Tips for Choosing Merchandise for Your Store
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Aurora LaJambre
For small business owners and buyers at major retail outlets, selecting merchandise is a critical skill for retail success.
It requires a thorough acumen of what kinds of products sell well with your customers, as well as a fairly accurate idea of upcoming major trends.
These ten tips will help you build a knack for spotting that next big thing and eye-catching items to lure curious eyes to your store.
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10. Something Special
In addition to having great lighting and a clean, inviting atmosphere, there’s a tried and true trick to getting people to return. Offer a few specialty items they’re not likely to come by anywhere else. These items can be anything from local homemade jam to a fine line of skin care made from natural ingredients, depending on your customer-base. Choose items that are memorable and worth coming back for.
9. Consult the Calendar
Timeliness plays a huge role in getting customers in the door with a purpose, and out the door with a shopping bag happily in hand. Verify that the manufacturer can guarantee your order delivery within the necessary time frame. Knowing your seasonal selection months in advance allows you to market better and respond to press inquiries on time.
8. Can you see it in your store?
Odds are you have the store’s design imprinted in your head. If you can’t imagine a product on your shelves, it’s probably not right for you. Listen to your gut. Cool items aren’t very useful to you if no one is going to buy them.
7. Tell a Story
Retailers that carry decision items with higher price points should consider ways to get potential customers to stay a while. Do that by selecting merchandise that tells a story. Don’t assume antiques have a monopoly on conversation-starters. Plenty of items can peak shoppers’ curiosity if they’re made from an interesting material or offer a fresh approach to traditional items, like elegant baby products.
6. Bring the Fun
Old Navy had the right idea with their “Shopping is fun again” campaign. Shopping should be fun. If people don’t enjoy browsing new offerings you’re not likely to stay on their radar. What constitutes as “fun” products can be anything from novelty mugs and candy, to colorful tee shirts with silly slogans.
It’s worth repeating that running a store is a business. In order to make a profit, it helps to appeal to shoppers at a range of price points. Quality, affordable products like yoga studio supplies and other fitness accessories lend variety to apparel and health stores while supporting the brand.
4. Signature Items
What types of merchandise best represent your business? Signature items underscore a shop’s overall theme. Check out the products your competitors feature so there’s not an exact overlap. These items can be cheerful and unique, but above all they should serve the reason your customers come by in the first place. That’s how you build loyalty.
3. Brand Coherence
Why should a passerby choose your shop over the nearest big box store? Think about the quality that best defines your products whether it’s bold, modern or earthy, to name a few. When selecting merchandise, keep this word top of mind so there’s an overall coherence to the items you sell once they’re on the shelves. For instance, natural soy candles are a great fit for shops that specialize in eco-friendly products.
2. Keep it Current
Many store owners open their own place because they have a genuine interest in the kinds of items they plan to sell. So falling in love with certain products is bound to happen from time to time, but even the best inventory goes stale without new pieces to freshen up the shopping experience. Pay attention to what your customers respond to and ask them what they’re looking for. They’ll help you stay current without straying off base.
1. Stand Outs
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Visually striking items grab shoppers’ attention, which isn’t exactly news, but it’s easy to forget when you’re browsing a trade show on an empty stomach. Don’t forget the show stoppers. Bold pieces like Italian pottery and wall frescos beckon shoppers to come forth and do what they do.
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