The perfect retail employee: works hard, for free!

Here is some research that brings some really bad news. But I will also give you some good news. (The research has been conducted by him! research and consulting.)

Three categories (lotteries, magazines and newspapers) are in 76% of shopping baskets. 
Average visit frequency is 1.6 (with the lottery shopper at 1.9 times, the real figure is worse) and this is well below the other convenience channels 
Average items purchased = 1.75 with almost 60% buying one item only. 
81% of shoppers were not aware of any promotional messages 

Each of these messages is bad news. The good news is: it can be fixed. Read on. 


Is this employee not your favourite employee too? Meet the silent salesman that works (maybe) at every newsagent for free:
Mr Merchandise.

In some newsagencies, Mr Merchandise sits around all day. Are you putting him to work in your business?

Here is one simple strategy that you can use to put Mr Merchandise to work:
Cross Merchandise.

That is; put associated and related products together. There are 3 types of cross merchandising that you may apply.

1. Inter-category: Associated product with some of your core products.

Example: Ribbons with gift bags

2. Intra-category: Related products paired within a category, usually slower sellers or new sellers with your hot items.

Example: The belts with the dresses

3. Trade partners: Introducing an item that is NOT usually carried with one of your core sellers.

Example: Accessories from the local Jeweller with your Bag.


Of course you know all that, right? But with thousands of possible combinations, do you exploit them all - consistently? Probably not.

The list is too long for me to generate one here, so here is better idea: Make a template for your staff to generate ideas of products that can be paired together as cross merchandising opportunities.


In this image you can see how I used a matrix to pair products. It would be impossible to list the thousands of SKUs, but identify the key categories as follows: 


List the core products that sell well week in and week out. Then identify the range of products that:

  • you want to promote
  • have high margins but don't sell well
  • are new
  • don't sell well and are 'last chance'
  • special offers (buy-in or tie-in stock including consignment)

Mix them up and list them along the X and the Y axes on your template. Evaluate every cell.

TIP: Do several of them and allocate one to every staff member and ask them for their ideas and views. You may just be surprised.)