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A Tactical Guide for Brick and Mortar Retailers: Stirring Emotion and Inspiring Purchases Through Merchandising

"Good merchandising inspires emotion. Emotion stirs impulse. Impulse triggers purchase." These words by Angela Ahrendts, former senior VP of retail at Apple, beautifully sum up the crucial role of merchandising in the retail sector. This guide will provide tactical steps brick-and-mortar retailers can take to implement effective merchandising strategies that inspire emotions and trigger purchases, especially during the holiday season.
Steps to Effective Merchandising
  1. Identify Your Customer's Emotional Triggers: Understand the emotions that drive your customers' purchases. These could be joy, nostalgia, surprise, trust, or a sense of belonging. Use surveys, customer feedback, or direct interactions to collect this information.
  2. Create Seasonal Displays: Seasonal displays, especially during the holidays, can evoke strong emotions. Leverage themes associated with holidays, use festive colors, and incorporate holiday-specific products in your displays.
  3. Tell a Story With Your Displays: Each display should narrate a story that resonates with your customers. It could be the story of your brand, a product, or a thematic concept.
  4. Use Sensory Merchandising: Engage customers' senses. Play holiday music, use scented candles, or create tactile experiences. Sensory cues can enhance emotional responses and increase the likelihood of purchases.
  5. Implement Strategic Product Placement: Place emotionally engaging products at eye level and in high traffic areas. Impulse buys often occur near the cash register, so use this space for smaller, lower-priced items that can be picked up easily.
Key Insights
  • The right merchandising strategy can stir emotions, inspire impulse buys, and significantly increase sales.
  • Understanding your customer's emotional triggers is key to creating effective merchandising.
  • Storytelling, sensory merchandising, and strategic product placement can significantly enhance the emotional impact of your merchandising.
Thought-Provoking Questions
  • What emotions drive your customers' purchasing decisions?
  • Does your current merchandising strategy evoke these emotions?
  • How can you incorporate storytelling into your displays?
  • Are you utilizing sensory merchandising effectively?
  • Are your products placed strategically to encourage impulse purchases?
Merchandising, when done right, can make the difference between a passerby and a loyal customer. By evoking the right emotions at the right time, retailers can stir impulse and trigger purchases, boosting their overall sales.

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