Your customers are complex. They cross multiple demographics, exhibit less brand loyalty than in the past, and come well-armed with product knowledge from their social networks and own research.
These characteristics make it challenging to adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy to category merchandising in your store. Incorporating a well-thought-out and designed merchandising strategy can help.
Your category merchandising strategy may include several components such as product placement, advertising tactics, customer incentives, plus customer and sales associate education. Depending on your specific goals—growing foot traffic, increasing sales, category growth, or beating the competition— you must prioritize which components to emphasize.
Ensure that the products within your target belong there or if products could be pulled in from another category. For instance, your technology category probably includes computers, printers, storage and networking accessories, plus video and audio equipment. You might shrink your scope by removing video/audio as non-computational products whose sales may be driven by different approaches.
Once you attain a well-defined category, decide on the specific goals you wish to accomplish:
Unless you set measurable category objectives, it isn’t easy to know what success looks like. Whenever possible, ensure hard data is collected for each metric. Estimates from the sales team are sometimes overly optimistic.
Leave room during the campaign to checkpoint how it is going and correct issues before they grow into more significant problems that might distort results. It is critical to conduct a post-campaign review involving the entire sales staff to share what and what did not work and collect ideas for a re-do of the campaign or apply what you learned to a different merchandising category.
It’s important to remember that your sales associates are the face of your brand and the products you offer. They are the ones providing guidance, both physically and product-wise, to shoppers. They have valuable first-hand knowledge about the success of product offerings, product bundling, and the physical location of products within the store.
Collaborate with your partner category sales staff as they are the ultimate brand experts for their products. They may suggest new computers or peripherals to add, which to liquidate, or ideas for customer incentives such as coupons or discounts for bundled items. They can assist you in optimizing the customer profiles for the category in question, which is invaluable for fine-tuning your selection of strategy components to emphasize.
Given today's customers' complexities and knowledge level, don’t expect to hit a home run the first time you apply a category merchandising strategy. View it as an iterative process and keep trying new ideas and throwing out those that are ineffective.
Regardless of how you run your category merchandising campaigns, building a solid foundation of knowledge and enthusiasm among your sales associates for category products is essential.
When it comes to learning about your store's Intel® products, your team's go-to is the Intel® Retail Edge Program. Here, they’ll access up-to-date information on Intel® processors and technology, OEM computers, and more.
Additionally, associates learn invaluable sales tips and enjoy opportunities to be rewarded for their efforts. Encourage their participation to gain more knowledge about the PCs they sell, encourage brand advocacy, and contribute to the success of your category merchandising strategy.
Find out more about the Intel® Retail Edge Program today.
This article has been updated and originally appeared here on the Intel® Retail Edge manager blog.
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