Agathe Laville, head of marketing at Valrhona for Spain and Italy
The interest in merchandising
Merchandising is the set of techniques used to display, present and stage products in shops. Merchandising offers reference points to customers and encourages them to buy. In short, it boosts sales and, therefore, turnover. Obviously, there is no common general rule, but the trader, in this case the pastry chef, must apply the recommended practices and adapt them to their shop and their customers.
To get off to a good start, it is essential to understand our clientèle, define what their favourite products are, their habits and their reaction to promotional campaigns: How do the customers move around the shop? How long do they stay in front of the showcases and displays? What products attract them the most? What kind of information do they request?
The four display areas
There are four key areas when displaying our products. The concept of "visibility threshold" must not be forgotten when displaying the products: it is the minimum area in centimetres that must be assigned to a product so that the customer sees it and understands it at a glance.
To display the products from their best angle, you have to pay close attention to the presentation and the cleanliness of the shop.
The shop window: The exterior shop window reflects the positioning of the shop and presents the goods on offer. It is the first impression that the customer will have of our business. Therefore, we must take care of it, it must be well stocked and represent the goods the shop offers. It is important to highlight promotional and new products to encourage customers to enter; change the decoration frequently to generate interest while adapting it to the high seasons of the year: Valentine's Day, Easter, back to school, Christmas, etc.; and harmonise the decoration using a maximum of three colours. And a trick: If the business is close to a school, for example, and the chosen positioning is families, we can create a fun shop window.
- Shelving: This is the main space to display products, especially those that are pre-packaged. Shelves allow defined trends to be created to clearly convey the characteristics of each range. For example: an island with products to eat with coffee, a special "children's" range, pre-packed treats for snacks, etc. It also allows us to arrange the products by category and use the different packaging formats and colours to give life to each space. We can also offer combinations of products to encourage cross-selling.
- The refrigerated display or cabinet: It is recommended the products are presented in an orderly and attractive way. We can group products by categories to create well-defined domains organised by preferences. And combine colours and shapes to highlight the products and break up the monotony. And a trick. To show the wide variety of options within the same product category, these can be placed vertically so the customer can easily identify all the available options.
- Payment area: If a separate space is available in the shop, it can be used for impulse buying in order to satisfy last minute whims.
Bring the establishment to life
Their shop is the craftsperson's universe and signature. Therefore, the sales team needs to bring it to life with different activities, without forgetting the positioning. Some tips:
- Maintain the harmony and coherence of the signage and the materials used in the store including the name, logo or colours that identify the business.
- Customise the classic materials with a distinguishing feature (for example: bags, glasses, napkins, bags with your name).
- Take care over the appearance of the sales team, to ensure homogeneity and a good image. Establish similar clothing for the entire team or a common distinctive symbol.
- Train the teams so that they know the products that are used in the kitchen (such as the different types of chocolate), as well as the finished products, using language that can be understood by all the customers.
- Optimise the welcome and support offered to customers during the visit.
- In the case of events, maintain the harmony and coherence of the signage and the materials used in the shop. And customise the classic materials to establish a distinguishing feature (for example: bags, glasses, napkins, bags with your name).
- Regularly renew the merchandising in the shop, changing the shelves or displays so that the customer realizes that there has been a change: every fortnight or every three months to avoid the feeling of «déjà vu».
- Bring life to the store throughout the year by organising tastings of new products or events and increasing the frequency of these types of activities during the high seasons (Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.). In this way, we will increase the average purchase value and at the same time build customer loyalty.
The presentation of this study is completed with an innovative online service with recipes and merchandising advice.
Content published in Dulcypas magazine.