Want Merchandising Success? Follow These 5 Tips
By Jaclyn Amaru
Here at Intrepid International ,we know that being a retailer is not easy these days. Consumers have particular ideas and demands about products, service and value with many doing their research about an item before they even step foot into a store, if they even leave home now-a-days. Here, we are going to discuss tips on how you can optimize your merchandising to increase sales in your horse tack store.
Selecting the Right Products
As a saddlery, you compete with not only an online market, but also big box tack stores as well. Therefore, part of selecting the right products is really knowing your customer base. Take the time to learn about the people walking through your door. Do they manage a barn? Do they own horses or just ride in lessons? Do they show? Do they appreciate organic or raw materials? The more you know about your customer base, the more you can start to cater to their needs and anticipate their wants.
The important thing to keep in mind when stocking your inventory is exclusivity and variety, without redundancy. Vital to this is also using an inventory tracking software so you can be aware of exactly what leaves the store; in what quantity and styles, over what period of time. This also ensures after you have selected the right products, you replenish them appropriately and track shrink. If a customer asks if you have something, but don’t carry it, suggest that it may be something you could bring in for them. Service should be second to none.
Visual placement and store aesthetics play just as an important part in merchandising as selecting the actual products to display. The goal for visual merchandisers is to draw the consumer into the store and create a desirable shopping experience that fuels consumers to say, “I need that” or “I want that.” Some expert tips when considering your visual approach are:
- Create simple window stories that avoid clutter and consider changing minimally six times a year
- Use an eye-catching, upfront display to slow down traffic through the front door
- Studies have shown that customers prefer to walk to the right and counter-clockwise around the store, so angle your aisles or displays to harbor this notion
- Create aisles on an angle rather than parallel to the store walls if room allows for it
- Keep shelves, floors, display tables and windows neat, clean and dust-free, as well as make repairs when key point of sale materials become damaged
- Place items you want to showcase at eye level – consider changing weekly
- Fill empty wall space with lifestyle graphics that compliment your store’s image or what your trying to sell
- Use subtle lighting to bring attention to products you want to highlight, track lighting works the best
- Organize products in a way that makes sense, but still offers the consumer a chance to discover new things
- Showcase new items and equipment- if you plan to bring in a new line, consider a launch party or private first showing for VIP or loyal customers; additionally, reach out to the vendors for samples, promotional materials or even brand ambassador visits to help create hype for new merchandise; don’t be afraid to create or share samples on your own dime either to ensure future returns
- Consider having a merchandising student from a local college come by and offer some tips
Merchandising a tack store means selling high-end equipment and apparel. Consider using techniques like anchoring when discussing prices with customers. Similarly, the placement of an expensive item next to a similar more expensive item will help offset the originally unpleasing price. Studies have also shown that prices listed in smaller type-face without the dollar sign are more palatable to customers. Another idea when speaking about a particular product is to figuratively shine a light on it. For example, if a saddle had two previous prototypes, three designers of which one was an Olympic rider, has hand-stitched Italian leather and every purchase saves a horse from slaughter, then highlight these previously unforeseen core attributes.
Talk a Good Game
Good merchandising should drive sales without an associate on the floor. However, customers will inevitably have questions or want an expert opinion, especially when it comes to high-ticket items. Be sure your staff is well-educated and approachable in what you are selling and can help guide the customer to making an informed decision. Customers are impressed with knowledge, but avoid pushiness or too much up-selling as this can result in unfavorable outcomes. The customer should be made to feel that they are making the decision.
Revamp Your Online Presence
According to a recent article, in 2017, three out of six categories of products that are projected to take off in the e-commerce sector are pet products, artisanal goods and sporting goods, all of which the equestrian market falls into. Be sure that your website is user friendly with plenty of vibrant pictures and helpful item descriptions. It is also useful to have product-rating options for customers as well as a general feedback writing areas where customers can post pictures as well. Sometimes the best selling comes from other customers.
Consider occasional online incentives to buy, such as a time limitation check out if someone fills a cart, but fails to make the final purchase. Offer online chat for questions and/or hold live webinars on new products. Consider following up with customers on big ticket purchases to make sure they are really enjoying their product, getting what they need and being sure they don’t need any further assistance or purchasing.
By using good merchandising practices both in store and online, retailers can stimulate customers to spend money. Engage the shopper, make the connection and drive the sale.