Anne Catherine Bowcutt, a regional sales manager for JCK magazine, called on her years of experience as a retail store manager for apparel and shoe retailers Joan and David and fine leather goods retailer Mark Cross for her presentation titled “An Intellectual Guide to Merchandising.”
“Merchandising is like writing the great American short story,” she said. “The story starts on page 1, and in America and the West, we read from left to right and top to bottom.” Thus, she explained, showcases and displays should also tell the product story from left to right and top to bottom.
A retailer’s goal is to move the customer through a pyramid, where the bottom is considering every option in the store, and the apex is the moment where the product is sold. By narrowing the customer’s focus, jewelers can increase conversion rate, increase the profitability of every transaction, increase repeat business, and increase turn rate.
Details are essential, she continued. The “paper” on which the story is told, i.e., the appearance of the store, makes a subtle impression on customers. Make sure the paper is pristine-touch up paint, replace chipped or broken fixtures, and eliminate paper clutter from the cash wrap area.
She presented a variety of floor plans for the audience to see how and where to allocate merchandise, both in terms of location and in terms of percentage of product to sales, and then explained in greater detail how to apply the principles of reading to product placement and how to apply the principles of painting and color to make a visually pleasing display.