Merchandising strategies goes beyond setting up shelves. It involves anything that can be seen by customers from the outside or inside. The process helps to get more customers into the convenience store. This broader understanding of your store’s layout requires identifying key challenges and best practices that serve your interests.
For incremental sales, you should focus on simplifying your shelves to an extent where even senior citizens can get what they want without too much hassle. Taking into account that the world of business is shifting to online platforms (expected to grow by 20% in the next half-decade), convenience stores need to lay a good strategy to give them a competitive edge.
Other challenges that today's C-stores are facing include a slow population growth in the U.S, food deflation, and the negative effect that high gas price on the outside has on the in-store sales. Therefore, convenience store owners should go beyond product display and use some visual merchandising ideas that will pack a punch.
With that in mind, let us look at some of the merchandising display ideas for C-store:
1. Prioritize Products with Strong Unit Sales
You’ll want to make products in high customer demand easy to locate. Putting these goods closest to door and on the lower shelves is always a step in the right direction. By embracing this technique, the customers will not have to dismantle your shelves looking for what they need.
Promotional goods will always fall under the category of high demand. Many people want to save an extra buck by going after discounted products. The most crucial thing to remember, though, is to rotate the goods when the promotion is over.
2. Strategize For Impulse Buys
All of us have given in to buying something without much thought, whether it’s a donut or some gum. Convenience stores benefit the most from these so-called impulse buys. Therefore, as a C-store owner, you should strategize your merchandising display in a way that it will trigger these impulsive purchases.
But how will you achieve this goal? As the saying goes, "seeing is believing." What really drives an impulse purchase can be something as simple as the way a product such as a candy bar looks. As such, you should always create a merchandising system that is visually inviting to customers. In turn, this will generate more sales.
3. Adjust Foot Traffic With Controlled Paths
In a convenience store, foot traffic is the factor that defines customer space in any store. When people can go wherever they please, that can impact all products in the store, for better or worse. Therefore, it’s imperative that convenience store owners understand and implement some form of traffic control. In short, you can create a traffic flow system that restricts customer movement to specific paths and/or allows flexibility on where they can go in the store.
If you allow the customers to move as they please throughout the entire store, they will commit to specific paths every time they visit. That can lower the chance for impulse buys. A guided path in some areas means the shopper will be more likely to view everything the store has to offer, including key merchandising areas. By restricting movement to some degree, foot traffic will be more evenly distributed, enabling chances for impulse buys.
4. Change Displays On a Monthly Basis
Prior to the holiday session, convenience store proprietors should re-arrange the shelves, taking into account the goods that shoppers prefer during the season. However, after the New Year rolls around, many of these products will have a drop in demand. You should identify the seasonal needs of customers at any point in the year and customize your stores accordingly. Ideally, you should shift your merchandise once a month, accounting for upcoming holidays or the change in seasons. Additionally, new arrivals should always be displayed first. Any older products grouped with them will get a fresher look.
5. Emphasize The Profitable Items
Some goods have high returns in terms of profit. Convenience store owners can’t afford to lose any potential sales on these items. Such products can have a big impact on the store’s future. Therefore, a good merchandising strategy will make these goods as conspicuous to shoppers as possible.
6. Show Off the Wants
Don’t just focus on products that your customers already need. If they’re here for a specific reason, they won’t need visual cues to buy the necessities. Instead, balance between those needs with products they may want to go with it. For example, if shoppers are just here to pick up a soft drink, make sure the fridge or aisle is next to a snacks display, since the two tend to complement one another. Such strategic positioning encourages impulse buys.