, but drive sales.

Check out the creative ways accessories were merchandised by these brands at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011:

Bison Designs

Products with a wide variety of designs like these webbed belts by Bison Designs, benefit from methods that display different styles in a way that encourages customer exploration and spotlights the opportunities in color choice. Belt fixtures can be limited in organization possibilities, but this type of display grabs attention and helps a consumer know what their style options are.


Ruff Wear

Dog leashes and collars on a peg are old school and messy and don’t do much to excite the consumer. A simple steel cylinder like this creates art out of colorful merchandise and is also an easy way to organize product. Ditto for the dog bowls stuffed with dog toys. Take care to maintain order and category by keeping the same style inside each bowl, but this method will be sure to keep your zoning to a minimum and might also encourage man’s best friend to make his or her own choice!


Sunglass and display fixtures are fairly standard in outdoor retail stores, but each of those methods either requires a sales person to unlock a case or can make style organization a bit unwieldy. Why not have some fun, and create visual interest for your potential customers like Native did with their eyeglass tree? With the thoughtful placement of mirrors, shoppers can easily explore different frame styles, and when they are done trying them on, the styles stay put.

Metolius Climbing

Climbing departments are full of color and cool gadgets, and when effectively merchandised can pull in curious customers who have never climbed. Metolius not only has their organization of accessories down pat, but also does a fine job of demonstrating their products in use and creating visual interest by placing mannequins on the wall to demonstrate harnesses. They even have some fun with this well-inked lady atop a portaledge!

Bottom line, if you shake up your accessory merchandising, even if in a small way, you encourage more interaction with your customers. And, increased customer engagement always has the potential to translate into increased sales.

Robin Enright is the founder of Merchandising Matters, an agency providing visual merchandising support to brands and retailers and is the merchandising editor for SNEWS. Email Robin at with questions, ideas and suggestions.