The key features of construction and DIY stores, regardless of size and format, are the huge range of products, as well as the characteristics of sales, demand, and customer behavior. We have already covered much of this in the blog on effective inventory management in the DIY segment. Now let's talk about the role of merchandising in the success of this business.
Create an atmosphere and experience for customers of DIY stores
One of the noticeable industry trends is that DIY stores are increasingly becoming not just a place to sell goods for renovation, home, and garden, but a place to offer ready-made solutions and concepts for space planning, interior, and landscape design, furnishing and arrangement of premises of various types, etc.
That is, a modern DIY store may not be limited exclusively to DIY products. In such cases, the emotional aspects of making a decision to buy goods become more important. The design and atmosphere of retail outlets come to the fore, in which ordinary customers and specialists, individually or together, think about how the intended project will look, and not just buy consumables.
Work not only on individual sales but on creating an atmosphere, a positive and high-quality shopping experience that will build customer loyalty.
The cornerstone of this atmosphere is the layout of the retail space and merchandising. We at Leafio, with years of experience working in long-term cooperation with our customers, have identified for you the trends of the industry and the peculiarities of laying out different groups of goods in the DIY market. Keeping these trends in mind, you will be more successful and ahead of the competition.
General recommendations for displaying goods
A large assortment of goods implies the presence of various product categories and groups, which may differ in size, dimensions, and requirements for display and storage. But at the same time, they are related to each other from the point of view of application. For example, floor coverings and adhesives with varnishes, or products for furnishing a bathroom – from bathtubs and showers to shelves and hooks. Place such related products next to the main one, so that the buyer does not have to waste time looking for them. This method is called cross-merchandising.
- Easy to find - get the desired information - buy with convenience.
The vast majority of key DIY products do not "sell themselves", meaning that the buyer will often need additional information and advice. Make sure that sellers of specialized departments can clearly navigate their assortment and the location of other departments and be ready to provide comprehensive advice. And in the event that the staff is busy or the buyer does not ask for help, they should still be able to find all the necessary information quickly and without extra effort.
The faster, easier, and more comfortable it is for your potential customers to find the right product, and get the information they need to make a decision, the more likely they will make a purchase, remain satisfied, return to you again and share their positive experience with friends, acquaintances, neighbors, etc.
- Inform about the product by all possible means
Use all available means for this, both traditional – catalogs, palettes, demo stands, longboards, and modern – scanners, QR codes, mobile applications, touch screens (tablets with interactive catalogs), 3D modeling and augmented reality technologies. This will help not only the buyer in their decision-making but also you.
Designing displays that allow shoppers to engage multiple senses to explore products is key to successful visual merchandising, according to consulting firm Rick Segel & Associates.
Experimental psychologist Red Rui Tela notes that 83% of people gather information with their eyes, and 94% use both sight and hearing for this.
This means that using multiple ways to display your goods will encourage people to take a closer look at the product, touch it, and thus is an effective way to convince visitors to make a purchase. For you as a retailer, digital technologies are an effective means of presenting the entire assortment with limited retail space, highlighting and/or announcing new products and special offers, and tying in related products. Be sure to monitor the availability and relevance of price tags and characteristics of goods.
- Take care of usability and navigation
Impulsive purchases are also present in DIY retail – seasonal goods, household items, interior accessories, gifts, etc. Such goods, of course, must be visible. They can be traditionally placed on islands or near cash registers. Be sure to separate and zone different product categories, while taking care of high-quality and convenient navigation. Given the presence of a large number of bulky products, pay special attention to the width and convenience of aisles between racks, as well as the availability of shopping carts and baskets.
Features of the display of individual categories of goods
At the beginning of the overview of the features of merchandising DIY goods, we already mentioned one of its key challenges, which is that the range includes both large goods and various small items. Therefore, standard layout schemes are not quite suitable, in particular, because the sales floor equipment can be very diverse: racks, shelves, pallets, stands, hangers, interior compositions, etc. In addition, the upper shelves of the racks are often used as storage for stock.
Below we will consider the features of the display of various products, which were identified during our cooperation with customers in the DIY segment who use our Leafio Shelf Efficiency solution for automating the management of shelf space.
- Bulky goods
For oversized, expensive, and individually sold goods, the practice of demonstrating one sample of the product or a stand display of samples is used. The bulk of such goods is in warehouses, on specially designated storage shelves, or available for order from the distribution center. Prices and specifications of in-stock SKUs are indicated on informational stickers or nearby paper or digital catalogs. Analysis of sales of these products and evaluation of the effectiveness of their display are carried out taking into account the location of the product sample or stand.
- Small goods
Small goods can be both sold and used independently and accompany the main ones. That is why their correct classification and logical location in the store is very important. The main requirement is not to confuse buyers but to help them find and choose what they need. It is better to group the assortment by purpose: doors, windows, and furniture fittings (hardware, dowels and fasteners), electrical goods, small plumbing products (taps, fittings, and gaskets), etc. Within each category, there should be a clear ranking by type, denomination, or size.
- Dry mixes
Laying out bags with dry mixes is usually done in vertical blocks: package under package. Each block also corresponds to a certain package volume, and individual blocks are grouped by manufacturer. Zone the groups according to the stages of the repair work. Heavier goods (packages) are traditionally placed at the bottom, and the lighter ones are higher, but not above the eye level. Materials in high demand (for example, cement mixtures or fillers) are better placed deeper into the sales floor so your customer will see (and probably buy) something else on the way to find such a product. In the case of a large assortment of heavy goods, be sure to make convenient carts and a nearby driveway available for loading and delivery services.
- Tiles and non-roll floor coverings (parquet, laminate)
Depending on the width and depth of your assortment, the tiles are laid according to the classification of the facing material by purpose:
- Floor and wall coverings.
- Bathroom and kitchen tiles.
- Tiles for interior and exterior cladding.
- Ceramic tiles and ceramic granite.
- Decor elements.
If you have a specialized tile store or a large specialized department in a supermarket, it is worth using display stands (sliding and/or tilting construction) that will simulate a surface (wall/floor) covered with tiles of a certain collection. In this case, the customer will see the final result and will have more opportunities to compare and compile different SKUs. It is also possible to group tiles by color scheme, manufacturer, and price point. Set aside separate areas for new items and clearance sales, as certain types of tiles can even be purchased individually.
Similar grouping and layout principles are used for parquet and laminate (except that here, in addition to the manufacturer and color, the class of strength and wear resistance, moisture resistance, and manufacturing material can be used as a classifier). To save space, floor samples can be placed on small demo stands, including pull-out ones like those used for tiles.
By the way, a store or department of tiles or floor coverings is an excellent example of the above-mentioned cross-merchandising: along with the main product – tiles or laminate – you need to display related materials – glues, varnishes, tools, devices, and accessories for laying.
According to Philip H. Mitchell, author of Discovery-Driven Retail, merchandising helps increase margins when you work to showcase a certain central product while surrounding it with related products. This encourages people to buy more goods, as this display gives customers ideas on how to use the main product together with the additional ones.
- Products for furnishing the bathroom (sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers)
It is best to use installations that simulate a real bathroom to demonstrate these oversized products. Place an accompanying small assortment around such installations – curtains, hooks, hangers, holders, shelves, organizers. Next to the bathroom furniture department, place the tile and plumbing department – taps, faucets, and shower systems. If your store is small, use catalogs and (if possible) modern digital technologies of 3D space modeling.
For products in the "premium" price segment, we recommend a showroom format with brand zones. An important role in the planning of showrooms and the quality of the display is played by the surrounding decoration, lighting, and the level of awareness and customer orientation of the staff.
Wallpaper is displayed on folding or special racks or crossbars so that the buyer can unfold the roll. The layout can be organized according to various characteristics: by manufacturer, roll width, color range, and price category. Separately, there is a division based on the type of wallpaper material (vinyl, non-woven, paper) and purpose (for painting, for the kitchen, bedroom, children's room, borders, decorative elements, etc.). Catalogs and 3D modeling also "work" here.
Traditionally, use cross-merchandising nearby, placing related products: rollers, pallets, and wallpaper glue (by type of wallpaper).
- Long-length goods
These include lumber longer than 2 m, boards, beams, pipes, and cable ducts, as well as plinths and cornices. Heavy goods of this category should be placed horizontally on special racks or frames. Products shorter than 2 m, pipes, eaves, and plinths, can be exhibited on stands with vertical dividers. If possible, leave a small space to offer the remaining products in the departments of long-length goods.
- Rolls and coils
In contrast to long-length, smaller-sized roll materials (insulation, waterproofing, and polyethylene film) are usually laid out vertically, on the floor. Wire, cable, and corrugation coils can be stacked in containers or wound on rotating reels for ease of measuring and cutting.
- Tools and equipment
The range of tools and equipment can be both highly specialized and widely used. Therefore, here we will give only the most general recommendations: laying should be carried out taking into account the purpose and application, at the level of a person's waist or slightly higher. Tools should be within easy reach for perusal and safe selection. The key characteristics of the products can be placed on price tags. It is advisable to make the details available through a QR code or an application. Large equipment must be separated from other groups of goods.
Be sure to observe safety precautions and the rules for handling dangerous goods, the access of unaccompanied buyers and/or with children to some departments, and the operation of technological transport in the sales hall.
How Leafio Shelf Efficiency helps manage shelf space in DIY stores
Modern merchandising management automation systems take into account the industry-specific features of layout and allow you to track, analyze and control its compliance with the formed planogram on counters and showcases. You can do this in real-time, using a smartphone with a specialized application, to send tasks to store employees and realograms (real photos of the layout) to the central office.
A competent display of goods in the store should be built exclusively on the basis of pragmatic approaches, analysis of demand and sales. Do not rely on the human factor and do not make the presentation randomly, and even more so – chaotically. After all, merchandising is a space where a buyer and a retailer meet.
At Leafio, we have created a software product that allows you to automate merchandising in DIY stores of all sizes and formats. The Leafio Shelf Efficiency solution already contains and allows the use of various types of retail equipment typical of DIY retail chains to create planograms. Also, in the system, you can create instructions for assembling equipment/components and add comments for planograms to clarify the specifics of the placement of goods on the shelves. Templates for any type of equipment are stored in the cloud and are available anywhere.
This simplifies the work with planograms for all employees involved in this business process – merchandisers, planogram managers, category managers, marketers, and sales floor staff.
All of them monitor and ensure that the display looks neat, clear, and attractive to the buyer and, if necessary, promptly correct some points. The main thing is that the layout is profitable and you can analyze the impact of its changes on sales.
The program interface is simple and understandable even for a beginner. You have the opportunity to:
- Create planograms manually or with the auto-facing function, when the system independently determines the number of exposed facings based on the parameters you set.
- Carry out a quick rotation of the assortment, and replace goods that have expired with other items.
- Analyze planograms of sales rooms of individual retail outlets and the trading chain as a whole. At the same time, analytics may not take into account data on warehouse shelves that are located in the trading hall and storage rooms.
If you operate a large chain of stores, you can use the functionality of format equipment. That is, having created a typical planogram, you can use it at several points of sale simultaneously. Also, changes to a typical planogram are automatically applied to all the stores it covers. This is convenient when scaling the network, as well as when clustering stores.
If you have additional instructions for the store staff, you can leave them on the shortcuts that the system offers you. It can be instructions for assembling the equipment or special notes about the layout.
You can control the display process itself: as soon as the approved planogram is published, store employees receive the corresponding task in the Leafio Shelf Efficiency mobile application. After finishing the layout, they send a photo (realogram) to you through the mobile application.
In working with clients, we have found that many in the industry still manage inventory and product displays mostly by hand or by using standard software such as MS Office. Therefore, for your convenience, we have integrated an import function into Leafio Shelf Efficiency, which allows you to use data from your Excel tables to create planograms. If you need to make changes to existing planograms, after import you can easily correct them using the drag&drop or auto-facing functions.
Together, we will increase the merchandising efficiency of your DIY store, and therefore customer loyalty and the profitability of your business!