I often remember myself lying on the floor of a perfumery shop at midnight, placing, one by one, the different colors in the makeup cabinet. If my mother had seen me she would have said, “Oh, honey, did you really get a degree just to end up doing this??” While I was passionate about marketing, when I discovered the power of retail and the importance of permanent displays at the moment of purchase, retail completely captivated me. Although my previous experience in a marketing department helped me a lot, I would have been really grateful if someone had given me these tips:
- Briefing – Make sure you have a comprehensive vision of the project, to know right from the start what its objectives are and what its expected profitability is. This will help you work in a more specific way in all the phases, and to sharpen your decisions, from material design and choice to updates each season.
- Dare to advance ideas for innovative merchandising systems. Find out how to surprise your boss, the distributor and consumer by knowing the numbers and verifying your brand’s growth on the channel, the profile of its typical consumer…. Creativity complemented by data is the perfect combination for your project’s success
- A comprehensive vision and attention to detail – two abilities that are compatible and that are equally important for a good merchandiser. Learn to develop them simultaneously.
- Trends – what now seems like the latest thing becomes outmoded sooner than you expect. Don’t forget that consumers want to be continually surprised. Of course, you need to ensure the durability of point-of-sale furniture by buying high-quality pieces, but you also have to ensure that they are adaptable enough so that you can change or revamp the image they project from time to time
- Simplify your life – For this, homogenization is the key. Managing is very boring, so don’t forget to homogenize on each new project: sizes, planograms, systems. Try to use the least number of elements possible, and resist the temptation to opt for custom-made pieces that are a short-term solution, but a medium-term problem, due to the resources required to keep them in perfect condition over time.
- Digitalized management – given the great number of details you’re dealing with (more than 500 products/different brands/various seasons) it is essential to rely on technical solutions that minimize human error. We all know that a small mistake, even a very silly one, can prevent the product from being displayed, directly affecting sales figures. If you do not have the resources to buy or develop them, look for suppliers that offer them in their catalogues of services.
- Retroplanning – the most useful tool to coordinate all the members involved in the process: internal team / supplier / agencies / point of sale
- Correctly identify your pain points to solve them without altering what already works. Improving does not mean changing everything.
- Team – suppliers are partners that will allow you to achieve your goal. Delegate to and lean on those you know you can trust; those that will not leave you hanging or out in the cold. When it comes to managing points of sale or merchandising, it is unrealistic to think that everything will go smoothly. So, choose suppliers based on their commitment to the customer and their ability to react to adverse situations.
- Manufacturing – from renders to prototypes and from prototypes to mass production. To avoid unwelcome surprises, personally check over each supplier’s proposal before submitting it for internal validation. Also, leave enough time for changes to be made, in case it doesn’t work out the first time. It is better to correct it, and wait to present it, than to have it shot down due to poor execution of the prototype.
If there’s something that I have learned throughout these years, it is that managing merchandising is as important as it is boring. This is why it’s necessary to simplify and homogenize. This way, playing it safe, you can spend your time on inspiring, thinking and designing. Because the value you really deliver is by creating original experiences for the consumer at the point of sale!