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Merchandising 101

Merchandising 101

What's the key to having a successful experience at your next show? The answer is easy-- strategically merchandising your product. Learn all the must-knows to merchandising here!

Having a great product is one thing, but knowing how to present your creations can take a brand to the next level. Enter: merchandising. So what exactly is merchandising? Good question. This concept covers everything from the assortment of products you choose to display, to how you display them. When it comes to tradeshows, merchandising makes a big difference. Convention centers normally house more than 100 brands. So standing out in the crowd is definitely a must. 


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First and foremost, you need the perfect amount of product for the allotted space. It is tempting to try to cram all of your merchandise into your space. But you want buyers to be able to easily see the product and encourage browsing. At the end of the day you only want to display the best of the best.

On the other end of the spectrum, you don't want to underutilize the space you have paid for. So think smart and find a good balance between quantity and quality. When it comes to the product you display it's really based on your best judgment-you know your designs and target customer the best. 

Let's talk variety. You want a wide range of colors, sizes, and fits available. But the product should be organized impeccably to make it easy for buyers to see the story your brand is trying to tell. When it comes to colors, product should always be organized light to dark from left to right. In general, items should be organized to encourage visitors to touch and feel the product.

When it comes to the overall visual appeal of the space you want to keep things nice and clean. If you have anything extra, hide it. Keep laptops and paperwork stored if they aren't necessary. Simplicity is your best friend. 

Dr. Doris Kincade, a Fashion Merchandising professor at Virginia Tech, suggests having an eye-catching point in the display that will attract buyers from afar. Dr. Kincade also cautions against having a booth where buyers cannot easily move around. Finally she advises creating a visual mockup so you know exactly where each product goes, making it easier for your brand to set up. "Be organized, make a plan, and pack with unpacking in mind," she suggests.

Some other tips to keep in mind - steam EVERYTHING and have a lint roller on hand. At the end of the day implementing some of these key principles can help elevate your space and increase the likelihood of buyers making orders.


Dr. Doris Kincade received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and is an Editorial Review Board Member of both the Journal of Fashion and Marketing Management and International Journal of Costume and Fashion. She is currently a professor in the Fashion Merchandising and Design Program at Virginia Tech, teaching classes such as Merchandising Strategies and Fashion Retailing Concepts.

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