Guest Column | March 15, 2010

How Customer Experience Drives Merchandising Metrics Guest Series Article Four

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By Inez Blackburn, Retail Expert/Marketing Consultant

Did you know that merchandising methods trace their roots to the industrial revolution where products were merchandised to maximize manufacturing capability? Does the old adage "pile it high and watch it fly" really work in our current economy? Are we merchandising what we want to sell or what consumers really want to buy? Do we merchandise to maximize metrics or to solve our customers’ problems? What is the paradox of choice and why do we believe that “less is more” in the new world merchandising order?

The luxury of ignorance has expired and we must create a positive experience at every point of contact with our customers. Excellence in merchandising is no longer dictated by how much shelf space you allocate, how deep you discount, or how frequently you promote your products. Excellence in merchandising is measured by the impact you have on your customers’ experience.

When you prepare your merchandise plan, do you remember women influence over 90% of all purchasing decisions and over 80 million baby boomers in the United States struggle with the ever-declining font size? With these retail realities, why do we continue to merchandise our products the same way we did 20 years ago? Our consumers have changed, so why is there such a resistance? The only option we have is to change or become irrelevant.