Cross-Merchandising 101: Your Guide to Driving Retail Sales

Have you ever walked into a store and saw a product display that paired everything you needed?

For instance, maybe it’s the height of summer and you’re greeted with a BBQ display that features charcoal next to a variety of sauces with hamburger buns and cases of beer resting right beside.

That’s not a coincidence. It’s cross-merchandising at its best.

 In fact, if you’re looking for impactful ways to drive retail sales, consider cross-merchandising as your next retail marketing tool. Through logical or creative placement, you can encourage consumers to purchase multiple items at the same time that probably weren’t on their shopping list in the first place.

Cross-Marketing Drives Sales Velocity

Essentially, cross-marketing is the grouping of products from different categories or brands and grouping them together to bring more value to the consumer (and sell more products for the brand).

The entire goal of cross-marketing is to drive your in-store sales upward. It puts items in front of a customer’s face that creates an impulse purchase or an add-on to what they already have. When you place items together that logically belong, such as placing the bread next to the peanut butter and jelly, you increase your units purchased per ticket (UPT).

Whether it was on their shopping list or not, there’s inherent value to be had. 

The Value of Cross-Marketing for Retail Brands

Cross merchandising reminds your customers of a need. It signals to them that, while they may not have had plans to purchase the complementary item, they certainly need it if they are going to recreate this scene at home.

It’s one of the best trades we find in retail marketing. Retail brands trade an improved customer experience for multiple-item purchases. Win win.

Cross-merchandising saves time for consumers. For example, when complementary items are placed together, you save customers from having to walk across the store to add them to their cart. Or better yet, you’re sparing them from having to search for the item.

Perhaps the most fun retail brands can have is creating ideas for consumers they may not have considered themselves. Plus, when done right, you even invite the opportunity to have consumers share it on social media and take it viral. For example, once Tesco in the UK realized more men buy diapers than women, they quickly increased sales of beer and snacks by placing them next to the diapers! 

5 Cross-Merchandising Strategies to Consider

1. Cross-Merchandising By Theme

This is when you group items together because they share the same theme. For example, you could put together a breakfast display, including all the things one would need like cereal, milk, bananas, etc. 

This becomes a collaboration of items from different departments, all available in one place. Now, you’ve made it easier for a customer to throw a meal together, which many often struggle to do.

2. Cross-Merchandising by Popularity

You can increase sales of products that are not performing well by moving them next to a product that is selling very well. For example, you could put paring knives or vegetable peelers in the fruit and vegetable section of your store. 

The best-seller helps create awareness of the product and demonstrate a common use case so you increase its chances of moving off the shelf.

3. Cross-Merchandising by Demonstration

Many retailers will demo a product using in-store items to help show their utility and how they can be paired with complementary products. 

For example, consider an in-store sampling event for crackers. By itself a cracker isn’t very exciting. But by pairing it with cheese, meat and wine, you have a mini charcuterie board! This will encourage your customers to buy simply because they saw the product in action and want to try it at home.

4. Cross-Merchandising by Logic

When pairing items together, avoid the illogical or forced grouping. Successful cross-merchandising always ensures there is some connection between the two items. 

Obviously, if your customers can’t make the logical leap between the items, you’ll likely lose a sale and potentially a customer. We recommend implementing signage or props to drive the point home. 

5. Cross-Merchandising by Contrast

Finally, there is something compelling about contrast for the consumer. When an item or product is featured in a seemingly random or unexpected place, shoppers take notice. 

For example, during the holiday seasons, you may find valentine chocolates or Christmas cookies near the automotive section as a way to stand out. This also works well for limited-time items.

What’s the Best Cross-Merchandising Strategy for Your Retail Brand?

If you’re considering implementing a cross-merchandising strategy and would like to bring the shopper marketing experts onboard – let’s chat. Contact Cliffedge Marketing today to learn more.
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