At Match Retail, merchandising is our “thing”. We have created efficiencies in the way we work, and we are passionate about what we do. We get in and out with minimal customer interference and strong brand presence and the best part is, we simply love what we do!
This month we had a chance to sit down with Dahlia Chiesurin, Director of Client Services and Operations to give us some insights into the evolving world of merchandising from past, present and future and how she feels it has evolved and where it’s going!
So, what is merchandising?
Known as the final step in retail projects, merchandisers like to think of themselves as the little fairies working behind the scenes to create the magic on shelf. It may not always be the most glamourous, but the end result is beauty and brand presence day in and day out through consistent executional excellence and attention to detail! Merchandising has certainly evolved over the past 15 years and we are proud to have been there for it, contributing to the evolution.
“Merchandisers are the little fairies that work behind the scenes to create magic”
Driven by aggressive KPIs, it can make or break a marketing campaign, it supports the billboards, creates appeal of a given product at store level and ultimately represents the company and brand. Merchandising can often be overlooked however it is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign, product launch and new collection, with its high traffic visibility, rapid deployment of infield resources and quality control we understand what it takes to make sure brands are the forefront of the customer in the retail landscape.
How has it evolved?
One may think that merchandising is viewed as a basic task that may not require change or cannot be improved, but when we look back over the past 15 years the evolution of merchandising has far surpassed this idea through its identification as the crucial final step in a marketing campaign.
“We went from hardly any in-store visibility to live updates accessible anytime, anywhere making it easier to communicate with teams and clients!”
Merchandising consists of many touch points both before and after execution and over the past 15 years our teams have certainly seen these changes evolve in many ways that have helped with both communication and efficiency for merchandisers and clients. When we think of technology changes, we see that programs, phones and data capture have come such a long way making it a pivotal moment for merchandisers. From capturing images on a phone to online live digital visibility of executions we have seen such great change that has helped drive speed and accuracy in the work at retail. Technology advancements have allowed us to create live tracking documents that are available anytime from all locations, including remote locations which allows us to pivot quickly. Reporting results and KPI compliance has become more insightful for clients, allowing for immediate knowledge of the field execution. Our merchandisers are the eyes and ears. Even client briefs and communication have evolved from mail and print to digital and online portal communication and tracking, allowing for faster approvals.
What’s to come?
Looking ahead with artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) we see it as a game changer in merchandising through the use of interactive planograms on tablets. These planograms allow customers to visually see each tray component and product sequence for a more virtual and interactive instore experience. Damaged components can be ordered directly on the planogram and are reported directly to client for ordering. Corrective planograms can now be uploaded immediately, allow for replacements to limit any errors and drive speed accurately.
“Allowing consumers to test out products virtually has created a whole new experience that’s provided them an opportunity to adapt to a new way of trying out products”
A virtual and interactive world has already started and with the technology behind augmented reality (AR) programing providing brands the resources to bring customers a virtual “trying” experience in the comfort of their own homes or instore with the click of a button.
Evolution and experience have guided merchandisers to understand what it takes to make sure brands are at the forefront of customers in the retail landscape in effective and efficient ways. Brands need to be Retail Ready for the consumer shopping experience and to drive sales. Our merchandisers are passionate to make it happen!