Visual Merchandising – It’s All About Location

shopping, retail, design, merchandising

Location, Location, Location.  

Usually when you hear this it’s in reference to, well, location. A piece of property, a city, a neighborhood. It’s typically when talking about a residential home or a business’ physical location. In the world of visual merchandising, location is the placement of product within a store. And just like in real estate, there are good locations and bad. 

Visual merchandising isn’t only about making a store look pretty. There is, or should be, some rhyme and reason to the placement of product and the layout of the store. The presentation of product, the type of fixtures used and the location within the store are all strategical decisions that need to be made when merchandising a retail store. 

When it comes to looking at locations in your store, think of your sales floors as real estate. 

Prime Real Estate 

Your prime real estate areas in a store are your hot spots – the areas in the store that customers are naturally drawn to and shop. It is the area where it doesn’t seem to matter what is there, it sells. 

All stores have hot spots. They could be an actual spot on the sales floor or a type of fixture. Hot spots will vary from store to store but a good visual merchandiser will be able to spot them and utilize them.  

If you are unsure, look for your messiest table and your lightest rack or wall. That will give you an idea where your hot spots are.  

Typical Prime Real Estate Locations: 

  • The first 10% of your sales floor from your storefront. Including your windows. 
  • The top of walls 
  • The first table or fixture you walk into – at store entrance and within each section 
  • Beside or in waiting areas – fitting rooms and cash desk 

Prime real estate is just that – PRIME. Use these areas to showcase your top performing items, key pieces and even pieces that aren’t selling at the speed they should be. Using your hot spot could be an opportunity to push a slow selling item but make sure you are watching the numbers. If merchandising an underperforming item in your prime real estate is still not giving you results, move on. You can’t be wasting your prime selling spot on something that just isn’t going to sell. 

retail merchandising, how to merchandise

Secondary Real Estate 

Where your prime real estate grabs your customers attention and gets them to stop and look, your secondary real estate needs to keeps their attention. The secondary locations feeds off the primary and can either grab your customer into the shopping experience or make them think that’s all you have to offer. 

The secondary real estate spots should complement the prime spot. These should showcase add-on items or pieces to complete the look with the must have item in your hot spot. 

Typical Secondary Locations: 

  • The middle of your sales floor – from 10% inside your store to 10% of the back of the store. 
  • Tables and fixtures behind and to the side of your entrance fixture – at store entrance and within each section – but still facing traffic flow 
  • Face-outs on walls 

Dead Zones 

On the complete other end of the spectrum from your hot spot is your Dead Zone. As you can probably imagine, these are the area’s that have the least amount of customer traffic. You will typically see lower turnover on products in these area as a result. 

Typical Dead Zones: 

  • The back of fixtures or shops 
  • Bows/u-bars on the wall or on floor fixtures 
  • Behind a pillar or corners of walls* 
  • The back 10% of the sales floor* 

I have an asterisk beside the last 2 points there because, with good merchandising, these 2 points can be eliminated from the dead zone list.  

Dead zones are a challenge but they are still selling space on your sales floor – they are still included in your rent; they are still part of your store’s real estate. But they don’t have to be a bad thing if you are up to the challenge.  

Take the back 10% of your store for example. It can be classified as a dead zone because it is the back of the store and the cash desk is often located in front of this area. That means, unless you give your customer a reason to go that far into your store, they are much more likely to skip it and stop at the cash.  

Most retailer will use their back 10% as their sales zone with lots of marketing to communicate that. People are always looking for a good deal. Having your clearance at the back of the store encourages shoppers to walk all the way to the back. 

The other way to eliminate this dead zone is to put one of your destination spots there, like your cash desk and fitting rooms. Again, this forces your customer walk all the way back and eliminates the dead zone at the back of your store. 

Other ways to utilize the dead zones to your advantage include: 

  • Double exposing merchandise in these areas. It allows you to show product twice, doubling the chance of the customer seeing and buying it. All while making your sales floor look full and appealing. 
  • Use these areas as a place to “hide” end of line or piece-y items. Piece-y items (when there is one or two pieces left of an item) can be hard to merchandise without creating a messy look. Using the dead zones will allow you to still show these items without distracting from your stores overall look. 

Being able to maximize your real estate and use placement in your favour will increase your selling speed and overall sales. Take the time to stand back and look. Watch how your customers move through your store, study their actions. A smart merchandiser will take advantage.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

If you need some ideas or guidance on merchandising your store, send us an email at [email protected] 

Also, don’t forget to share your ideas below! We love hearing from you! 

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