What is Cross Merchandising? Tips to Ace Cross Merchandising in Today's Retail World

What is Cross Merchandising? Tips to Ace Cross Merchandising in Today's Retail World

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While returning from shopping in a mall, ever wondered what makes someone buy extra items than they had already decided? They may have gone to try out a t-shirt but ended up purchasing perhaps a pair of jeans or a cap or even a jacket.

The extra items in the shopping bag are a brilliant display of similar products bundled together to help the customer envision the experience of buying related products together. What they have witnessed and experienced is the power of cross-merchandising. Read on to know why you need to understand merchandising.

What is cross-merchandising?

Cross-merchandising refers to the strategy of displaying complementary products next to each other. This creates a perfect vision of how and with what the product should be used. Cross merchandising or brand merchandising makes the shopping experience more intimate and convenient for the customers and may inspire them to purchase additional items they need. It plants a seed in the customers' minds to look out for other products, which will make the purchase more meaningful and effective.

Examples of cross-merchandising

A few examples of cross-merchandising are listed below:

  • Thematic decoration of part of a store
    • The Back to school section contains shoes, bags, stationery, lunch boxes, bottles, etc., to remind them of the items required and create the desire to purchase all such things together.
    • Summer/Winter themes---shirts/t-shirts are complemented with sunglasses, hats, jackets, trousers/shorts, jewellery, and even shoes.
    • Some retail stores may also club dresses with handbags and cosmetics.
  • Home Stores

Showcasing bedding alongside relevant home decor and furniture for a specific room of the house, creating the perfect ambiance and cosiness to the house.

  • Grocery Stores
    • Grocery stores are the most common users of cross merchandising. Customers often find ingredients used to make a delicious dish clubbed together within an arm's length of each other. They will also find complimentary food products somewhere nearby.
  • Stationery Stores
    • Pens and pencils are placed along with the notebooks, wrapping paper is near the birthday cards, while impulse items like chocolates, small notepads, etc., are placed at the counter.

Benefits of cross-merchandising

Benefits of cross-merchandising
  • Promotion – Brand merchandising is a great way to introduce customers to new products. It is also a standard method used to let the customers know of the retail store's different product ranges. The new products are placed surrounded by the core products of the store to ensure customers notice them and look for a purchase.
  • Attract new customers – A good and thoughtful display of the products through meaningful bundling is an easy way to attract new customers. With the curiosity of looking at the visual presentation, customers can be intrigued and nudged towards a first-time buy from the store.
  • Save customer time – Another effective display of the products is to ensure customers are guided towards their purchase and can select from the offering in the section to finish the shopping. Finding complementary items without searching the entire store makes life easier for the customers and saves their energy.
  • Promote customer loyalty – Superior customer experience through cross-merchandising can ensure customers continuously return to purchase from the store. When the customers can fulfil their requirements at their convenience while saving their energy, they value the store and are on the way to becoming loyal customers.
  • Increase sales revenue – Sales revenue is the underlying agenda of cross-merchandising. Products that the customers were not noticing can be brought into focus through this technique. Awareness about the products that the customers did not realise can come in handy, and their current purchase will primarily result in higher revenues for the business.

Tips to ace cross-merchandising

Tips to ace cross-merchandising
  • Proper research and analysis – The first step towards effective brand merchandising is, understanding the customers' needs and what products they like the most from the store. Sales data such as type of product being purchased, quantities of the products, and whether the item is on sale or not are a few areas that should be considered before going any further in creating the in-shop experience for the customers.
  • Product placement – Plan the store layout and displays to maximise sales. A smart and thoughtful store layout can help display merchandise to ensure a clear display of the products to the customers.
  • Know the customer – While designing the visual display, the customer needs should be considered. If the arrangement does not interest or entice the customer, they will ignore the section and move on to a different one. This strategy may fail, and a new one may need to be devised. Each customer persona is different, and their purchasing pattern differs from everyone. Finding a fundamental pattern in product purchase will help put other products together to increase customer experience by reducing the time required for shopping for separate items.
  • The arrangement should make logical sense – While the visual display is essential, it would be a waste of space if the brand merchandising arrangement does not make logical sense. If the store does not get the arrangement right, customers would be disengaged from it and would not want to look at the products on display. If there is no logical link between the products, the customer will not understand the rationale or the logic and would not be interested in purchasing the products.
  • Tell a story with products – Create stories with cross merchandising to provoke customer interest in the story. Brand merchandising products that solve a problem or stimulate ideas through such stories will fascinate the customer and push them towards a purchase. If the story does not make sense to the customers, the products at the display for cross-merchandising may not increase sales or revenue.
  • The thematic arrangement of items - Thematic arrangement of objects along the store makes it easier for the customer to focus on the right section of the store and get the purchase immediately. Grouping items in such themes increases customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Introduction to new products and demos – This involves the creation of demo stations at various store sections for tasting newly launched food products or trying out new cosmetic products. These stations can be decorated with products of different varieties for the customers to notice and observe while they try out the food or the cosmetic product.
  • Pair slow-moving products with popular products – Pairing the slow-moving products with popular products which also move quickly can help boost sales. Customers may be tempted to look at the slow-moving products while going to purchase a popular product.
  • Display underperforming products at different areas – A constant reminder of the existence of a product at multiple sections may increase customer attention to the product. Customers may realise the need for the product, which will support a boost to the store sales.
  • Track performance of sections used for brand merchandising – The motive behind brand merchandising is to boost sales and revenue. Sales and revenue generated from the sections focused on cross merchandising should be tracked. If cross merchandising is not increasing sales and revenue, the strategy needs to be modified.
  • Place impulse items at strategic areas – Products often purchased without much consideration are impulse items. These items are placed near the counter, exits, entrances, etc., for the customer to notice. This type of cross-merchandising does not necessarily need related products to be put together. For example, an assortment of candies, cigarette lighters, magazines, and chocolates can be placed at the checkout counter for people to notice and purchase.
  • Avoid clutter for a clear visual message – A clear visual message, by avoiding cross-merchandising, can be translated into pushing the sales and the revenue a little higher. The use of mannequins, dummies, hangers, and other display methods will help increase sales for the related brand merchandising.
  • Pricing can play a vital role – Bundling two different products together and offering them for a single price may have a psychological effect on the customers. The customers believe they are getting a bargain while purchasing the products, resulting in higher engagement.
  • Place items at eye level – According to research, shoppers start looking at the shelf at eye level, work left to right, and make their purchasing decision in fewer than eight seconds. Buyers are highly influenced by their environment. This means how prominently a product is displayed will affect how well it is noticed.
Tips to ace cross-merchandising


Cross merchandising is a brilliant way of boosting sales and revenue. Its application at a store requires a lot of thought and planning before implementation. Cross-merchandising is best done when it increases the value and adds convenience to the shoppers' shopping experience. For more information on cross-merchandising, visit the Fashinza website. Production platforms efficiently source products, and the service provider takes care of everything, thereby saving your effort and time. Production platforms like Fashinza offer complete transparency in providing details of merchandising and one can check for the free demo available on this platform.


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