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Pretty as a picture

Keys to visual Merchandising

Pretty as a picture. That's the phrase that is often used to describe a display that has been attractively built. The "picture" is probably one that you would see here in Outdoor Power Equipment magazine.

Building a display that is "pretty" may be our objective, but we need to make certain of what our overall purpose is. A display can do several things. It can be designed to sell merchandise. A well built selling display can sell as much as 50% of one side of the adjoining counter. A display of this type will need to have depth of inventory, for a display that has only "onesies" may discourage a customer from picking up an item.

A display can be used to inform; an example would be in demonstrating the need for proper care of equipment. This would be a good promotion for your service department. Show a chain saw that has been properly serviced and maintained, and along with it display a chain saw that has had no service or maintenance. The signs of wear and tear in the second saw should be very obvious. Add a poster that describes the tune up that you can provide, gives a price, and you are on your way to increasing the number of service tickets that are written.

A display can be used to introduce. Try a display which is designed to show the customers a new line of equipment or products that you have added to your inventory. You may want to build a display in November showing a string trimmer and other related spring products. The key to this type of display is what you can learn from a department store.

In the heat of the summer, the new winter coats are put on display. As the first cold spell arrives, people return to the store to select a coat. When did the customer buy the coat? Was is when they made their selection in November? Or was it when they first saw the coat in July? The key was, at the time they decided to get a coat, they remembered where the new coats were on display. The same type of display can work for you. Especially if you have signage which tells the customer you will be their seasonal headquarters.

While each of these display ideas are important, we should also take a look at the overall business. If a customer were to walk into your store today, are they going to see oil stained concrete floors? Or will they see floors that are clean and are a light color? The light color is important because you want your shop to be bright. The light color will also show your merchandise better, as well as making your shop appear larger.

Are all of the lights working and on? They should be. Is there merchandise on every peg hook? If not, the peg hook should be removed. This type of attention to details is important in your efforts to appeal to all customers. You have potential customers that will make a decision to do business with you, based on appearance of the shop, your merchandise, and your employees. In today's competitive world, you want every advantage that you can get.

Manufacturers are aware of this need, and go to great expense and effort to assist you in maximizing your visual merchandising. Their displays, brochures, and catalogs can assist you in building the display that could make the difference with the customer buying from your business or from a chain store.

The sales representatives that call on you have the opportunity to see the best of displays as they call on your fellow dealers. Be sure to ask them for their ideas. Perhaps, you will find a sales representative that carries a camera and photo album with him. This is, without question, some of the best help that you can get. And, the only cost to obtain it, is your doing business with that company.

There is another tact to consider in deciding to merchandise your shop in a manner that is visually attractive. Do you consider a chain saw or other piece of power equipment that you sell as a potential gift as compared to being just an item that customers buy when they have to?

Think about the occasion when a couple is in your store, or when the wife is dropping off an item to be repaired. A display of your products suggesting that this is the desirable gift, or that this piece of equipment will help your customer in getting more free time, can do a lot towards getting that customer out of the department store and into yours.

Visual merchandising is very important, if you want to grow your business. Get the picture?

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179