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Understanding Retail – How Merchandising Works

by Olufisayo
How Merchandising Works

Retail Merchandising refers to the varied activities, designs and tactics which contribute to the sale of retail products. Retail merchandising is designed to influence the consumer to purchase particular products, and to attract potential purchasers to a store. It is also utilised to promote brand identification and brand loyalty.

Retail merchandising is therefore an integral component of any brand’s growth strategy.

Read on to find how merchandising works, and how it can be utilised to propel the sale of your products.

How Merchandising Works

The Target Consumer

Before developing any retail merchandising strategy, merchandising companies undertake significant research into your target consumer. Only when you have your target consumer in mind, can you create a successful and enticing merchandising strategy.

Different products will have a different target consumer. Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer is, therefore, essential to create the ideal customer experience.

Identifying your Brand

Even if your brand encompasses a range of differing products, it is essential to develop a clear brand message and image. Your brand message encompasses what your brand stands for, and the tone that you bring to your products. While many businesses may sell the same or similar products, your brand message is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from any competitors.

The brand message should therefore be present in every decision a retail merchandiser makes in relation to their product placement, product presentation and display.

Product Placement

Successful product placement is the result of significant consumer research, market research and various influencing tactics. Product presentation plays an important role in attracting customers to a product, and prompting them to make a purchase.

You may be surprised to learn about the significant time and planning that goes into product placement. Research has shown that since most of us are right handed, it is common for consumers to first go toward the right side of a store. Merchandisers therefore display their expensive collections to the right side of the store and to the right side of the display shelf.

Successful brands will never randomly place products within a store, and will undertake significant research to place their products in locations which will reach their target consumer. Product presentation must therefore be appropriate for the season and for the latest trends.

Product Presentation

Product presentation includes packaging or presenting your products to entice potential purchasers. With many competitors offering the same or similar products, your packaging is often a key selling point to set your product apart from competitors.

Your product packing needs to entice consumers, whilst also providing them with enough information about the product to comfortably make a purchase. Successful product presentation provides your consumers with a distinct and lasting impression of your brand. Retail merchandisers will therefore utilise brand identification markers, including logos, in their product presentation. Anyone who sees the famous ‘Nike tick’ immediately thinks of the brand. Retail merchandisers therefore utilise this identification throughout their product presentation.

Grouped Product Display

Grouping products is a retail merchandising trick, designed to entice consumers to up-sell when shopping. Grouping related products together encourages consumers to purchase products that they might not have otherwise purchased. The simple product placement of tea bags next to coffee mugs is all it takes to entice many consumers to make the additional purchase. The products you stock next to each other should always make sense together, and should not confuse or distract any potential purchasers.


Thoroughly researched and tested retail merchandising, is therefore integral for any successful brand. With a number of important considerations to factor in when creating a brand merchandising campaign, understanding the influences on consumer behaviour is essential.

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