How to Display Merchandise at a Clothing Store

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds; Updated September 26, 2017
Multi-ethnic teenage girls window shopping

Choosing the right merchandise for a clothing store and pricing it correctly are important to success, but are only two of three keys to maximizing sales. Once customers are in your store, you need to display your goods in ways that increase the likelihood of buying. Successful retailers have discovered a number of basic merchandising techniques you can incorporate into your store to optimize your revenues and profits.

Create the Right Flow

Three young women standing in a department store

The more shoppers walk through your store, the more items they’ll see, potentially spurring impulse sales. Lay out your floor plan in a way that encourages your customers to move from the front to the back of your store. Place your best-selling items in the back, or put your checkout counter there. Stagger your aisles instead of creating equal length rows so your customers weave through. You might have noticed this trick used by your grocery store: rearrange your store every three to six months so regular customers can’t make a beeline to the one item they’ve come to buy.

Choosing Displays

Two mannequins in clothes shop

Use a variety of equipment to display your goods like tables, floor racks, wall shelves, pegboards, cabinets, aisle shelves, mannequins and kiosks. Kiosks allow you to place items on different shelves or levels, depending on how the kiosk is configured. Mannequins let your customers see an outfit and specific items you want to promote. Customers then move to a nearby table, shelf or rack to pick the right size and color of item they want. Use angled wall shelves or pegboard displays above shelf units in your aisles. This will ensure that your wall items remain in site of customers even when they are between rows of shelves.

Vertical Merchandising

Man and woman exiting retail store, elevated view (blurred motion)

Vertical merchandising is a technique of stacking retail items above and below each other to increase cross-buying. For example, if you have a stack of four shelves, instead of putting sweaters on all four shelves top to bottom, put shirts on the top row, sweaters on the second row, slacks on the third row and accessories on the bottom row. Another way to use vertical merchandising is to place categories of items that go together in the displays, such as men’s items, casual clothes, sports apparel or seasonal discount items. Another option for vertical merchandising is to stack sweaters top to bottom, then next to them, stack blouses, then next to them, stack slacks. Keep the most important items at eye level or on the top row, to grab the customer's attention.

Bundle Items

modern shop interior

When you create departments or sections in your clothing store, such as men's, women's and children's areas, bundle items on display tables, mannequins or kiosks to increase cross-purchasing. For example, if you have a section for jackets, include a few skirts or slacks, ties, scarves, bags or socks that match the jackets.

Use Standout Displays

Two young women window shopping

Highlight specific designers, ensembles, pieces or accessories using kiosks, window displays or end caps. End caps are displays placed at the beginnings or ends of aisles. Place kiosks in the open space around aisles to help the merchandise standout. In addition to bundling items inside your store, use this technique to create interesting window displays to stop passersby who might not have intended to come into your store. Store displays can also help you promote a holiday, season or style of clothing.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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