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How to Make Your Product Stand Out in a Retail Environment

There are a myriad of tactical tools brands use to create awareness and encourage sales in the retail environment. Your product, in conjunction with the right display used appropriately, can accelerate sales efficiently and be one of the most effective marketing tools a brand can use. Other sales materials, like static clings, shelf strips and floor graphics are also often used. This type of non-product holding messaging in a busy, colorful store works well and is a less costly method of advertising but it may not have as big of an impact on the consumer as a product holding display.

The key to successfully making your product standout in the retail setting is creating stopping power! So how do you do that? Does the product and the display need to be fancy? Include lots of bells and whistles?

Given that the retail shopper doesn’t have time to shop around, you must find a way to break through the typical busy environment of the store. Additionally, the retail customer exhibits a level of focus that makes them likely to be engaged by fun marketing messages.

As with most things, to win the battle, you must keep it simple. Over the years we have found techniques that are timeless and generate consistent, positive results. Below are 5 of the most important areas to remember when thinking about merchandising your product.

The first is to make the product the hero. The product you are selling is the most important marketing tool and messaging you have. The primary packaging should be the main focus to entice prospective buyers. You should merchandise your brand and your “news” (new products) front and center. The more prominent the news, the more likely it will be seen. Keeping the product in the “shopping” zone is also key. Make it easy for folks to grab your product. Be sure to stay within easy arms reach.

Secondly, you need an eye catching display to work cleverly around your primary packaging. One important factor here is relevance. Again, you are trying to make a connection with the customer so the more you align with their interests and what is going on in their world, the more chances you will have for engagement in their busy lives.

The display can be seasonally appropriate by connecting with the consumer during the obvious seasons like the holidays, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Halloween.  Additionally, occasions like hunting season, football, basketball, baseball and soccer can be great to connect with the consumer.

When using a merchandising display, optimizing the available display surface to get your message out and brand the display is very important. Besides the important brand messaging, it makes the unit a little more difficult for others to use for other products and it should help maximize staying power

Thirdly, knowing the audience is another important part of creating a display that connects with the consumer. Who are you talking to? For instance, a pink hunting display might not illicit a brand building response from the consumer. A football display in Dallas that features the Philadelphia Eagles may be less than well received and unlikely to improve sales.

In addition, you also have to be careful to understand that the retail store patron may not matchup with the typical demographic of the zip code.   In a mature less dynamic neighborhood the demo of the area may be a closer match to the consumer, but in fast growing areas, there will be many retail patrons who don’t live in the area. Understanding those differences are important when designing a campaign and thinking about how to display your product and which products to promote.

Fourthly, is the location of the product/display. One of the most important factors in how well merchandising encourages sales is the location or placement of the product/display in the c-store. A key is making sure your brand is present at the “moments of decision” for the consumer. So, where are those in-store “moments of decision”? Experience tells us that those locations and times are at the front of the store, main isle, department of which your product is normally sold, and at the register area. Finding a way to integrate merchandising in these areas usually maximizes the sales’ upside.

Additionally, you can merchandise your brands in conjunction with complementary products. If those complementary items are high volume items, then your brand will have more visibility. An example of a good complement is drinks and snacks.

Other things that can maximize merchandising effectiveness would be gaining multiple placements in a store. The more chances a consumer has to interact with your brand the better chance to make a sale. Also, hitting those high traffic areas can provide a leg up on other products.

Employing other interactive things like motion and sound to maximize stopping power can be effective but many companies ultimately decide that the marketing spend equation is unfavorably lopsided when adding these often expensive options. Execution is usually challenging and therefore inconsistent across the marketplace and they usually require battery power, which means a limited useful life cycle.

Finally, the fifth important area is to make sure the display is optimized for the store space. Not too tall, not too short and the correct foot print are critical to making sure the unit is well received at the store level and has the flexibility to be in the high traffic areas and with complementary products.

In the end, the things that make products standout in the retail environment are primarily location, location, location, location. Highlight your product in the right place at the right time and most other concerns become secondary. The hard work is developing an overall merchandising plan that deserves that coveted status.


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