Maximize profits by incorporating compact display cases into your retail space.
At a brick-and-mortar store, every square foot needs to earn its keep. That’s why many Western stores have found well-designed displays to be an ideal way to boost sales with a minimal footprint. Our experts share what makes a display work, and how to use them to increase your profits.
Going Small Works
Certain products are suited to small displays. Products such as fragrance, jewelry and eyewear are all ideal for compact displays because of their small size. But more than that, these items are the perfect last-minute purchases.
Kevin Hanks, director of sales at Tru Fragrance, a wholesale fragrance manufacturer, says perfume and cologne are timeless choices with a great sales record, averaging at least 10 times more sales per square foot than any other product.
“Our displays have some of the best sales metrics in the store,” Hanks says. “It’s three square feet of very profitable real estate. Fragrances don’t go out of style. Everyone wants to smell good. It’s low-risk—it’s not a big investment and it’s not a seasonal item. And for consumers, it’s a small luxury, even for those that are on a budget. It’s got a nice ‘gift grab’ appeal, and you don’t have to worry about sizes.”
BEX Sunglasses offers lightweight, technically advanced sunglasses for the outdoor enthusiast. Stores such as Bass Pro Shops and Cavender’s carry BEX products. President Jason Adams says the company has designed displays with a small footprint that showcase the product in a compelling way.
“Our displays appeal to the retailer because they are visually exciting in a very small amount of square footage” Adams says. “The fixture helps the consumer see the product. We feel like it’s a great final piece to control the customer acquisition process.”
Teskey’s Saddle Shop and Boutique in Weatherford, Texas, includes small displays from at least a dozen companies. Company buyer Lacy Cocanougher says displays help with branding and keeping like items together.
“Displays make it possible for a customer looking for socks or underwear or cologne to find what they’re looking for in one spot,” Cocanougher says. “For customers who truly love a product or a certain brand or style, they can just come right in and find what they’re looking for instantly. So they’re more likely to return when they know they can find it.”
Well-designed displays help boost sales due to the density of products contained and the type of items typically sold on a fixture, she adds.
“If you have the right case from the right company, it will hold far more items than if you had them laid out on a countertop or hidden them away in the middle of your store,” she says. “I think displays really help keep track of what you have and what you need, and they’re easier for customers to navigate.”
The Right Display Matters
The variety of design options employed by wholesalers makes choosing a compact display exciting. Tru Fragrance displays are either freestanding or countertop, but both take up the same amount of square footage. The metal freestanding display holds 100 bottles of fragrance. The wooden countertop display has space for 30 bottles.
“We offer header cards that we can change out by season that slide in and provide a graphic on the freestanding unit, such as men’s fragrance on one side and women’s on the other,” Hanks says.
Montana Silversmiths’ wooden display cases have become iconic within many Western retail stores. The company recently updated them with a focus on good lighting.
“We have done a complete facelift of the case,” says Judy Wagner, vice president of marketing for Montana Silversmiths. “We’ve retro – fitted it with lights all the way from the top to the bottom so that the light could infiltrate the beautiful silver at every level of the case.”
The cases hold 150 to 200 products, and position the display as a jewelry store within a Western environment. The company offers risers, shelving, satin pillows for bracelets and a bust-shaped necklace display. The options make the case easy to “freshen,” by changing the display, moving product around and adding new items.
“We like to call it clean, full and organized,” Wagner says. The flexibility also allows retailers to offer a product display that resonates with their region and customers. It’s like being able to tell a unique story with the products, she says, one that suits your store specifically.
BEX Sunglasses displays are 5 feet 9 inches tall, made of black and white metal with silver accents. Adams says the look changes about every two years, with all new fixtures.
“We utilize a lot of LED lights to backlight the products,” Adams says. “Good lighting helps to merchandise the product as best we possibly can.”
The displays illustrate the company’s commitment to innovative technology, he adds.
“The fixtures are a great way for us to express who we are as a brand,” he says. “They are also effective because it’s the closest you are to the consumer. The design is actually what helps determine who may or may not purchase a pair of BEX Sunglasses.”
A well-designed small display case makes small items stand out and easier for the customer to find.
Location Is Crucial
All of our experts said the location of the displays is important for sales. Tru Fragrance displays are located near the checkout area, or in the first third of the store as you enter.
“Fragrance is both an impulse and planned purchase, so when consumers are checking out, we try to put displays at the ‘cash wrap,’ [or the last 10 feet before they checkout] to really maximize the profit per square foot,” Hanks says. “The closer to the register, the better.”
Adams says BEX Sunglasses are usually positioned near head – wear products or in the accessories section. And the products are locked onto the fixture to reduce theft, so consumers require sales staff assistance.
“Usually the accessories are located next to the register so you don’t have to look very far to find somebody to unlock the cases,” Adams says. “It’s a natural progression: You try on a hat, you try on some sunglasses, you like them, you find the store employee and you purchase them.”
Cocanougher says small displays at Teskey’s are spread out throughout the store, but are mostly concentrated at the front of the space to reduce shoplifting. “A lot of these displays are for smaller items such as jewelry and buckles, so it’s helpful for them to have their own displays so they stand out,” she adds.
“If you have the right case from the right company, it will hold far more items than if you had them laid out on a countertop or hidden them away in the middle of your store.” – Lacy Cocanougher
Companies often offer guidelines on merchandizing the display case to maximize customer interaction.
Display Guides Boost Sales
Guidance from the wholesale company can help a retailer make the most of its display. Tru Fragrance provides a display with a qualifying order, and it includes a “planogram” for each retailer, which Hanks says is basically a cheat-sheet of how to merchandise the display.
“Top sellers and testers are at eye level,” Hanks says. “Testers are 95 percent of the sale because everybody likes to smell before they buy. And sometimes testers are located at the cash wrap.”
Montana Silversmiths offers a complimentary training guide to inform retailers about display and product features.
“We suggest that on the top shelf, they tell a story about buckles, and the silver, or maybe watches, whatever the retailer wants to feature,” Wagner says. “On the second shelf, we feature new products. On the bottom shelf, that could be clearance, or different kinds of product that can be interactive.”
Each BEX Sunglasses fixture has a printed guide stowed in the cabinet below the products, with information on each set of glasses and answers to frequently asked questions.
“This way, if the customer has any questions about the sun – glasses, the staff can answer them,” Adams says, “so the guide is a great way to help educate the consumer.”
It’s important to refresh display cases often, keeping them restocked and full, and rearranging items frequently.
Displays Need Attention
Hanks advises retailers to replenish inventory often for maximum sales opportunities. “Keep your display full,” Hanks says. “It’s hard to sell off of an empty or half-empty wagon. Keep it stocked.”
The sales staff needs to be trained about the display products, he adds: “I think the biggest single success of selling fragrance is an educated store associate.”
Judy Wagner says a great benefit for retailers of Montana Silversmiths is the customization available. “Along with visual merchandising that we have for our cases, we have 1,200 different SKUs,” he says. “Retailers can also offer custom products that can become special gifts or promotional items for businesses.”
According to Wagner, the goal of a display is to make products look their best, because visual merchandising is extremely important.
“Whatever brings out the best elements of the designs of your product, that’s what you want for merchandising,” he says. “And you want to keep it fresh and have people look at it differently. How can you appeal to your customer? Even a small rotation can give the product a new appeal that would attract the customer.”
Meet The Sources
Tru Fragrance is a perfume and cologne wholesale manufacturer that supplies to more than 2,000 stores, such as Charming Charlie’s and The Buckle, as well as Western lifestyle companies such as Cavender’s, Luskey’s and Teskey’s. Tru Fragrance has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and New York, New York, along with several satellite offices. In business for 45 years, the company has a number of fragrances, including PBR 8 Seconds, Cowboy Cologne, Pink Camo, and Southern Soul and Lace.
Montana Silversmiths was founded in 1973, and today it is the nation’s largest manufacturer of Western belt buckles, watches and jewelry. Located in Columbus, Montana, the company sells products nationwide. Montana Silversmiths has provided trophy buckles for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Professional Bull Riders, Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and National Reining Horse Association, among others.
BEX Sunglasses began in 2009 making lightweight polarized sunglasses for the active outdoor lifestyle. President Jason Adams was an NFR-qualifying team roper, so the crossover to distribution in Western lifestyle stores for the wholesale company was a natural fit. Today, the company offers apparel and baseball caps as well as its signature sunglasses in more than 900 retail locations.
Teskey’s Saddle Shop, located in Weatherford, Texas, offers more than 1,000 saddles, a complete line of tack including hundreds of bits, farm equipment and equine supplies. Its “Bootique” carries boots, clothing and accessories. With 80,000 square feet of retail space, the store is a one-stop shop for horse people.
Story by ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT
Photos by: ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT and CHRISTINE HAMILTON
(Originally published in Western Lifestyle Retailer Spring 2017 issue.)