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Merchandising is the process of presenting and promoting retail goods for sale. It involves nonverbal tactics that retailers use instore to promote pr
Passione Gourmet Deli showing its merchandising
© International Culinary Studio

Merchandising is the process of presenting and promoting retail goods for sale. It involves nonverbal tactics that retailers use instore to promote product sales. Retailers use effective store layout to increase sales, choosing the best products that customers want, arranging them attractively and pricing them competitively.

Visual merchandising

Visual merchandising is the art of displaying products you sell in such a way that it stimulates interest and a buzz and entices customers to make a purchase.

Do not cram the shelves. The first rule of thumb of food merchandising is to treat every item with the utmost care, be it a sandwich, a pastry, or a doughnut. Do not pile, stack, or cram your products onto a shelf. Not only is this visually unappealing, but you are damaging your products as well. Make sure your shelves and display cases are well-stocked, all the labels are facing the same direction and colours are organized so that same-coloured products are never side by side.

Display to sell. Wherever space is available, display abundant, fresh, vibrant and colourful products to create excitement. Vary the height and depth of your displays by using innovative and relevant risers, boxes, and pedestals. Make your products highly visible from every possible angle. When creating your displays, use products that have a wide range of colours, contrasts and textures. The need for a fresh appearance is key, as ‘fresh’ and ‘clean’ are words that are synonymous with good eating.

Cross-merchandising products is an excellent opportunity to upsell by placing the right foods together. Soups, sandwiches, and potato chips should be placed in the same area, while coffee and tea should be served right next to desserts. Place bananas next to cereal, or fresh fruits next to yoghurt. Place bacon next to eggs and bread. You want to encourage your customers to buy items that would help them create an entire meal, as opposed to just one or two of the things on their list.

All signage should be consistent in size, layout, and typeface, and should complement your image and brand. Use signs to give your customers the information they want to know but might be too shy or busy to ask. List the ingredients you use, or the unique way in which it was made. Always make sure every item is priced appropriately so there are no surprises when your customer is ready to pay.

Use colourful point-of-purchase materials such as posters, brochures, pamphlets, shelf talkers, bags, and recipe ideas to dress up your walls and shelves. Take advantage of free supplier and association merchandising programs that offer promotions such as door prizes and in-store drawings, etc., to focus on certain food products you would like to sell. Change it once a week.

Offer free samples! Giving customers a chance to taste your products and opportunities to ask questions is the best way to realize a sale. Sampling also gives your staff an opportunity to educate customers. It is the best merchandising tool a store has available.

Use good lighting. People are extremely sensitive to the colour and appearance of food and their surroundings. Use a combination of natural light and several types of lighting like spotlights to direct your customers’ eyes towards certain food areas and to spotlight signature items, as well as make the colours come out. For example, the use of full spectrum lighting makes the colour of fruits and vegetables much more vibrant.


If you are going to display your product (be it at a market, deli, or on a buffet), consider how are you going to display your product. What do you need to think of when you display your product for example temperature, position?

© International Culinary Studio
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