Innovation Combats "Me-Too" Merchandising

By Steve Di Orio
Posted in Store Management
On August 05, 2011

What sets you apart from your competition? Why does one retailer sell the same product quicker than another? Every store owner shares an equal opportunity to purchase the same products from the wholesaler or manufacturer. Therefore, the retail displays and fixtures in your store heavily counts towards making sales. Your profit will increase if the store is designed with efficient product presentation, ease of selection, and making purchases seem rewarding for customers. Many retailers are confused on where to begin, and result to copying their competitors, also known as "me-too merchandising."  

Me-Too Merchandising

“Any fool can give away merchandise, but it takes a merchant to sell it.” This comment was heard years ago when a retailer explained how he feels about his store and the prices selected for his products. 

Retailing is not just seen as an art, but also a science. Consumers don't buy a product just because of the price, they buy because of the experience. To get the retail experience right and produce results, you will have to learn which colors make packaging more attractive, how high to price products, the layout of the store, etc. During this process, it is common to feel uneasy about competition and believe other stores look better. So you subconsciously begin to play the me-too-merchandising game, which means you copy the tactics and retailing strategies of your competition.

The irony behind me-too merchandising is that stores are always playing catch-up. By the time the followers catch up to the leaders, the leaders are implementing new and better strategies. Consumers only see the results of the retail displays and fixtures, product selection, store layout and design, and merchandising. Unfortunately, the results don’t show how the pieces of the puzzle were put together and the thinking that occurred during the planning process.

Bottom Line

Do not play me-too merchandising with your competition. You store needs to be unique with its own goals, strategies, and results. This cannot be achieved by copying another store's formula. Once you have strategized what your store can be, you can then begin to plan your retail displays and fixtures, store design and product selection to increase your profits effectively.

There are many recent changes being made in the retail industry. Many merchants have forgotten basic retailing principles and take the easy way out by copying other stores. They ask for help to make their store "like the other guy's store." While this can be done, why would they want their store to be in the shadow of their competition instead of being unique? Retailers who want to copy cannot back up their proposed method with research, and figure if the competition is making a profit from the strategy then they can too. 

Retailers who view retail displays and fixtures or gondola shelving merely as shelves on which to place goods to sell, will receive just that in return—a plain, non-selling shelf. Conversely, if retailers look at store fixtures as a means of increasing sales by properly displaying merchandise to ease product selection for the consumer and provide a positive experience, then that’s exactly what the right retail store shelves will do.

Continuously evaluate merchandising decisions from your point of view. Ask your customers for input, and begin creating your own improved retail environment using creative retail displays and fixtures. We can all be successful and we can all be good innovators if we want to be, provided we remember that me-too merchandising will never work out in our favor

Steve Di Orio

Steve Di Orio

Steven DiOrio has been with Handy Store Fixtures for over 11 years. After becoming the Marketing Manager in 2006, he was named Director of Marketing. Steven earned his MBA from Montclair State University with a specialization in Digital Marketing in 2019. When not at work, he loves to travel, play golf, exercise, and talk all things search engine marketing and retail display tips.