To Compete With Mass Merchant Retailers: Don't Look Like 'Em

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In preparation for a speech to toy retailers, I spent a lot of time studying toy stores; how they look, how they display, where they’re located. One thing that sticks out though is how so many load their stores with merchandise that they love ,then stack it altogether. This results in gobs of individual products face out, just like the big boxes do.

No signage. Nothing to draw our attention to certain features and benefits. Nothing that explains the educational component to the toy, just stacks of stuff.


The thing that makes specialty retail work is the discovery aspect. That’s why your store has to be laid out in such a fashion that relationships are obvious to those who don’t know your merch.

The higher priced or more profitable items need help in a crowded world and often have to go it alone as employees are rarely there at the moment of discovery and decision to convince the customer to pay full price.

And this goes the same for just about every specialty retailer whether your gift store, jewelry store, hardware store, you name it. You are able to take different items and group them together so shoppers purchase more than they may have initially expected to. That’s what makes great retail: profits.

It's not stocking the shelves full of box after box after box with the exact same product all hermetically sealed. That's the big-boxes.

When you make co-ordinated selling displays, you make shoppers stop and take notice. If the relationships still aren’t as obvious as they need to be, come up with compelling words that will help.

Just sticking a price in front of an item does nothing to enhance its value. So find ways to excite. For example “Our best-selling scooter, indestructible, balanced, and light weight now comes in electric red.”

The battle for the dollars has never been sharper, if you’ve got piles of merch to sell, or you’ve ordered lots of merch for the holiday, don’t make the mistake and just “put it out.” To compete with the mass merchants like Target, Wal-Mart and the like - you can't look like them.

To learn more about merchandising your store get your hands on a copy of The Retail Doctor' s Guide to Growing Your Business.