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  • Writer's pictureKenny Vannucci


Updated: Apr 23, 2023

This article was part of CHFA's #CHFAnow West show at the end of March, 2023. This is one of four articles that Kenny and Phil wrote as part of the show's resources that turned into 5 Areas Retailers Need to Focus on to Succeed in 2023. If you're a retailer, you still might want to sign up and grab the resources, we were only one part of a wonderful group of people who contributed some amazing articles. (Hive Naturals, Graff Retail, and the folks at CHFA naturally)

In a world that is moving lightning fast and the attention span and patience of consumers has shortened greatly over the years, a solid merchandising plan in your physical store and your digital stores has never been more essential and required. You must get to the point of your enterprise quickly and effectively and your mindfulness to an omnichannel approach to merchandising is critical.

First Impressions matter

Your merchandising begins on the outside of your store and is as important to how you store looks and feels inside. Be very cognizant of what your bricks and mortar is saying to consumers before they even get into your store. How does your store look from the outside? Are you free of garbage and debris? Sidewalks, windows, and doors clean. Outside selling areas, if any, are they clean and presentable. Does your store invite me in or scare me away?

When finally in your establishment, what is my entrance going to feel like?

Calm and relaxed, providing me a chance to land and decompress or is it a cluttered, busy and or noisy landing pad?

How will I feel when I first come into your store – is it inviting or off- putting?

Can I navigate without tripping into displays, product, carts etc… If I have a buggy or a walker, can I maneuver?

Are shelves well stocked and faced with signs and labels so I can see the value propositions that you are trying to entice me with? These are very basic things that can not be overlooked today. In normal times, customers are looking for an enjoyable experience. In tougher economic times, customers need an experience - they've already cut fun things from their shrinking budget. The nicer the experience, the more likely they are to return to shop again.

'Omni' means everywhere

They are checking you out online most likely first before coming to you, if at all as we know that online purchasing, home delivery and buy online pick up in store have become more popular since Covid. When they do make the journey to you, are you making the experience as painless as possible?

The money is in the product; what is the plan when purchasing?

Product selection and deselections is one of the most important aspects of your retail business. What are you? What are you offering? Why am I shopping you?

How do you choose product? Is it price? About supporting local? Trends and innovations – the new and cool? Healthy? Organic? All about the Deal? Seasonally relevant?

This is one of the key areas that we all need to spend more time and consideration on. Our money is made here; what is the plan when purchasing?

Does product placement make sense? What is/was your goal in merchandising; does your planogramming effectively communicate this? How did you come up with the planograms; on you own, seeing others, help from industry?

What are your off shelf displays trying to do? Increase my shopping basket in a thoughtful manner by displaying items that I may not have thought about? Highlighting new and cool or local? Convery ad Deal?

Your objective is to get me to buy a few more things that I did not know I needed; quickly and easily…

These ideas and concepts are very basic and foundational. They require some effort and time, but they are not complicated, but they do need a strategy and a plan.

Reports from most experts are all indicating that 2023 will be a tough year on consumers, retailers, and vendors. Do your stores and products have what it takes to make it through these interesting times?

Photo by Craig Adderley:

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