For merchants, the promotion of products to installers and other customers has always been an essential part of the sales process. However, despite the increasing availability and uptake of digital marketing channels and technologies, what happens in store remains crucial.
From layout to special offers, packaging, posters and price promotions, visual merchandising can:
- Maximise the presentation of products
- Generate interest
- Help customers to find products more easily
- Provide inspiration and solutions
- Increase sales and profits.
At Westco, as well as introducing new product lines and doing our bit to raise the standards of our industry, our focus has always been on building partnerships with our customers. And, as part of this partnership approach, we plan to reach out to our merchant customers; helping them to maximise revenue for their own businesses through the provision of sales and marketing support.
Over the next few months, Westco Marketing Manager Katie Cullen will be sharing a range of handy guides to help us do this; beginning with some top tips on how to create effective in store displays.
Ten top visual merchandising tips:
- Understand your customer. Understanding and satisfying customers is the key to delivering excellent service and generating repeat business. As such, when it comes to successful visual merchandising, the more you know about your customers, the easier it is to deliver in store solutions that improve the overall customer experience. If you haven’t already done so, spend some time figuring out the wants, needs and motivations of your customers and use this knowledge to inform all your visual merchandising decisions.
- Make it easy for your customers. Now you know who your customers are, and what they want from you, review your layout and make sure you’re helping them to fulfil this need as quickly as possible. Use signage and posters to help them identify and find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Don’t just organise your products in a way that suits you – unless it also makes sense to your customers.
- Group and segment your products. Grouping different, yet related product items together is a commonly used visual merchandising technique because it works! As well as helping to speed up the buying process, by positioning products together you may also inspire your customers to try a something new; maximising the potential for cross-selling.
- Utilise your data. Where do your best sales happen? If you’re not sure, invest in some research to find your hot-spots. High-traffic areas are usually effective. Experiment and place the products you want to sell in these areas to see what happens, and use advertisements and displays to capture interest in the spots that generate the most traffic.
- Give your customers something for nothing. Everyone loves a bargain, so consider using offers and test promotions to spark interest in key products. Putting our money where our mouth is, this is something we’ve done at Westco. For example, to celebrate adding Pipeloc to our ever–growing range of over 5,500 product lines, we’re currently giving away Pipeloc repair couplings to installers.
- Be current. At certain times of the year, certain products may be in higher demand than others. For example, spring remains a popular time for homeowners to look at home improvements such as a new bathroom. Rather than keeping the layout of your store fixed all year round, consider promoting and prioritising seasonally relevant items to help maximise sales and demonstrate that you understand the needs of your installer customers.
- Promote your products. Take advantage of point of sale (POS) displays to advertise promotions alongside your products. In doing so, you’ll give your customers the opportunity to learn about new products, which could result in higher sales.
- Use your space. Windows are one of the most useful visual merchandising tools at your disposal. Make sure to use yours to promote and inspire sales. Likewise, if you have any outdoor space at your disposal, consider how you can use this as extra advertising space.
- Consider the packaging you use. Key to maximising profits, specially designed, strategically placed, retail ready packaging is proven to lead to increased sales. And, don’t overlook the opportunity to give your own brand a boost by using your logo on the products sold in your store wherever possible.
- Consider all the customer touchpoints. While what happens in store matters, your offline presence no longer exists in isolation. Today’s customers not only look at your website to help the buying process, they are also increasingly turning to social media to help form purchasing decisions. And this goes for business buyers as well as consumers. Recommendations, price comparisons and reviews are often sought online before a customer will even step through your shop door, so it’s important to be “multi-channel”. To help you with this, we’ll be looking at how to get the most out of your online marketing efforts later in this series of guides.
To help our customers to maximise sales and raise the profile of their brands, at Westco we supply a range of visual merchandising support. This includes stickers imprinted with our merchant customer’s logos – allowing them sell Westco ‘white-labelled’ products under their own name. In addition, we also supply quality printed product posters to our customers, which they can use to promote these products in store, while tailoring the price accordingly.
The Westco team helping one of our customer to set up a bespoke display.
Of course, for many of our stockists, the key to providing great customer service lies primarily in product innovation. With this in mind, at Westco we remain firmly committed to collaboration and understanding what our stockists want to supply to their customers. And, with an ever-growing range of over 5,500 product lines, all of which are available for immediate dispatch, we’re proud to provide the UK’s merchants, plumbers and heating installers with the products they need to service every job.