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TIMCO Top Merchandising Tips

TIMCO Top Merchandising Tips

With today’s competition from internet shopping and national brands, it has never been more important for independent merchants to invest in the appearance and customer experience of their stores. TIMCO, a leading supplier of essential construction products, has a dedicated team of Regional Business Consultants who provide the initial point of contact, analysis and consultation for clients.  The dedicated Sales Support team, working alongside them, then provide the merchandising support, training, and bespoke product displays, as well as attending trade mornings and customer events. It's all part of delivering the famous 'TIMCO Hug' – a commitment to providing industry-leading support for merchants.

The Sales Support team, strategically located across the UK and Ireland, which includes new team memberfor the South West of England, Darren Edney, has put together five core merchandising strategies to provide a key point of difference:

Inspire the customer

Ensure that product innovations and packaging improvements hit the shelves regularly to keep the customer engaged in the product offering. Variety is key, so it’s essential to identify new products and ranges regularly, to see what will complement existing stock, and  generate interest and more sales with every customer visit. Showcasing products that are innovative, or award-winning, will also help educate and inspire customers.

Educate the customer

TIMCO merchandisers always work closely with merchant clients, ensuring staff are on hand to educate customers and provide expert training. Engaging with the customers, providing expert knowledge and professional recommendations, will encourage customers to return. You could consider ‘try before you buy’ options, and offer free samples, which worked particularly well for TIMCO’s C2 screw sample packs, encouraging trial purchases.

Providing supporting literature, ‘how to’ films, and product use demonstrations, will also help reinforce products features and benefits, as well as experiential activities, such as our C2 Drive Challenge in which customers were timed to drill three screws into a piece of wood, with the fastest winning a prize.  This was good fun and created excitement within the store.  

First impressions count

Appearances really do matter. Customers are more likely to buy items when the product looks appealing in its surroundings. Ensure clear signage, with simple, educational messaging, and where space allows, give customers room to look, touch and feel the products. This also avoids packaging being opened unnecessarily.

When customers enter the store, this is your opportunity as the merchant to highlight new products, promotional offers, impulse purchases and key hero lines. Just remember to refresh these throughout the year.

Clear navigation

Ranges should be displayed in a logical order, and clear blocking of product ranges can be supported by navigational solutions such as headers and hanging signage. This makes it easy for consumers to find and buy what they need.

There are several ways that you can improve the ease and navigation of the shopping experience. For example, use packaging that is shelf-ready, which features product information and clear colour coding to differentiate between ranges, It also helps to use well-established brands as navigation, to highlight key departments and draw the customers’ eye to the relevant ranges. For TIMCO, an example of this is featuring the pioneering Squire Padlocks prominently within the Security & Ironmongery category.

Remember to merchandise complementary products in appropriate solutions such as free-standing display units, to increase your incremental sales. For example, a consumer who has visited a store to buy paint, is more likely to pick up paint brushes if the items are placed next to each other with supporting ‘Don’t forget your paint brushes’ POS.

Clear pricing structures

As customers frequently buy products in bulk, it’s important to show a clear pricing strategy. Ensure that the labelling is distinctive and easy to calculate, by using clear messaging.

A good marketing strategy is to include regular promotions or special offers on different products in order to retain customer interest, while keeping the offers simple, clearly shows how much money the customer will save. However, avoid having too many special offers at once, as this could bamboozle the customers and dent the integrity of the brand. Remember to dual site key promotional offers; both at the front of store and within the relevant fixture.

Merchandising is a way of attracting, converting and retaining ideal customers. Keeping on top of the store’s overall appearance and layout regularly, will make shops look more appealing, while also enabling staff to handle more complex enquiries – a proven key reason consumers visit independents.

It’s also worth remembering that independents often complement their merchandising with in-depth product knowledge, years or decades of industry experience, and a willingness to help, offering the personal touch that makes them stand out from the national merchants.  

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