Cross merchandising isn’t a secret. Nor, for that matter, is doing it right. But time and again, we see retailers’ best-intentioned efforts fall short. Since we love seeing our customers succeed, Shelving Design Systems has compiled a handful of useful tips for cross-merchandising done well.
Cross Merchandising Defined
Let’s start by defining terms in case you’re new to merchandising or could use a refresher. Cross merchandising is a way of grouping related items together so customers see the relationship between the items, and so they buy more than they might have otherwise.
It’s best done with a light hand, since too much cross merchandising can look more like a jumble than an intentionally-curated display. What we suggest instead is using your end caps, your cash wrap area, and other places in your store that draw high traffic so that it stands out and makes a statement.
Using Cross Merchandising to Boost Sales
Left to their own devices, your shoppers are likely to get what they came for and go. However, you have more input into customer behavior than you think. As with so much of merchandising, cross merchandising uses some simple psychology to tweak purchasing behavior.
It’s as simple as putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. Don’t think of it as selling; think of it as education instead. You’re grouping items together in ways that reinforce the relationships between or among those items. You can further use this to your advantage to increase purchases on high-margin items that might otherwise have fallen by the wayside.
Cross Merchandising in Practice
You see cross merchandising every time you walk into a supermarket or convenience store and see a display of chips and dip next to cases of soda stacked in a pyramid. Maybe someone only came for a six-pack of Coke, but if it’s game day, they’re likely to throw a few more items into their cart.
This calls for us to think of our customers in other ways. At the beginning of the year, it could mean merchandising nicotine patches alongside vitamins and diet aids as everyone takes up New Year’s resolutions. During allergy season, a display of neti pots, tissues, and saline solution could encourage your customers to try something new. You can even cross-merchandise to educate. If you’re trying out a new item in your merchandise mix, group it with something that’s related so your customer understands how it’s used, and what they can use it with. It’s a thoughtful touch, but it’s also one that can significantly impact your bottom line.
Dotactiv has one of our favorite stories of effective cross merchandising. When UK grocery chain Tesco realized that men were buying lots of diapers, they started putting beer and snacks on their store shelves near the diapers. Not the first thing most of us would think to mix, but for Tesco it turned out to be a winning combination!The most important ingredients in cross merchandising are imagination, careful attention to customer needs, and the right retail design to showcase your merchandise. If you’re trying to make the most of your merchandising opportunities, contact Shelving Design Systems for a shelving design consultation!