Merchandising in the sales call - Sales Management

Although in Figure we show merchandising as an activity once the sales presentations completed and closed, with many fast moving consumer goods there is a strong case for the salesperson to complete the merchandising activity before meeting with the buyer ( except where the salesperson needs the buyer’s approval to use and locate particular point of sale material). That can give an excuse and opportunity to:

  • access store rooms to check stock levels
  • fill any allocated display space with new stock
  • rotate stock if there is any date coding system applied to it
  • check shelf prices and promotion prices
  • and to place current point of sale material near product display locations.

Product display is a critical factor in influencing customers to purchase retail products, and therefore in achieving your sales targets and potential. Merchandising is concerned with every aspect of 'selling out' of product once it is purchased by the outlet, ensuring that the goods 'sold in' move through to the ultimate consumer. It is a critical factor in achieving sales targets because the trade buyer is always concerned with the rate of stock movement when placing orders, and both merchandising activity and promotional activity have significant effect on the rate of stock movement.

There are a number of areas where you can focus your merchandising activity, as indicated in Table.

The-tangible-and-intangible-benefits-of-merchandising-in-retailingInstangible benefits of effective merchandising

On-shelf display

The importance of shelf display will vary between different product categories, but in general shelf display offers the best opportunity for ongoing sales volume, reserving off shelf daily features for promotional activity supporting short-term sales objectives.

Regular shelf display area should not be neglected for merchandising as an important sales location because it:

  • is the regular area of display, generating the normal volume of sales as consumer traffic circulates the store
  • is a reactive area and responds to consumer demand (people shopping off the shelves usually know what to look for and where to find it in their regular stores)
  • can be used as a market ’barometer’ since this is where consumers have the choice in what to buy and with a range of prices in any product category, where all similar products are displayed alongside each other.

In Figure we can see how people shop from shelf fixtures, in that the primary purchases are planned, and selection is made in a very short time, with the impact of the shelf display having a significant opportunity to influence choice, particularly where the allocation of the shelf space reflects the normal pattern of sales volumes of the respective products within any product category.



Off-shelf feature displays

The off-shelf display features, seen so prominently in many mass merchandising retail and trade outlets, are a major generator of additional product sales volume. Just as with on-shelf displays, location is critical, as are the sheer size and impact of the promotional display if it is to have maximum effect on sales demand and profitability from the allocated space. The sales manager, in training salespersons to build effective feature displays, should emphasize (as illustrated in Figure ) for off-shelf display that:


  • it is a proactive area that should create demand and develop incremental sales
  • impact is crucial to generating volume sales (through size of display, creative use of display material, prominent featuring of the promotion offer and benefits, etc.)
  • location should be in the highest traffic flow areas possible.


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Sales Management Topics