Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL is a merchandising professional that utilizes her various skills to assist businesses with ways to maximize and increase sales. In the following article, Cathy Carter-Culp discusses merchandising techniques specifically for smaller businesses, for both brick-and-mortar and online sales.
Merchandising is the process of planning and selecting the right mix of products and services to sell, and then pricing, displaying and promoting them in a way that will maximize sales and profits. Good merchandising helps small businesses increase profits by carefully planning storefronts to attract customers and encourage them to buy. But to be successful, small businesses must implement strategic techniques to stand out from competitors explains Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL.
By using effective lighting to highlight basic floor designs, creating attractive displays, balancing shelf space and open space, and utilizing online merchandising, small businesses can increase their product turnover and generate more revenue. Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL explores some of these techniques and explains how powerful merchandising can help small businesses grow.
Creating Floor Displays that Showcase the Product
When a buyer enters a store, they generally have an idea of what they’re looking for. Yet, many shoppers lack a conceptualized image of how a product will fit into their home or life. By displaying items throughout the store in a way that showcases their functionality and potential, shoppers can better visualize how the merchandise will work for them explains Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL
For example, a garden supply store could create visually striking layouts that balance potted plants with outdoor furniture to display a potential outdoor seating area. This way, shoppers can get an idea of how to arrange products around their homes and are encouraged to buy additional items to complete the look.
Balancing Open Space with Shelf Space
Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that creating attractive floor displays may encourage buyers to complete their purchase but they’re not as effective at pushing casual browsers to become full-on consumers. To increase their interest in the brand and merchandise, business owners must carefully balance how and where they display products. This means designing floor layouts according to the following principles:
- Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding a storefront with row after row of products can cause customers to feel cramped and lost within a maze of hard-to-find items. Rather than structuring the store like a warehouse, consider displaying only a limited selection of each product. This will help customers feel like they can browse at their leisure without feeling overwhelmed.
- Use Empty Space as an Advantage: Empty space doesn’t have to be wasted space. In fact, by utilizing empty space as an advantage, business owners can create the illusion of a larger store and give customers a sense of breathing room says Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL. Carefully consider how and where to place products to make the most of the available space.
- Create Clear Directional Signage: Directional signage is key to helping customers navigate through the store and find what they’re looking for. By clearly labeling sections and aisles, shopkeepers can help customers quickly and easily find the products they need without having to search high and low.
By creating a harmonious and balanced space, business owners can create warmer sales areas that are more welcoming and encourage customers to peruse the products on their own time.
Never Underestimate the Power of Good Lighting
The right lighting can make all the difference when it comes to merchandising in-store. Good lighting can highlight products, create an inviting atmosphere, and make a space feel more open and spacious. Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that when planning a store’s lighting, consider the following tips:
- Avoid Fluorescent Lighting: Fluorescent lighting is harsh and can make products look cheap and unappealing. If possible, use warm lights and avoid using fluorescent lighting altogether.
- Use a Mix of Lighting: Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that using a mix of lighting, including incandescent, halogen, and LED lights, can create a more inviting and natural atmosphere. By playing with different light sources, business owners can create a unique ambiance that will make their stores stand out.
- Focus on Product Display Areas: When placing lights, be sure to focus on areas where products will be displayed. This will help highlight the merchandise and make it more appealing to customers.
By taking the time to plan a store’s lighting, business owners can create a space that is more inviting and that will help the products sell themselves.
In today’s digital age, Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that small businesses can no longer afford to ignore the power of online merchandising. By creating an online presence, small businesses can reach a wider audience and sell their products and services to a global market. This means:
- Creating mobile-friendly websites where customers can browse via their phones
- Optimizing content for search engines using high-traffic keywords
- Offering high-resolution product images to drive consumer interest
Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that when small businesses effectively market their merchandise online, as well as in a storefront, they can grow their brand and reach a larger market beyond their local area.
Effective merchandising is about more than just placing products on shelves. Cathy Carter-Culp of Barrington, IL says that by taking the time to plan store layouts, create attractive displays, and utilize good lighting and online merchandising, small businesses can increase profits and reach a wider audience.