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Think You’re Leaving Money on the Table? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Merch

“The consumer wants to be in an environment that elevates the product. You put a cheap product on a cheap fixture, it’s cheap.”

– Paul Hauizar, Designwork Studios

As a retail designer, I’m fascinated by how people shop; what they’re drawn to and what they end up buying versus what they came in for. For me, it’s a delicate balance of making a space beautiful and profitable. We’re always looking at client inventory lists by profit in order to place them in the store properly and merchandise the hell out of them. And looking for the right fixture, aka: the functional and display piece that customers can shop from.

Did you know some of the highest margin items aren’t even cannabis? They are the shirts, hats, lighters, and impulse items tossed in the corner by the cash wrap or crammed in a bin on the counter.

Impulse items are the small, low cost things that someone isn’t planning on buying but can’t resist while waiting. Some cool new rolling papers or a “your logo here” book of fancy matches. Customers are used to finding those items, grocery store style, near the checkout, so it makes sense to put them near the POS.

It is important to NOT put impulse items on the checkout counter itself. CLUTTER ALERT! We’ve also found that the cash wrap style with shelves built into the front is not really conducive to impulse shopping either. The customer will either overlook it completely or will not want to add additional time while checking out. The other issue with this style of counter is the height of the bins or shelves.

If the items are small and require the shopper to bend to look at them, they’re likely not to buy. So what may seem like a space saver may actually be a waste of space.

The best scenario for impulse items is a display near the cash wrap, preferably in front of it which is a comfortable, shoppable counter height and has the items organized by type. I’m stressing on organizing here because even impulse items need to look like they belong to your brand. It also makes it easier for your employees to restock, and be able to tell if theft is occurring. Here is a peek at one of my favorite floor plans for merchandising.

We added three skinny impulse purchase tables in front of the cash wrap to create a great break in the space and a natural flow for the customers. There’s also a big merch table to the left which is visible from the front entry. It’s incredibly functional and beautiful.

There are really only three things I’m looking at when sourcing merchandise fixtures for my clients.

  • Is it customer friendly & shoppable & how much product can I comfortably display on it?
  • Is it built to last? Can employees clean it easily?
  • Does it make the product look better? More expensive than it is? Does it ADD value to the product?

Shirts and apparel are usually an area where merchandising gets lost. Unless you have a dedicated former Gap employee to sit and fold everything, it’s going to look messy if you have them stacked on a table. Apparel is unshoppable unless you hang them or carry enough stock of each size and style to keep size stacks separate. Hanging is easier, looks cleaner and allows for easy shopping. Here’s a fixture I really like, especially if you don’t have a ton of space to dedicate to merch but want it to look great.

I also encourage the use of trays or even a small bin for smaller items like pins, stickers, pens and lighters that can easily get mixed up or look cluttered.

AND check the lighting. No dark corners for the apparel or merchandise. A simple (but pretty) track light or angled can light can make all the difference in the way a product appears to the shopper. This one is one of my “go to’s” due to its flexibility and finish options.

You can see how the right fixture will make your product sell and help keep your inventory tracking in check.. The client will always appreciate the details you iron out to make their shopping experience smoother and enjoyable. Which in turn makes them come back for more.

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