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8 Classic Retail Merchandising Tips That Make or Break Sales

While trends may come and go, these retail merchandising tips are here to stay. Time and time again these merchandising methods yield success and can be applied in any market.  Get in the mindset of shoppers. Ask the questions that you think they’d ask when wandering throughout the aisles of the store as you develop your next strategy. Follow best practices and spruce up on retail merchandising 101 with these eight classic tips.


1. Color Correct

Whether it be bright and bold or cool and mellow, color speaks volumes for your strategy. No effective merchandising scheme has failed to take color into account. Color draws brand associations, sets the mood, and can highlight or compliment certain products.

Consider the effect you want to have with your display or sign, then embed the message through the color you choose. Choose lights, paint, and objects that are cohesive with one another and work to send the same message.



  • Adopt your brand’s signature colors in a display to make your product immediately recognizable.
  • Know the three color schemes: monochromatic, analogous, and complementary.
  • Pick bright colors to grab attention.
  • Remember color is an accent; don’t let it overshadow your merchandise.



2. Rule of Three

This classic merchandising technique hasn’t gone out of style. Grouping products by three creates symmetry and balance that naturally draws the eye. Leaving a product to stand on its own can appear odd or disproportionate.

Stagger items by elements such as price points, sizes, or styles to compose an appealing display for consumers. Position your three items to present a collection that represents your product line.



  • Pick one focal point.
  • Stagger items at different heights.
  • Make sure the elements are all cohesive and organized.


3. Cross Merchandise

Along the same lines as the rule of three, placing related products together has an effect on buying behaviors.The goal of cross merchandising is to put two complementary products together to make an association that drives purchases.This could mean a shirt and complementary accessory or a mascara and eyelash primer.  

Integrate cross merchandising into displays through promotions. For example, promote a sale with two products that can be used together and are likely to be purchased at the same time. “Buy two, get one half off” can be an enticing steal for consumers. When working on cross merchandising, be sure to make it obvious enough to understand the connection between the products.



  • Make life easy for customers and cross merchandise things they’d likely need to use together.
  • Mix in products that customers might otherwise forget about.
  • See it as an opportunity to introduce a new product.


4. Be Trendy

You can’t use the same displays for the next 5-6 months, let alone year after year. People want something new and eye-catching. Boring your customers is the quickest way to have them walk past your displays and products. 

Instead, stay up to date with the latest digital trends, pop culture waves, and consumer preferences. Adjust your merchandising to the season and holidays. This will make sure you are perceptible and relevant to shoppers.



  • Integrate new digital merchandising techniques such as touch screens and AI features.
  • Make it shareable; adopt a hashtag campaign around displays.
  • Feature your newest  products and campaigns to keep customers engaged.




5. Point Customers in the Right Direction 

Don’t expect to your set up to be intuitive to shoppers. Help them out. Strategically display signs that can lead customers to and around your displays and shelves. Show them where they can find what they want in the price range they are looking for though clever phrasing and directional advertising.

Signs are the the best way to passively inform about a product’s features or celebrate the releases of a new product. Allow signage to inform and direct as it calls attention to the flow of your set up. Never have consumers questioning where they can find your merchandise.



  • Ensure prices are visible.
  • Choose the same font for stylistic reasons and brand recognition.
  • Check font size so that it can be seen at a distance. 


6. Feed the Senses

Build an experience around your product. This involves engaging all the senses. As opposed to passive shopping where most customers scan the shelves and sift through merchandise, an active experience brings shoppers to the center of the purchase. One way to achieve this is to have demos where people can be hands on with the product, feeling it and testing it out. But, beyond touch, you can have tastings to sample out your product.

Even when demos and tastings aren’t an option, you can always have background music to set the stage by setting the mood. Light can be used as well to draw the eye to certain places without any additional effort, or incorporate a subtle aroma that signifies your brand’s vibe. The combo of active and subliminal sensory engagers strengthens consumer interest.



  • Put bright lights on feature products.
  • Pick a signature scent for your brand.
  • Hold regular events where shoppers can learn more about products and sample them.


7. Tell a Story

 Even without writing, your merchandising strategy should speak for itself. Tell a story with your displays. Include characters and themes that make your merchandise bigger than just a product. You want to be alluring and eye-catching when putting together your plan. Use whimsical objects and sets to prop your brands products.



  • Don’t let props and details outshine your product – use them to accentuate it.
  • Stay true to your brand (ex. if you identify as a disruptor/modern product, a rustic theme might not make sense).



8. Track Your Progress

The biggest mistake merchandisers can make is creating a sure-fire merchandising display and never analyzing the results from their efforts. Whether it is a success or a failure, it helps to know what does and doesn’t work, so that action can either be replicated or avoided. Pick a unit of measure to standardize your data collection and adhere to it.



  • Talk to shoppers to get feedback and record it.
  • Start using a mobile CRM to track retailer compliance with your displays and record observations on the spot.
  • Regularly review merchandising initiatives and brainstorm with your merchandising team.



Keep these eight retail merchandising tips in your back pocket. Always look at new techniques and merchandising methods, but make sure these are working in the background. Some tricks never go out of style

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Gabrielle Downey

Gabrielle is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly with an enthusiasm for creativity and innovation. While pursuing her passion for writing, she is studying economics and philosophy at Boston College. She spends her free time exploring Boston in search of the best cup of coffee and cannoli.

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