From advice for sprucing up old store hardware to guidance on training top-notch staff, retailers got schooled in the latest tips for merchandising personal care in Fridayâs seminar âMerchandising Personal Care Products.â
âOne of the biggest problems [for natural personal care] is people donât know our brands,â said Cheryl Bottger, an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience including managing, training, buying and new-store development. âWeâve got to build brand identity, and good merchandising will do that.â
Jon Fiume, vice president of retail operations and natural products at Ritzman Natural Health Pharmacy in Akron, Ohio, analyzed the merchandising techniques of retail chains Aveda, Sephora and Origins, drawing out ideas that are applicable to the naturals channel, from display height to staff appearance.
âSteal an idea and make it your own,â said Cheryl Hughes, owner of The Whole Wheatery in Lancaster, Calif. For example, donât just give out samples, she said. Put the product on the shoppersâ skin, the way salespeople in department stores do. âWeâre moving in on their territory,â she said.
One of the keys to successful personal care sales, Bottger and Hughes agreed, is to be comfortable with your knowledge of your products, so you know exactly what to say about them to customers and feel confident in recommending them.
But when it comes down to making the sale, Bottger said, often the most important thing to do is just listen. âYou can kill a sale by not listening to a customer,â she said. Her advice: Donât ask: âHow may I help you?â Instead, ask: âWhat can I help you find?â Or, âWhat product are you using now?â These specific questions are much more likely to turn into a conversationâand, ultimately, a sale, Bottger said. And before she dismissed the audience, she led the more than 80 voices in the mantra âI will never, ever say, âHow may I help you.ââ
Natural Foods Merchandiser