April 10, 2017

I have noticed that effective endcap displays have been reduced from past years. When I’ve asked retailers why they weren’t using their prominent endcaps by the checkout station to merchandise seasonal items or to rotate volume sellers and new items, the response was that they didn’t have the time to rotate inventory.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, endcap display rotation was a big thing. It was a way to encourage impulse buying and to display quantity purchases. It was effective in showcasing seasonal and new items. I’m not sure why this sales vehicle has fallen out of favor.

Prominent endcaps allow retailers to refresh the appearance of their store. This gives customers the feeling that their favorite store is staying abreast of the newest and brightest products available. Even if you aren’t stocking anything new, just by changing displays you will give that impression.

If you’re willing to try some endcap innovation, your biggest advocate will be manufacturer detailers and distributor sales people. They will be happy to work out discounts, obtain demo units and train store associates on features and benefits. Ask them for merchandising ideas. Distributors can be a great asset to any retailer who is willing to ask for advice.

The best way to get started is to develop an action plan worksheet to help you organize your displays throughout the year. If you have multiple endcaps, consider at least one on a rolling rotation every other month. This will keep things fresh for loyal customers who regularly visit your store.

Any action plan should take into consideration the seasons that affect your store type. If you are an aquatic store only, you might take into account summer vacation season and create a display with automatic fish feeders, feeding blocks, dosers, water level controllers and other things that will give your customers assurance that they can enjoy their away time, reducing the worry about their display tank at home. If your store sells dog products, an obvious seasonal display for summer might be flea and tick control, lawn pet care products or, for winter, containment options, sweaters and coats, etc.

There are five important things you should list on your worksheet for each display:
1. Decide on a theme.
2. Consider the benefits that the products on display offer your customer.
3. Identify the primary mover(s) in the grouping that will most likely attract your customers’ interest.
4. List all related products you will need to support the prime movers or expand the theme.
5. Negotiate discounts with your supplier based upon your effort to promote their manufacturer’s products. You could also talk to manufacturers or their representative at trade shows and distributor open houses or through their detailers who visit your store.

Don’t forget the silent salesman: signage. It increases the possibility of a sale to display signage telling a story about the products. If customers stop in simply to purchase a bag of dog food, the sight of a display with a sign promoting the beauty of desktop aquariums at the checkout counter might intrigue them into considering one. The simple fact that your dog food-buying customer saw an inviting endcap showcasing beautiful desktop aquariums might actually encourage him or her to come back and buy one for their desk at work or home.

Once your endcap is complete, take a picture of it. The photo will help in the future to remember what worked and what didn’t. You can also post the image on your Facebook and Instagram pages to further entice customers to visit your store.

In short, if you have an old endcap that hasn’t been remerchandised for a long time, consider a makeover to make it more productive for you. You might be pleasantly surprised by your effort.

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