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Retail 101 Retail Infographics and Trends

Holiday Displays That Make the Register Ring!

This is a guest post written by Mary Sue, a former award-winning home & lifestyle boutique owner, a creative consultant and maker at Studio Mary Sue and Deja Vu Foundry. Say hello @studiomarysue.

“I’m so sorry! I’m ruining your display!”
Has a customer ever said that to you?
Mine used to.

It was so sweet of them to be concerned about my boutique display, but the reality was that I was MORE THAN HAPPY to need to rearrange. Rearranging displays meant one thing was happening…sales. And lots of them.

This time of year can see massive shifts in merch- from fully stocked to “Holy moly… we’re dangerously low!”

My advice to you (as a professional visual merchandiser/10 year boutique veteran) is to always shift your displays, especially this time of year when we are selling through product quickly and in unexpected ways.

Here are some of my favorite tips to help mind the gap in merch this holiday season:

1) Shift small goods to the front

Do you stock small goods like candles and room sprays? Shift them all to the front, don’t make your customers dig for them. Even if you only have 3 of the scent out of 12, move those 3 forward so the front looks full but the back is bare (kind of like a reverse mullet).

2) Check the floor after a big rush

Sometimes a handful of customers buying the same product can leave surprise holes in the display. When you have a moment, get some water, get a snack, and walk your floor to check the status and rearrange, restock or refill if needed.

3) Light what’s not selling

Something not selling? Put a spot light on it. Lighting is like a magic wand! I can’t tell you how many times just adding more light has increased the sales of an item or how adjusting the overhead directional lighting after a floor reset or display change has made an undeniable difference. Time to bust out the ladder and make some changes!

4) Display merch in odd numbers, odd numbers feel balanced

This goes against a lot of seemingly common sense, but if you can group like-products in groups of 3, 5, 7, they will feel so much more balanced and approachable than clusters of even number products. So much of display and merchandising plays off of consumer behavior, and odd numbers just feel good when we scan a store and see that kind go grouping. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if you have the opportunity to display 3 of the same item vs 2 of the same item, go with the odd number.

5) Get (your merchandising) high!

Add some height through risers! Props like risers can help your assortment feel fuller than it actually is. Stacks of vintage books, old cola crates, acrylic risers and even vases with some greens or floral all help to create a dynamic display that moves the eye around. Flat displays where all of the product is the same height, color, shape and density are easily scanned over. Adding height helps break up that sameness and signal to the brain “Hey! Check this out!”


Wishing you an incredible holiday season filled with the best customers and tremendous sales!

Former award-winning boutique owner, creative consultant & maker obsessed with bridging the gap between products and people.

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