What is merchandise planning?
Understanding merchandise planning and merchandise planning processes is necessary for anyone in retail business. Most of the time it makes confusion over what it is and why it is used. Let’s stay clear about it.
The word merchandise can be confusing as per context. Merchandise generally means a product used for promotion of a brand, merchandise by default has some visual mark of the brand. Generally used products for merchandise are mugs, t-shirts, bags, accessories. You must have seen many such products having the logo or tagline of a brand or a campaign.
For example, If you are a tech company then having your logo printed on a keychain or pen will promote your brand.
Merchandise planning is ‘a methodical approach of buying and selling, organizing and presenting merchandise in a way that can maximize the profit and consumer satisfaction both, with appropriate decisions regarding choice, time, place and availability of the merchandise.’
So, now you know what is a merchandise and what is a merchandise planning let’s move to merchandise design.
Merchandise design and its significance
A merchandise design is representative of brand identity. That’s why it needs serious thinking about why it is designed for brands.
First of all there are three types of merchandise.
- DOMESTIC- products which are bought only after some consideration on the part of customers.
- CONVENIENCE- products which can be useful to enrich living standards.
- INSTINCT- products which are bought as addons.
You should choose the type of merchandise for your brand according to your business. Here are some reasons why merchandise are designed for brand:
Identity of business
Merchandise clears that it belongs to a brand, a brand which may have it’s own attitude, identity, stand and ideology defined in the market and culture. Merchandise is proof of all those.
When you create a merchandise design which is clear and simple, it becomes easily noticeable for people who buy/take it and use them. Making items used daily like files or pen your merchandise increases the chances of the user seeing your logo or tagline more often.
As it goes with the previous point, one they keep seeing it they will automatically remember it for a longer duration of time. This can make them feel trust towards your brand as they see it daily on the merchandise like a silent pet who is always there.
When customers have a brand in their mind through cognition and reminders they tend to choose it over and over again and it creates a loyalty that benefits the brand after some time, when customers buy/take merchandise and feel that they are high quality products, it is a reflection of your brand in their minds.
With merchandise products customers tend to feel more connected to the company than say with advertisements, because they have a physical product they can see and touch, it gives them a better feel and connectivity towards your brands.
Merchandising is less costly than mammoth budgets of advertising. Advertising feels general in comparison to merchandise which can be personalized through variation in colors and sizes. It is better to advertise your brand to target customers who actually are interested than to random people watching tv.
Merchandise planning process
Merchandise planning process is setting goals and defining objectives of merchandise in order to promote your brand. If you have a retail chain or just a shop, your merchandise planning may differ. It all depends on your brand size and industry. Merchandise management is important. There are some fail-safe steps in the process that may help you:
Color scheme used for merchandise must have a pattern within them that is complementary to brand identity. If you are confused over it then use classic black and white combination. You can even try having a monochromatic display, shades of one color creates a single color rainbow which gains attention for a good amount of time.
Always use space to guide your customer and their gaze. If you put an object in the middle of the other two, it will create a sense of importance. If you put them in a line, their eyes will follow them left to right. If you want to highlight a merchandise then make it stand out by placing it oddly or putting it in different colors from others.
Always have a goal for merchandise planning. If you want to send a message, choose a particular type of merchandise. If your brand is about electronics then it is better to sell flash drives as merchandise. If it is a book retailing brand then merchandised stationary items are the best choice. Use high quality products and service only.
How to design merchandise concept
It is easy to design a merchandise concept yourself, or you can hire a designer and service to print your trademark and logos or specialized messages. Always keep your brand identity and cultures of customers in the mind.
Here are some tips for that:
- Do a survey in the market.
- See if you can bring in something that is relevant to your brand.
- Use services which can provide you as much quantity as you want.
- Always try to give merchandise a special section where they can be put on display.
- Use different methods of displaying for various merchandise.