Retail Merchandising Company – The Basics & The Breakthroughs
What a retail merchandising company does; why it’s so important to sales success; and what the future holds.
What is a retail merchandising company? Essentially, a retail merchandising company is there to help brands and retailers maximize the visual impact of their retail environments. Their job is to help develop retail environments and shopping experience that engage customers in ways that get their attention and entice them to purchase specific brands and products.
This, of course, has taken on a whole new meaning in today’s digital economy where customers are shopping both online and in physical stores. These days retail merchandising must work across an omnichannel sales universe that is being driven by consumers who have come to expect instant gratification, immediate answers, and hassle-free shopping experiences.
The ability to meet the customer’s need for an easy and convenient shopping experience will become even more challenging as retail emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has instilled a new shopping mindset among consumers, making them even more fond of convenient solutions such as curbside pick-up and home delivery. At the same time, it has added a new list of best practices that brands and retailers are being asked to follow in their shopping environments – including having fewer sales representatives on the floor, which is certainly not positive news for any efforts to enhance customer engagement and service standards.
Why hire a retail merchandising company?
The reason to hire a retail merchandising company is the same reason brands and retailers engage in pretty much any strategic partnership – ROI. Retail merchandising companies specialize in creating faster, easier and more engaging customer experiences. They have the resources and expertise to do so effectively across both physical and online sales channels, which is something most brands and retailers cannot do on their own. This is particularly true as retail merchandising companies continue to invest in new digital solutions and software that are just too cost-prohibitive for a brand or retailer to add to their accounting spreadsheet.
By outsourcing to a third-party retail merchandising company, brands and retailers are able to employ the latest merchandising solutions without assuming the responsibility for developing and staffing them on their own. This is crucial because retail is changing as fast as it is growing thanks to the digitization of the shopping experience. Any brand or business that is not operating at the forefront of new retail merchandising solutions will likely find themselves eating the proverbial dust of those companies who are at the top of their game.
Statistics don’t lie – why merchandising is important
A post by Review42 highlights some pretty staggering statistics compiled from a number of reliable sources and studies regarding the retail industry. It’s clear that retail sales opportunities are going to be there for brands and businesses poised to capitalize on them. Here are a few stats worth noting:
– 62% of consumers choose to buy from physical stores because they want to see, touch and feel the products they are buying.
– 66% of customers say shopping technologies and innovations are improving their experiences.
– 73% of consumers use multiple channels to shop.
– Retail sales are projected to amount to nearly $30 trillion by 2023.
– 3 out of 5 consumers say that retail’s investment in technology is improving their experiences both online and in stores.
Based on these insights, it’s clear that innovative merchandising solutions will be absolutely critical to providing customers with experiences that leverage technology and engage them in powerful and compelling ways.
So, how does merchandising help in retail?
A good retail merchandising company is a partner who is both hands-on in terms of crafting and monitoring great shopping experiences, and who also provides you with new solutions that give you a competitive edge over competing brands and retailers.
Let’s start with how a retail merchandising company can help you in some of the more traditional ways before getting into technology.
Creating Store Flow
What’s the most effective way for customers to shop your retail store or find your retail brand? The overall design of a venue is key to creating an easy and seamless shopping experience for customers. However, there’s a fine line a retailer must walk in order to make it easy for customers to find what they want, while also inviting them to do a little extra store exploring and get them to consider some last-minute impulse purchases.
A great merchandising display is like adding another great salesperson to your team. Retail merchandising companies are experts at designing displays that showcase products in the right ways; reflect brand voice, and stop customers in their tracks. Additionally, a retail merchandising company assumes responsibility for visiting all sales venues to ensure that product displays are properly outfitted and in full compliance with brand standards and marketing strategies.
Signage is important to both attracting, directing and informing customers. An effective retail merchandising company will provide insight into ways you can use signage to engage your customers more effectively. For example, should your signage promote discount pricing or a limited-time offer? Should it be a simple message or something a little more fun and quirky to capture the attitude of your brand? Should it be seasonal? What colors work best? When should you switch it out for new messaging? These are all things a retail merchandising company can help you do more effectively.
Do you have any products or brands that go particularly well together? Clothing and department stores are great at the art of cross-merchandising. Go into any one of these stores and you’ll find mannequins and displays featuring exciting ensembles created by mixing and matching complimentary items – tops, pants, shoes, accessories. The idea is to visually entice shoppers to purchase the entire outfit, which is probably something they did not intend to do when they stepped into the store. Cross merchandising can be used for all sorts of products or to create seasonal displays. For example, a store might pair coolers, sodas, sunblock and beach towels in a display that launches at the beginning of summer. Cross merchandising is a great sales technique, and a retail merchandising company can certainly provide plenty of insight to help you do it more effectively.
Retail merchandising companies and technology: new solutions blur the lines between merchandising, marketing and customer service.
Now let’s get into some of the more exciting developments retail merchandising companies have on the horizon. In the same way e-commerce and brick-and-mortar sales have overlapped with new advancements in digital technology, so has the way brands and retailers approach merchandising, marketing and customer service.
Today, retail merchandising companies are integrating advanced technologies into their client solutions creating a tipping point where merchandising, marketing and customer engagement all begin to intersect.
From text chatbots that invite online shoppers to ask questions about products and services to in-store displays that showcase the latest offerings from top brands in vibrant high-definition video to service solutions that provide salespeople with instant access to product details and specifications in order to provide better customer service.
“We are seeing the convergence of merchandising and customer engagement solutions thanks to new digital technologies,” says Chris Green, Senior Vice President of Business Development at The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC), provider of retail solutions to some of the world’s top brands and retailers. “Things have to be omnichannel now. They have to work wherever the customer shops, whether that’s at home on their computer or walking down a store aisle. At T-ROC we’re really looking at merchandising as an engagement strategy that leverages our unique technology solutions to bring shoppers fast, accurate and interesting brand and product information at the point of sale – in stores, online and even beyond that,” adds Green.
The latest merchandising meets technology solution developed by T-ROC, with the help of some strategic partners, is call VIBA, which stands for Virtual Interactive Brand Assistant. The amazing solution is a great example of how merchandising continues to evolve and how technology will most certainly drive the next generation of solutions retail merchandising companies will be providing their brand and retail clients.
VIBA is the first solution to incorporate virtual reality technology, augmented reality, live video chats, livestreaming broadcasts, and on-demand content into an omnichannel platform capable of engaging customers in ways never before possible.
Like what, you ask? How about the fact that customers can speak with a virtual avatar named Valerie who is programmed to answer any and all questions they could possibly have about a brand or product. Better yet, they can launch the entire experience by simply scanning a QR Code on a product or display; or by clicking a weblink online; or by stepping right up to a VIBA in-store Smart Sign.
The point is, with VIBA customers aren’t reading static signs or walking up to an ordinary display or even browsing a bunch of photos in an online shop. Instead, they are instantly and actively taken on a personal shopping journey that is both information rich and supremely entertaining, and it’s a journey they can launch whenever and wherever works best for them.
VIBA is at the forefront of the next wave of retail merchandising and engagement. It’s an example of the kind of solution retail merchandising companies are going to be bringing their clients because, quite simply, shoppers are going to insist on it.
Retail merchandising is no longer just about maximizing store environments from a space and design perspective. It’s about finding ways to take the sales journey directly to the customer and that’s where digital technologies like VIBA are absolute game changers.
If you’d like to learn more about VIBA and other innovations that are transforming the way retail is being done, contact the experts who are driving these solutions at T-ROC.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out our other retail-focused blogs at https://trocglobal.com/company/#blog.
TROC is the leading provider of premier staffing outsource, software, managed technology services, and consumer insights for the top global brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and distributors. The company’s distinctive solutions address the entire lifecycle of brick and mortar brand and retail operations by combining retail expertise, best practices, and technology to help its customers achieve sales and operational excellence as well as a sustainable competitive advantage. As a Retail 4.0 thought leader, T-ROC enables companies with high-value products in the physical world to thrive through the digitalization of the physical shopping experience. To learn more about T-ROC, visit www.trocglobal.com.