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Norton’s Notes – A Merchandiser’s Perspective (Part 5)

Today’s posting is the fifth of a multi-part series on a feature that we have incorporated into our blog on a regular basis called Norton’s Notes. We will be periodically adding insight from our distinguished merchandising specialist, Jim Norton. The format of the articles will be in question and answer, and we encourage you to keep the questions rolling in to our inbox at info@abdelivers.com! We have hundreds of clicks daily to our newsletter, a mix of both current and future customers of Allen Brothers, and we are thrilled to be a one-stop resource for convenience store news, information, and updates at your fingertips.

Glass Door freezers play a key role in the layout of your convenience store

Ask the Merchandiser

Question 1.) For a typical store layout, how much space should be committed specifically to confectionary items, general merchandise, and health & beauty?

Answer 1.) It depends on the size and what kind of store: gift shop, convenience store, or pharmacy. Each presents its own unique merchandising issues. The easy answer is to focus on confectionary and let the other two categories land where they may. In my opinion, this is the wrong way to go about the layout. It’s never recommended that a store owner completely ignore any category in their merchandising efforts. With general merchandise and health & beauty, there is real profit to be made with proper product selection, pricing, and presentation.

For a convenience store or a pharmacy, my advice is to allocate a sizeable space for confectionary, and this is a category you can take chances with. You’ll need to be more careful about the general merchandise products that you bring in, but again this is a category that can be a strong profit driver. It’s obvious for pharmacy operators, but in all three store sets there is definitely a need to have an offering of health & beauty products (over-the-counter medicine especially). For you gift shop operators, I don’t have to tell you that general merchandise is a major profit center, more so than pharmacies or convenience stores. Regardless, I still encourage you to take the time to investigate new confectionary and snack-food items in the market.

Question 2.) How many beverage coolers do you need in your store at minimum?
Answer 2.) This question depends entirely on the size of your store. I walk into some large stores that have 10 to even 12 coolers fully stocked with an array of product. Smaller stores simply can’t dedicate that much space to cooler units, so they will have two to three and maybe one additional freestanding cooler. If you have less room, you’ll need to be more attentive on the products that you bring in to fill the coolers, but they can still be a strong earner for your bottom line. Again, the key here is to make use of the space you have efficiently.

Continue to check in regularly for continuous convenience coverage from Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution. Happy selling!

 

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Norton’s Notes – A Merchandiser’s Perspective (Part 4)

Today’s posting is the fourth of a multi-part series on a feature that we have incorporated into our blog on a regular basis called Norton’s Notes. We will be periodically adding insight from our distinguished merchandising specialist, Jim Norton. The format of the articles will be in question and answer, and we encourage you all to keep the questions coming to our inbox at info@abdelivers.com!

Aisle Spacing is Key to Customer Comfort

Ask the Merchandiser

Question 1.) When you’re setting a store, is there a place that you start every time? Maybe in the grocery aisle or candy?

Answer 1.) I usually start in the candy aisle, which is what I would recommend for someone looking to do a little merchandising of their own. It is the easiest section to setup or reset in the least amount of time. It’s also arguably the most essential area in a convenience store, so why not be your sharpest, right? The hanging snack and candy sections take more time as you try to set the proper spacing. I end with the grocery, pet and HBC sections, but each person has their own preferences and a lot depends on how you envision the store.

Question 2.) What’s the proper amount of spacing that you recommend in an aisle? Is there an industry minimum size requirement?

Answer 2.) No big surprise here, but your customers need to be able to move around the store easily. As a convenience store or grocery market operator, it’s a delicate balance between trying to fit the maximum amount of product while not overwhelming your customer’s personal space. There are times when, as a store owner or operator, you need to look at the inventory you’re carrying and determine if it fits what your customer is shopping you for. Here’s a quick example of a spacing problem and a creative solution. Supermarkets used to feature a lot of aisle displays, transforming their customer’s walk through the snack lane into a mini obstacle course. This made it not only difficult to navigate, but also burdensome and overwhelming. Now more use is made of end-caps and front end displays, making a huge difference in customer satisfaction.

Continue to check in regularly for continuous convenience coverage from Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution. Happy selling!

 

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NORTON’S NOTES – A MERCHANDISER’S PERSPECTIVE (PART 3)

Todays’ installment of “Norton’s Notes, A Merchandiser’s Perspective,” sets its sights on point of purchase sales and owner/manager involvement in the store setup. Our merchandising and marketing department are happy to answer any and all of your questions. For feedback or to have your question answered, email the Allen Brothers Inbox today at info@abdelivers.com.

Question 1) How many items should a store owner carry at the counter-top?

Answer 1) The maximum that your space allows. There’s always apprehension about overloading a counter, and it’s a legitimate concern. But your customers can’t buy what they can’t see. The type of products at checkout have to be hot impulse items, this is no place for a slow-seller. Novelty candy, gum, mints, toys, this should be the focus. If an item has been on the counter for more than two weeks with minimal turnover, it’s time to shuffle product. But it’s never recommended to stack different types of products on top of one another. Give each item the opportunity to stand out to maximize your point of purchase sales, as shown below.

Desirable Counter Top Display at Convenience Store

Allen Brothers Specializes in Counter Displays

Question 2) Do you find that most store owners want to be involved in the process of merchandising and setting their store, or prefer to leave it up to you? And which scenario do you recommend?

Answer 2) Some owners are more hands on than others. They sometimes have specific plans for their store. Others will give me the freedom to setup their store as I see fit. Setting an appointment to plan the procedure is always a good idea so you’re not going in blind. Both scenarios have their ups and downs. But the more engaged a store owner is in the setup of a store, the more committed they likely will be to maintaining the allure of the store’s appearance.

 

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