HOW TO MERCHANDISE IN SMALL SPACES

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Displaying product in small spaces can be tricky. When you have so much stock and so little space, it's tempting to fill every area that you have!

Follow these tips to make the most of your small retail space...

1. CREATE CLEAR, SEPARATE SECTIONS WITHIN YOUR SHOP.

The layout of your shop (walls, shelving or other physical features) may naturally create different sections. On larger walls, try to create sections by adding some space between product. Each section should tell a story/theme: a collection, a colour grouping or type of product (e.g. childrens vs homeware vs cards).

 

Each section should tell a story/theme: a collection, a colour grouping or type of product
— Sarah Quinn

2. USE REPETITION

Using repetition creates balance in busy displays with lots of product. You can do this by repeating:

•    Colours

•    Prints

•    Objects

•    Patterns in the display
(e.g. 3 objects lined up in one print, followed by 3 objects lined up in another print).

•    Specific products

 

You can also create repetition within one group by using multiple items of the same product, such as 3 cups stacked in each other, 3 cushions piled on top - if you have the stock to do this.

 

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3. MERCHANDISE IN COLLECTIONS

Try and stick to one colour theme or 'story' for each wall section. Black, grey/blue, and white and pink work really well together so try and keep this group tight. Then repeat this sort of style with another colour theme in the next wall section.

Stories may also be based on themes, or a combination of a theme and colours, such as nautical themed, or modern black and white, depending on the type of product you sell.

Don’t sacrifice the story in order to give the product a home in the wall or prime fixtures!
— Sarah Quinn

4. CREATE A PLACE FOR PRODUCT THAT DOESN'T FIT INTO YOUR COLLECTIONS

You might have products that don't fit into the stories that you create for your walls or tables. Don't sacrifice the story in order to give product a home in the wall or prime fixtures!

For this reason, you need to create alternate places for this stock. Depending on the product, you may be able to add baskets on the floor, or smaller tables and shelves.

In retail, you often see a 'last chance to buy' rail or table in big stores like Zara or Country Road. This is where they place stock that no longer fits into their collections but isn't ready to be marked down. Creating an area like this in your shop communicates that these are really hot items, and creates a sense of urgency to buy now.

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5. MARKDOWN

Don't be afraid to clear out product that is slow selling or unpopular. You will be much better off giving clean space to your new, valuable stock.

If you frequent markets as part of your business, know that you don't always have to take all of your product with you - you can vary this depending on the type of customers you expect on a particular day or ata particular location. Some markets may attract a more price-savvy customer, which could be a great opportunity to clear your sale stock.

Don’t be afraid to clear out a product that is slow selling or unpopular.
— Sarah Quinn

6. BUYING AND DESIGNING STOCK

Buying the right product is incredibly important. Above all, you need to know what NOT to buy. Once you become start planning where the stock will go in your shop as part of your buying process, merchandising and display will become much easier.

Try and keep in mind how product will work together as part of the buying or design process:

•    Keep a few colour pallets in mind each season

•    Keep a folder with product as you buy/design it

•    Take photos of product when you buy/design it so that you can begin to plan how the product will sit in your shop.

Place your best selling items from hip to shoulder height on your wall.
— Sarah Quinn

7. ANALYSE YOUR PRODUCT

Place your best selling items from hip to shoulder height on your wall. Make sure that any product in this zone is pulling its weight: if it's not, remove it to a lower or alternate section.

Make sure that your stock taking up real estate on the floor is bringing you $ in return. You probably think that you don't have time to do this, but it will make your Visual Merchandising more efficient in the long-run.

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8. TAKE PHOTOS

One of the best ways to review your displays & merchandising is to take photos of the set up that you can then look over and analyse.

Follow these three steps:

1.   Take photos of your displays

2.   Step outside the shop (a good excuse to go for a coffee) so that you can review & analyse the displays, looking for improvements.

3.   Create a list of actions based on your analysis for when you return to the shop.

 

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9. SKETCH AND PLAN

1.   Plan the ideal location for your display

2.   Think about the theme

3.   Select your 'hero' products

4.   Sketch out the shape of the display

5.   Set it up, starting with the 'hero' elements

6.  Add in products which will compliment your 'heroes'

Analysing, photographing & sketching your displays on a regular basis will help you learn what to, and what not to do. You will see a dramatic improvement!