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Retail Merchandising: Theory & Principles

Redmond O’Sullivan of ROS Retail Services shares his merchandising mastery with The Hardware Journal readers.


ROS Retail Services was established by Redmond O’Sullivan in 2002 in the midlands town of Athlone to provide a merchandising service for the grocery sector, setting up new stores and facilitating existing store revamps. The company has evolved over the years to expand to other sectors, and in the last five years has seen a sharp rise in demand for merchandising expertise in the hardware sector. We operate across the island of Ireland, providing a wealth of retail experience to both small retail clients and larger retail outlets alike.

In the last ten years, the typical hardware store has evolved from what was very much a traditional builder’s providers to now offering a diverse range of products for a wider market including homewares, electricals and seasonal products. An effective merchandising strategy will engage the customer, creating a positive first impression; it encourages people to come into the store, and can help guide them in finding the right product for their needs.


What is Retail Merchandising?

Retail Merchandising involves the process of examining human behaviour and their buying habits in order to determine the best way to layout and display your stock. It is a process where you arrange a group of products in order to highlight those that you want to sell fast or those that you want people to notice. Merchandising consists of product display, pricing, store layout, signage, promotional events and all manner of other salesdriving techniques aimed at raising the profile and the profits of your small retail business. The process of retail merchandising involves evaluation, planning and presentation of merchandise in a retail environment.



On the initial visit to the hardware store, the merchandising team will work closely with store managers, gathering information regarding the local customer base, and analysing sales information. The existing store layout, shelving and displays are analysed and the store manager is advised on how best to position shelving, promotional/seasonal displays and a recommended plan of action is prepared.



Once a plan of action is agreed, the merchandiser will assist in finalising arrangements with the store manager/store owner e.g. the acquisition of new shelving/display units. Third party companies such as electricians, or flooring suppliers may also need to be booked in preparation for layout changes. Merchandise layout is devised and confirmed with the hardware store, and commencement date(s) is scheduled.



Merchandising / re-merchandising involves the stocking of shelves and building displays in such a way that it stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase. It is important to ensure that merchandise is displayed appropriately with proper signage, favourable shelf placement and clearly displayed pricing.


Retail Merchandising Benefits:

More customers – customers are enticed to come into a store, and with increased traffic may come increased sales, and repeat customer business.

Maximize space – With the right layout, shelving, and product displays, a hardware store can expand its retail space without having to move locations or invest in costly renovations. Effective merchandising can make a space look more attractive and work more efficiently.

Increased sales – The bottom line is that a pleasant shopping experience which gives customers what they want at the prices they want translates into more sales. Increased visibility will ultimately lead to increased sales, and a happy retailer!

Phone: 01 2980969
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