Visual Merchandising for Small Food Brands

You’ve hustled your product to distributors and retailers and are starting to get some traction. Chances are, someone is going to start asking you about your visual merchandising strategy. Don’t be caught asking, “my what?” Visual merchandising is a method of attracting attention in retail environments. Enticing product placement drives sales, and keeps you AND your retailers happy. Good merchandising is especially important for small food brands, who might be new to stores and need extra attention. Here’s a guide.

Be the shopper.

Imagine yourself as the customer entering the store. Think about the touch points at which the consumer engages with your brand. Is it only on the shelf? Push for engagement that is both frequent and deep. Place printed marketing materials at strategic points. Ensure that your product is located in the best possible spot (eye-level, with clear labeling and price tag, not pushed back or out of sight). It’s a big job to check and re-check your store placements, but it matters.

Design your end cap, or your rack, or your whatever-it-is.

Those displays that you see at the end of supermarket aisles? They’re called end-caps, and it’s never too early to start thinking about them. They encourage impulse buying, they give additional context to your brand (such as product usage and pairings) and they make your retailer happy. This guide from Handshake provides a helpful introduction into the elements of end-caps, and tips for improving each one. Though not food-specific, this list shows how brands can creatively emphasize product features or simply sale prices. There are other types of displays, such a product racks, that allow you to display product in a creative way (and get some extra brand saturation in).

Signage is everything.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of signage. The more information your customer can gather, the better. Don’t leave them wondering! Pricing and product usage should be clearly marked. Even if these are listed on the packaging itself, they can be emphasized through signage. Shelf talkers, flyers, window signs – they all help communicate. It’s wonderful if your retailer’s employees can give information about your product, but you shouldn’t count on them to know it all. Let signage do the explaining.

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