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Increasing Conversion with Merchandising Magic

Is your store merchandised or is it decorated? A store that’s decorated is appealing to look at and enhances the shopping experience but it’s not necessarily causing a behavioral shift in your customers. A store that’s merchandised does work for you by encouraging shoppers to become buyers. There’s a psychology to the manner in which you should arrange products and stage your shop to deliver the right experience at the right time in the customer journey. Having a series of solid merchandising tactics in your arsenal can deliver more profit to your financial statements in a very cost-effective way. Strong merchandising is one of the most effective ways to attain a good conversion rate and achieve retailing bliss.

STORE LAYOUT

Grocery stores are traditionally built upon a grid layout with aisles designed to shepherd customers through the entire store. This layout allows merchants to showcase a large amount of product but it doesn’t really deliver a stellar shopping experience. Florists often default to using a free-form layout not organized in any
specific way. While this encourages the customer to explore the store, the cues for the customer to make a purchase may be lost in the shuffle. The “spine layout” offers the best of both worlds. It has a main aisle in the middle, for ease of navigation, and end cap displays with grids or free-form display areas branching off of the
main aisle. This layout makes it easier for staff to get to customers and products, which aids in sales conversion.

CATEGORIES THAT ALIGN WITH CUSTOMER NEEDS

What is most important to the customer when buying flowers? Does a customer ask for “a yellow flower” or for “flowers for a friend in the hospital…and please make them yellow?” By arranging your store by occasion, you’ll be in sync with customers’ priorities. Consider sections for sympathy, friendship, new baby, romance, home decor, and weddings. Ikea does this same kind of merchandising very effectively. The furnishing giant arranges its stores so customers can zoom in on the type of room they want to address and then see the products displayed to inspire them to purchase products to recreate the look at home.

SIGNAGE THAT INCREASES URGENCY

Display your prices clearly. Every customer dreads having to ask how much something costs. Many people would be embarrassed to admit they can’t afford something, so if pricing isn’t displayed, they will avoid asking even if they are attracted to the product. Customers may overestimate the cost of something and would be surprised to discover the item they covet is actually well within their means to afford — but they’ll never know unless you post the number.

One effective method to increase your sales conversion is to convey a sense of scarcity. In his book “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” Martin Lindstrom reports that the sales of canned soup were stoked by simply by adding the line “maximum 8 cans per customer.” Customers purchased more cans even though the soup was the same price as the previous day. You can use similar verbiage with your products, be they grab-and-go bouquets or giftware. You should also play up the seasonality of flowers — promoting that certain buds may only be available for a few weeks.

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LEAD WITH YOUR STRENGTHS

Fragrance is a powerful retail conversion asset. An abstract from a 2014 research paper by the International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research reports that number and size of transactions in a retail flower shop increased when a lavender scent was present in the store. If your customers can’t physically pick up your flowers to sniff them, then be sure your signage describes the fragrance notes like a fine perfume label
would. If you’ve ever been in a restaurant where the server details the presentation, flavours, and scents of the food when you ask about the menu, you know the power that beautiful descriptions have to stimulate your senses.

THREE’S COMPANY

As a floral designer, you understand the power of odd numbers. The brain notices an imbalance, so make sure to leverage this knowledge in your store merchandising too. Displays should be staggered at different heights. Group three items together and don’t be afraid to be whimsical by including an item that agrees with the others — but does not fit exactly. It may align in terms of colour or texture but be a wild card on theme. Converting
a shopper to a buyer involves first getting their attention, so make sure you’re working at this.

USE PRICING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Once a customer has decided to purchase, their “giving in” muscle has been exercised and their resistance muscle weakened. If you place popular but inexpensive items front and centre in your store, the customer will grab one and psychologically become primed to buy other things as well.

Likewise, by placing a more expensive item beside an item you want to move, your featured item will appear more attractive because it’s perceived to be a better value relative to a similar item at a higher price point. Consider establishing a different font and colour for your promotional signage so customers will easily process that an item is on sale. Show the original price, the sale price, and the total savings on three separate lines of
the price tag. If you simply show the sale price, the customer won’t know that they’re getting a deal. If you show the original price with a “$2 off” note underneath it, you’re still making the customer work way too hard to calculate the spend.

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Conversion rate is calculated by total transactions divided by total store traffic. Data from Retail Next cautions that conversion varies by industry but pegs in store conversion rate typically about 20 to 40%. According to Monetate Statista, the online conversion rate is much less at typically 3%. If 20 people come into your store in one day, four to eight of them will purchase something. If you could even get one more customer to purchase every day (assuming an average sale of $25), then that’s an extra $600 per month to your bottom line. By monitoring this metric as part of your regular dashboard, you’ll know if your merchandising strategies are working.

Michelle Brisebois
Michelle is the founder of Textrix Consulting, and a regular contributor to Canadian Florist Magazine. She specializes in: E-commerce, digital marketing, and content marketing strategies to help companies connect their marketing activities to their operational growth objectives. She is a certified digital marketer and has marketing and operations experience in the food, pharmaceutical, financial services and wine industries and currently is a member of the teaching faculty at Niagara College.
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