Keeping Old Inventory Fresh: Merchandising Showroom Displays

Seasons come and go, but inventory often stays the same. Keeping your showroom displays fresh and inviting can be challenging, particularly with older product, but it’s vital that you maintain this as a priority in an effort to keep your customers’ attention. Whether you are working with year-round product or are trying to sell something that just hasn’t moved, your goal should be to entice your audience with new ways to look at old things.

Create Excitement Through New Displays

Have you ever been to a store that you know exactly where to find your item?  Grocery stores to apparel retailers to discount supercenters thrive in having certain products always in the same place. Their customers know exactly where to get what they need. For showrooms, however, this is not the case. When retailers are placing orders, often they have no idea what they need. It’s your job as a showroom to create an atmosphere that makes them want to learn more about all that you sell, not just some of what you sell or what they may have come specifically to your showroom for. Keeping your showroom fresh with interesting displays will encourage your customers to take the time to learn about all that you offer. A great display shouldn’t last forever, though. Prior to each new trade show or even more routinely, it should be on your to-do list to create new displays that will encourage new shopping direction. Often what wasn’t seen on a previous visit by a customer can be re-introduced through a new display on their next visit. Taking the time to re-invent your showroom floor with engaging displays will communicate to your customers that you have new things to offer, even if you know your “new” things are actually old things. Make sure to keep this up after each show or depending on your showroom traffic, more frequently. The idea is to constantly re-invent your space so that customers believe you are offering new things to them each time they visit. The savviest of customers may catch onto your merchandising strategy, but allowing them to see old product in a new light often is the push they need for you to make an additional sale.

Showcase Products In Unexpected Ways

It’s easy to merchandise product with what it is expected to be merchandised with, but taking the time to create displays with unexpected merchandising strategies often leads to new customer interest. Using products that aren’t for sale but help showcase what is for sale is a great way to highlight product that you want to move. In addition, displaying product in untraditional ways that scream for attention is an effective way of catching your customer’s eyes. Your goal should be to create conversation through your unique displays that will lead to the opportunity for sales. Getting your customers to talk about product they wouldn’t typically be drawn to is a great way to get orders written. Use the opportunity of surprise in your displays to help capture these conversations and ultimately, sales.

While displays may be great in opening up the opportunity for conversation, the product within that specific display may not always be what your customer will want. If this is the case, help direct your customer to what it is they are looking for by leaning on your display as your conversation opener. Sometimes getting your customers to talk can be a challenge in itself, so having something that captivates their attention and opens them up for conversation can serve as your chance to get inside their heads. With your guidance, let the conversation lead to what it is they are looking for or how it is you may be able to help them. Encourage them to view other products, tour your showroom and learn from you regarding what it is you have for sale. The display may not get that specific product within it sold to each new customer, but it can still serve as a selling tool to help with other sales.

Combine The Old And The New

Don’t let old inventory get stale with the excitement of new inventory taking over your showroom. Intertwining the old and the new can be effective in selling both. Cross merchandising these products will definitely help with sales. Old pillows? New couch? Combine the two! Using your showroom space as a floor plan that blends both old product and new product rather than separating them will keep your customers engaged in all of your merchandise – not just what recently arrived into your showroom. While it may be enticing to have a sale area, avoid putting products into this space unless absolutely necessary – if at all. Instead, concentrate on combining your product so that it seamlessly blends together within your showroom. If you do this effectively, you may just fool yourself into seeing old product in a new light as well.

In addition to merchandising, offering an incentive for a combined purchase of the old and new can be very effective in moving older goods. For example, you can offer regular price on all the newest pieces for sale, but promote a discount for older product with the purchase of something “just arrived”. Make sure to keep the value – in price, quality and style – of each product just as exciting, though. You don’t want them to think just because something is old to you means it will be old to their customers, too. Use signage that compliments your merchandising strategies as a way to communicate this exciting offer. A clean, professional sign in a frame on an end table is a polished way of sharing this incentive. It also helps to directly communicate this valuable promotion to your clients as they are planning their store buys.

Keep Timeframes To Yourself

When you walk through your own home, you instinctively are aware of how your home came together over time with the addition of new furniture, photos, collectibles and more. Similar to your home, your showroom evolves at a pace only you and those working in the showroom often are truly aware of. Let the arrival times of your product be your secret and rather than announce what’s new or just arrived, let your product speak for itself. By combining some of the previously mentioned strategies and eliminating the need to communicate the age of your inventory, you don’t have to worry about your products being viewed as “stale” or even the need for them to be “on sale”. With your help, the product within your showroom should sell itself for what it is – not for how long you have had it. Lean on this as a selling tool and encourage your customers to think the same should timeframe come up in conversation. Looking at this from a new perspective allows both you and your customers to engage in new shopping and selling strategies that will hopefully help in your inventory sell through, as well.

Each showroom and each assortment of product will be different. Determining how to move all your inventory – old and new – within each individual showroom should be based on your individual goals, clients and more. Introducing a variety of strategies may be effective in supporting your business needs, however leaning on one versus another may work best, too. There is no sure proof way of how to get rid of excess, old inventory, but recognizing that it exists and needs to be moved in new ways is a great first step. Consider which strategies are best for your business and execute a plan to help get things moving rather than sitting still. If you find out that some product simply isn’t selling despite all merchandising and selling efforts, offer a warehouse sale to help push this product out of your showroom while also allowing for you to open up showroom space and spending dollars. This should be among your last efforts since your return on your investment will not be as profitable, but sitting on too much inventory isn’t profitable, either.

Finally, in an effort to keep old inventory moving, make sure to determine what old means to your business. Does one season or two seasons in stock equal old?  Maybe more, maybe less. Whatever old is to your showroom, keep up with your inventory so you can respond accordingly to necessary merchandising and selling strategies to get things moving and sold. After all, that’s the goal – right?


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