Merchandising Tour: Useful tips for managing and stocking accessory walls and fixtures

Who among us hasn’t suffered the frustration of restocking or setting up an accessory wall or fixture? There are so many different items and SKU's to deal with that the question always becomes, “Where in the heck am I going to put these?” Read what Sharon Leicham suggests to pump up sales and make this job less about guesswork.

What does the term "added value" mean to you? Add-on sales? Better customer service? Increased margins? For those in visual merchandising, it means the sell-through that is achieved through the art of display. Well-conceived product presentations sell merchandise. It's a fact. And one of the best places to get visual merchandising ideas is at trade shows.

This year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market featured a series of visual merchandising tours of exhibitor booths, sponsored by Outdoor Retailer, pointing out the product displays that could easily be translated in the retail store. In the next few months, we'll discuss the best ideas found during the tours, why they captured our attention, and how to adapt them to the retail environment. The ideas apply to a broad range of products, companies, brands and segments, too.

There's also something in this for you, our readers. We want to know how you applied tips and suggestions from our Merchandising Tour article series in your own store. Send SNEWS® your images and a paragraph or two explaining what you did, and you'll be entered in a contest to win free lodging at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2010.

Accessory display can be a real headache. Who among us hasn’t suffered the frustration of restocking or setting up an accessory wall or fixture? There are so many different items and SKUs to deal with that the question always becomes, “Where in the heck am I going to put these?”

The Sea to Summit booth at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market caught my eye because the company found a way to organize, promote and present its accessory line in an easy-to-understand and visually exciting way through the use of modular fixturing, excellent informational signage, and colorful product and packaging. It was a visual relief to visit the company’s booth after a long day of trekking through the aisles.

Product was hung on freestanding fixtures arranged in the center of the booth and on the walls. The booth could be entered from two aisles so, instead of creating barriers to the booth entrances by arranging the freestanding display walls parallel to the aisles, the company angled the fixtures creating “avenues” into the booth. This arrangement invited people to discover the products hanging on both sides of the fixtures.

The real strength of the booth was the manner in which the products were hung on the fixtures and walls. Too often, retailers will start with a particular product on the left of a display and continue hanging it at the same level horizontally to the right. While that may look okay there’s always one product that ends up at the bottom of the display where it is hard to reach and see. Instead, do as Sea to Summit did and hang an inventory of product vertically. That way, a particular product is always at eye level where it sells the best.

Another merchandising and display trick it to employ the ROY G. BV method of dealing with products of different colors. ROY G. BV is an easy way to remember how to hang product colors for best effect. Starting on the left of a fixture, follow the formula of hanging vertically all red products, then continue with oranges, yellows, greens, blues and violets. This is a pleasing arrangement and makes deciding how to deal with color much easier. Get to know and use ROY!

Once product is arranged on fixtures or walls, the next step is finding a way to promote it and draw attention to it. If you’ve done your job of organizing and placement, signage is your next concern. A store’s sales staff can’t be everywhere at once, so “silent selling” becomes a necessity. That means utilizing signs to provide customers with product features and benefits and recommended usage. If you can communicate the how, when, why and where of an accessory in simple terms with limited text and illustration, your chance for a sale soars. Sea to Summit fashioned a signage attachment that can be placed on any of its fixtures and, luckily, it offers the signage to its dealers.

Don’t forget category signage as well as product signage. That’s something Sea to Summit did so well, too. The company categorized products on the fixtures according to activity. Make category signs larger, make them visible from the front of the store, and make them colorful. Take accessory display and merchandising from frustrating to fun and sell a lot more product in the process.

Join Sharon Leicham, author of "Merchandising Your Way to Success" and merchandising editor for SNEWS®, during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2010 for the second Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tour program. These hour-long merchandising tours of select exhibitor booths and displays give retailers an unprecedented opportunity to tap into Leicham's 40 years of experience in merchandising with manufacturers such as Specialized Bicycle Components and Sierra Designs. Email to put your name on a contact list for more information and priority scheduling for the Outdoor Retailer Merchandising Tours, Winter Market 2010 -- spaces are limited.



Merchandising Tour: A word about walls

To make effective use of your walls takes more than just a word. It takes several -- knowing how to present products on walls, what materials to use on walls, and how to get walls to attract customer attention. Walls are useful because they hold a lot of merchandise, are more


Merchandising Tour: Let there be light!

Good lighting is an essential part of any store. Of course, it helps customers see better, but more importantly, it enhances the merchandise and displays, wakes up the store and adds color freshness. Some stores, primarily discounters, use high levels of overall, even lighting more