Creativity on Display
By Mark Kalaygian
August 13, 2013


Last week, I read this article about creative merchandising in The New York Times. While the story centers on UrgentRx, a company that manufactures single-dose over-the-counter-medications, there is a lot that pet specialty retailers can glean from the example set by founder Jordan Eisenberg.

Apparently, Eisenberg has been able to woo all sorts of retailers—and investors—with his outside-the-box approach to product merchandising. Understanding how difficult it can be to prime placement near a retailer’s crowded checkout—real estate that his products need because of their impulse-buy nature—Eisenberg has proven quite adept at finding selling space that stores didn’t even realize they had. He achieves this primarily by utilizing custom-made merchandising displays—for example, spinner racks that attach to the top of the posts used to queue lines to the checkout.

While there are some interesting specific display ideas within the article, what pet retailers should really take away from Eisenberg’s story is the importance of utilizing every square inch of selling space they have at their disposal. This is particularly important considering today’s tough competitive climate, in which small, independent pet stores need to offer as much selection as possible, and constantly freshen up their assortments with new product introductions.

Of course, over-merchandising your checkout space can be just as problematic as under-merchandising it, so the key here is take a smart, well-organized approach—as opposed to simply cluttering up the store with products on top of products.

With that in mind, retailers should not only leverage their own merchandising acumen, but also lean on vendors and wholesalers to see if they can help provide display solutions that will work within the relatively small footprint that is a characteristic of many independent pet stores. Not only will retailers find the industry chock-full of such display options, oftentimes suppliers will offer significant discounts on product when combined with a merchandising fixture.

And here is best thing about utilizing special merchandising displays: your commitment to the products is limited. If they do not perform the way you had hoped, simply replace the display with the next potential big thing—no resets required.