Display and Management
Well-known haircare brands like Crème of Nature, ORS, Dark and Lovely, Bigen, H2 Pro, and other professional tool companies routinely deploy their employees to the retail floors of the retail frontline, beauty supply stores. The employees make substantial efforts including checking the placement of their products, straightening up the displayed items, placing promotional stickers on the shelves for an increase exposure, installing end caps, and distributing samples. All to boost the sales of their products. These visits are not for the ordinary sales calls for receiving orders but exclusively for the display check and organization, new product introduction, and sales consultation. The reason they go all these troubles including hiring display experts at their own cost is, first, they cannot emphasize enough the importance of product display and, second, it simply works to increase their sales.
Many brands invest a lot to research and development for new product release and improvement of preexisting products, and at the same time, they invest in marketing for a better manufacturing and packaging practice. One of the marketing strategies to approach consumers is the retail display that is the firsthand visual exposures to them. Product display is everything about showing products to the consumers for an easy browsing and purchasing, which involves creating themes, objectives and principles.
As it is one of the most exposed and core marketing strategies, its impact is also fairly direct. Product display is not a complex task, and it can be done without the help of experts. In fact, the retail floor workers are responsible for it, and tidy and organized display can attract consumer’s attention and stimulate the desires to purchase, which will lead to sales boost. On the other hand, if product display is unorganized and messy or mundane and out of fashion, even a good product may sit on the inventory undisturbed for a long time. As such, product display strategies can be one of the most important marketing strategies with a direct consequence in revenues.
Recently, I have visited a mid-sized beauty supply store in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was located in the middle of a big shopping center with high traffic and seemingly had a very dynamic and active retail footprint. I made a casual stop-by because I knew an employee, and everyone welcomed me warmly although it might be due to the ice coffees I brought. I have been to countless retail stores for my work, but this store was a truly impressive one because I could not find a single flaw on the retail floor. From haircare products to hairs, wigs, to hair accessories including ties, accessories, beads, all products were organized and lined up by size, color, and types; it also truly brought blocking to the perfection. It is a kind of store, from which you would like to buy one more item because the store is so likable. The manager and assistant manager at the store were so organized and detail-oriented, and all the staff members were quick to fix any items that are out of place.
Product display must stay in its top shape all the time with a continuous effort. It should have consistency like a daily routine, but there are ways to make improvement without a substantial expenditure. There are four principles you should remember: B, S, L, and F, which are Blocking, Straightening up, Lining up, and Facing up. If you remember the four principles and practice them daily, you can keep the positive image of your retail store for your customers.
B . S . L . F
It is the basic. If you visit a well-organized store, you see the items on the product shelves with the very front of the shelves not empty. Items in the back row are always pulled to the front. This creates an impression of a fully stocked and well-maintained store.
It is to bring every item in order. You should not satisfy with just the front row but also to keep the inner rows straightened up. When customers inspect an item and place it back to the shelf, it might knock over items in the back rows. As such, you should consistently keep the condition of the products in the back and make sure there are no knocked-over or rolling-around items.
It makes sure of a professional look by placing items in a straight line in their rightful positions according to the brands and categories. A wide hook can be your best friend in this task.
It involves items that are already aligned and straightened up. The very front items should be placed in a manner that product label faces the customers so that they can simply find out about the products without picking them up. It is also visually pleasant.
I remember a lesson I learned from Mr. Beck who was a first generation Korean beauty supplier in America and held the CEO position at Ben’s Beauty, a nation-wide wholesaler in three regions in America. He was visiting his son who runs wholesale outlets and retail stores as a career. He said, “if you don’t keep the products within your touch, you become out of touch” while organizing the product display himself. This should give you a reminder to yourself that how you should approach product display as a person who actually working on the retail floor. Did you make a daily round of checking the product display? Have you done it at least once a week?
A sales associate told me that there are people who never organize the goods until the last moment that they need to place orders. He said there are plenty of managers like that. He was complaining that those unprofessional managers took four hours to place an order as they needed to first organize the product display while an average manager would do the same thing in an hour because the display is already organized. It is simply the best to organize display everyday regularly.
In the end, although the trend-setting design, images attractive to consumer, state-of-the-art items, and great quality products outpacing competitors can be truly innovative and outstanding, if you do not held up a great product display in front of the end users, they would simply not sell. On the other hand, you can do easy things and keep it simple to improve your sales. Unfortunately, many are missing these basics.