Retail merchandising helps brands ensure that once their inventory makes it to the retailer, everything goes smoothly. Here are three ways retail merchandising can help you make the holidays, from Halloween through New Year’s, less spooky and more profitable.
What is retail merchandising?
Before diving into what retail merchandising can do for your sales, it’s important to understand what retail merchandising is and what retail merchandising is not.
Retail merchandising is not Space Planning. Space Planning uses software to apply visual design and planogram layouts to store fixtures. Space Planning creates assortment organization and improves space efficiency. Retail merchandising is also often confused with visual merchandising, which is the design element that you think of when you see window displays.
Retail merchandising companies ensure a brand’s product is fully stocked according to the space plan design and kept clean and bright to be visually appealing to the customer.
Retail merchandising companies don’t just make sure your product is available and attention grabbing. A merchandising company can help brands better understand their competition, customer behavior, and keep a pulse on trends at the retail stores they work in.
Being able to make sense of key analytics is no small feat and one that brands consistently underestimate. McKinsey reports that businesses who use their customer analytics “are 6.5 times more likely to retain customers, 7.4 times more likely to outperform their competitors… and nearly 19 times more likely to achieve above-average profitability.”
Retail merchandisers can help you gather this data, make sense of it, and apply it in real-time so your sales can increase.
Partnering with a retail merchandiser can help you:
1. Trust your inventory counts are correct and product is stocked frequently.
Without inventory, you have no sales. But how do you know if the retailer you entrust your inventory to is auditing inventory and restocking your product frequently enough? Employees at big box retailers get busy and are asked to wear many hats, which means the data they send you may not be 100% accurate.
In fact, did you know that the inventory accuracy threshold for retailers is only 63%?
Make sure that your inventory isn’t part of the 37% that’s incorrectly accounted for. Retail merchandisers visit the retailer and track down what’s actually going on with your inventory. They’ll count it, restock it, and make sure that your products are exactly where they should be: on the shelf where customers can buy them.
2. Make the investments made in endcaps and displays drive the sales you expect.
Brands know the investment it takes to secure an endcap or display area inside a retailer. Endcaps and other display areas are highly visible and increase exposure to a brand’s products in high traffic areas and help you stand out from the competition.
What manufacturers may not know is that these secondary locations are set late, set incorrectly, or not set at all almost 60% of the time.
Endcaps and displays are also not stocked as frequently as a product’s home location. A merchandising company can audit these locations making sure product is set correctly and fully stocked, maximizing your return on investment.
3. Manage store-level lifecycle.
Retail merchandisers can help manage the lifecycle of your products in a few ways by helping you out with Instant Rebate Coupons (IRCs). Using IRCs can help you increase sales by turning over slower-moving products or those nearing the end of their lifecycle. They are most effective when used applied surgically in heavily inventoried stores or regions coming out of the holiday season. Brands can also choose to add permanent IRCs to perishables during product rotation to clear out expiring inventory.
IRCs help brands maximize their profit margin on inventory by increasing inventory turnover and reducing markdowns.
However, managing IRCs can be time consuming and expensive if done by your own staff. Retail merchandising companies can manage the process of implementing IRCs by placing them, or neck hangers, on your products right in the store, saving you time and labor expense.
What else can retail merchandisers do for you?
If you’re still on the fence about whether partnering with a retail merchandiser is an investment you want to make, consider these additional services they can provide.
- Helping you with safety recalls and packaging issues
- Replacing and updating shelf displays and ISM materials
- In-store marketing initiatives
- Scan-Based Trading management
But don’t just take our word for it. Talk to current customers and representatives at the retail merchandising partner you’re considering. Ask customers about their experience and why they would, or wouldn’t, recommend that partner. Ask representatives of the company exactly how they work with their customers. What type of service can you expect? What happens when you need something done immediately? Ask to see their compliance and execution rates. As a reference, Retail Merchandising Services, Inc. regularly achieves rates of over 98%.
Partnering with an expert retail merchandiser can make the difference between missing your holiday sales goals or having your best year ever. Give yourself confidence that your inventory is performing as it should and that it’s where it should be. Having a partner that manages the in-store headaches for you can make all the difference to how your holiday season will go.
Learn more about how Retail Merchandising Services, Inc. can help your make your sales increase.