As you ramp up your taproom merch store to be stocked with the brand’s fall apparel lines or opening the store doors for the first time, consider these visual merchandising tips.
As the online commerce experts over at Shopify like to say, “Essentially, your retail space has to be your most productive and most efficient salesperson, and visual merchandising employs the art of optimizing your retail store and product displays for maximum revenue.”
1. Pick a highly trafficked area to set up shop
Lots of times when we visit taprooms, merchandise is tucked away in a corner. We have to look for it because there is a lack of signage to the shop or minimal indication it’s there at all. This means your customers have to look for it, too.
Don’t be that taproom.
2. Be strategic
Don’t just pile t-shirts in a stack near the bar and call it a day. Carefully map out your strategic objectives with a merch shop.
Think about what goals you are looking to achieve. Think about new customer acquisition, customer retention, capitalizing on foot traffic, building brand awareness, and opening up new opportunities for revenue.
Keeping your goals aligned with the logistical set up will help you stay focused and set things up in a way that works to achieve them.
4. Create an ambiance
Invest in good lighting to make the shop feel welcoming, warm, and inviting. When set up thoughtfully, the right lighting can help encourage sales and greatly contribute to the overall brand experience.
Ditch the white fluorescents and consider setting up lights both in horizontal settings like the inside wall of a shelf and vertical ceiling illumination. Judge how much daylight the area gets and how that influences the layout of the lighting you’re seeking — it can help determine the right brightness level for your space.
Test out different temperatures of light by seeing the differences between LED lights, incandescents, soft white, warm light, bright white, cool light, etc.
5. Create and foster a smooth check out experience
We’ve all had bad check out experiences both when we are shopping at a store in person or online. It’s frustrating when things don’t go smoothly. Sometimes so frustrating, you abandon the cart, so to speak, and forgo making the purchase.
Not only is that a sure-fire way to create a negative memorable experience, but welcomes bad commentary on review sites and word-of-mouth, plus risks damaging customer retention.
Make checking out at your store smooth, simple, and maybe even a little fun. Don’t have people waiting in line for a long time and make it convenient to pay by offering multiple payment methods and options.
If you can only accept cash, for example, make that well-known to your customers before they are staring at you blankly at the register. Signage at the entrance and around the store can help a lot here.
Also, take advantage of this face-to-face opportunity to get to know your customer better.
Maybe you have a newsletter that they can subscribe to, this would be a good time to ask for an email address.
Or maybe there is an upcoming brewery event you are promoting, telling them about the event at check out will keep them engaged during the process as well as leaving with something to act on later.
6. On brand displays that are frequently updated
Not only should a product display be on brand but its main objective is to convert the buyer to make a purchase. Keep the displayed items fresh and new, as not to risk returning customers becoming unengaged.
Choose limited edition items to display or sales items or a display created specifically to promote a brand event. Often, if a taproom has a nice public-facing window, displays are set up there to attract customers in.
Well done displays also are a key ingredient for crafting an unforgettable experience. They can be immersive and tap into your customer's complete line-up of senses. Think about how to craft a display that appeases not only the eyes with an aesthetically pleasing set up, but the other senses such as touch, sound, and even taste by incorporating a new brew to try.
By combining new and age-old experiential tactics to your displays, the store in your taproom will be buzzing as much as the kegs are.