Merchandising: Think complementary, strategic

Q. How can I merchandise my inventory more effectively to increase my sales per customer metric?
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A. One of the toughest parts of running a retail store is getting people to visit.  This is especially true for specialty retailers, like HME stores. So, it only makes sense to do all you can to provide opportunities for your customer to take care of multiple issues at one time to sell more per transaction than you are now.After all, they are already in your store. Why not show them complementary products that could help them even more?

Merchandising can play a key role in doing this. What products you decide to place in certain parts of your store can have a big impact in increasing the amount of your average sale. There are two areas to focus on in merchandising for higher sales: complementary and strategic.

Complementary merchandising allows you to pair products that have common themes. If you shop on Amazon, you are always shown the “Customers who viewed this item also viewed …” section. Amazon believes (rightfully so) that customers are receptive to suggestions that might pair well with the main item they are buying. That can also work very well in your store. For example, a customer buying a toilet seat elevator may also need toilet safety rails, grab bars, shower seats, rollators, etc. And remember that most customers have little knowledge about the products we sell, so suggestions are usually welcomed.

Strategic merchandising deals with product positioning. Placing certain products in a prominent area of your store will draw customers’ attention. Find a highly-frequented section to display new products. Impulse buying happens most at the checkout area, drawing customers’ attention while they are waiting to be served. Point customers to such displays and offer samples, if appropriate.

Increasing your sales per transaction statistics does not have to be an arduous task, but does require some thought and planning. Start out with a simple goal and just a few items and build from there.