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18/11/2011 12:41:41 Rachel's blog
by Rachel Hunter

Merchandising and POS is "vital" in persuading cautious consumers to part with their hard-earned cash, experts tell DIY Week.

Christmas is coming, and retailers across the country have been working hard at their Christmas displays (check out our festive retail section for inspiration and ideas!).

But, merchandising products creatively and making your store appealing and simple to shop should be a priority for retailers all year round, particularly when economic times are tough.

When I attended the GIMA Business Meeting earlier this month, both Golden Acres Nurseries group operations director Simon Edwards and the Hillview Group's Boyd Douglas Davies said displaying product effectively was absolutely key to boosting sales.

Mr Douglas Davies enthused about the show gardens he was planning to create at Studley Garden Centre, with the products used available to pick up nearby, of course, while Mr Edwards said: "I think the customer will buy something they don't even know they wanted, if you inspire them."

And garden centres are particularly good at creating effective inspirational displays - perhaps an easier task when dealing with colourful bedding plants and festive food halls.

But what about those retailers looking to attract customers with bags of cement or hand tools? DIY and hardware retailers often tell us about the difficulty of getting customers to up their spend or pay for something they didn't originally come in for.

So, this issue, we've put together an in-depth look at POS and merchandising to help with those problem products.

With advice from Lafarge's Kieron Hall ("It's about the position of products - put them at the end of aisles and places where foot traffic is high") and CK Tools' Graham Godfrey ("sit attractive merchandisers in 'hot spots'"), the feature also includes a POS glossary and a look at clever merchandising techniques spotted by DIY Week.

Yes, consumers are keeping a tight grip on the purse strings at the moment, but there are ways to draw people in and get them spending - and it doesn't just have to be discounts and promotions.

According to our experts, there are three important elements when it comes to effective merchandising: make it attractive, keep things simple and always take the opportunity to cross-sell.

As Lafarge's Mr Hall told DIY Week: "People will come in store for what they need... and that's when you can get them. Instore stimulus and POS is vital."

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