Retailers have incredible power over a brand’s in-store performance, especially as it relates to retail merchandising. The experience that a customer has with a brand at a particular retailer directly impacts how they feel about the brand and their future buying patterns. There is a real double edge sword at retail because a brand’s sales will determine (with bigger retailers) how a brand is prioritized and, at the same time, the actions of a retailer can directly interfere with a brand’s sales.
Larger retailers will establish policies that will determine how they will prioritize your brand and where they put your merchandise based on your product sales, which presents its own challenges. Meanwhile, smaller retailers are less organized this way but may make business decisions like cutting back on staff that can result in other challenges as it relates to retail merchandising.
Poor retail merchandising can have devastating impacts for new and smaller local brands who sometimes find themselves struggling to compete. For a brand to ensure that it is successful it must take control of its in-store presence. Brands cannot expect retailers to provide retail merchandising services, and brands simply cannot rely on the employees of retailers to set the stage for a positive customer experience. Retail merchandising services become important because the decisions that a retailer makes may result in your product not selling, and since you can’t count on retailers to provide them you must ensure that you have a plan in place to deal with retail merchandising.
The three most common issues that we see brands encounter at retail that can be solved through retail merchandising services, and that occur when brands are not in control of their presence at retail, include:
Sometimes retailers will arbitrarily move a product unbeknownst to the brand. For example, when a customer visits a grocery store, they know exactly where to look for the products that they like to purchase every week. When a customer cannot find a product where they are used to seeing it, they may choose to purchase a product offered by a competing brand. Also, depending on where the product has been moved, new customers may not find the product and when a brand does not have a measure in place to stay on top of this, they may not realize that there is a problem until they see it in their bottom line.
Retailers, especially those who take cost cutting measures to save money by laying off staff, will sometimes be lax when re-stocking products on the shelf. The product may be available in back stock rooms but because staff are busy, spread thin and working for the retailer and not the brand, re-stocking your product may not be a top priority. The result is that loyal customers and new potential customers alike will have no choice but to purchase a similar product from a competing brand.
Retailers decide where they place your merchandise to begin with. Brands may have less control with big box stores as far as where their product is placed, but do have some leverage with smaller retailers like grocery stores. When a brand’s product goes into the store it is important that the brand is engaged in the product placement process to ensure that the product isn’t placed in a section that isn’t the most ideal for the brand. For example, should parmesan cheese be placed with the cheeses or in the section where pasta noodles and sauces are? The same is true for visual marketing displays. Where a retailer chooses to place your visual display will directly impact how much exposure it gets.
Working with merchandising companies who offer retail merchandising services is an investment worth making and a brand’s best measure to ensure that those problems we have outlined in this article don’t occur. A small investment in your presence at retail will mean the difference between becoming a top seller and falling flat.
For more information about retail merchandising and retail merchandising services please contact Storesupport at 1 (877) 421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.