Why Merchandising Matters for Suppliers

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Digital retail, Merchandising, Omnichannel, Suppliers

To succeed in retail, companies need focus, market position, and a strategy to win customers and move products. That’s the importance of merchandising in a nutshell.

Retail merchandisers think of themselves as curators at a museum. A curator doesn’t just amass a collection of endless art and artifacts and stick them on the wall in a hodgepodge manner. They look for certain themes and commonalities and create a collection that will showcase each item, drawing attention to each one’s unique qualities and maximizing the potential for visitors to enjoy what they see. They also do what they can to drive more people to want to see the exhibit in the first place, and hopefully, bring home a few things from the gift shop. 

Why merchandising requires data and collaboration

Now that we’ve covered why merchandising matters to retailers, how can you as a supplier help your retail customers merchandise your products?

Using shared data to collaborate is essential. Here are three strategies that can help both you and your retail customers succeed.

1. Provide detailed, accurate and timely product data

Retailers rely on their suppliers to provide detailed data about their products so they can optimize their merchandising strategies. Product data helps retailers showcase your items on the shelf and on-line. The right product data also ensures consumers will see your product in the first place – hence, the importance of merchandising.

What types of item data are most important for your merchandising strategy?

Product descriptions

  • Product descriptions make it easy for your buying team to categorize and sell your product. A clear and accurate product description will attract customers through search engine optimization (SEO), and make it easy for your buying team to understand the key selling features of your product. Also, your product description supports your brand voice across different regions or markets.


  • Images are critical for merchandising your product, particularly in the digital age. Brand-specific images of your product in action are often the most impactful.

Physical details

  • The physical attributes of your product, such as dimensions and weight, are critical for merchandising. First, they will allow your buyer to understand if they have shelf space for the product, and where it fits in their planogram. The dimensions will also allow your buyer to understand potential warehousing and shipping costs.


2. Make proactive recommendations using sales and inventory data

In addition to item data, sales and inventory data can also make a big difference in merchandising effectiveness. Some retailers share this data informally through methods like spreadsheets, while others use more formal methods like buyer reports and portals.

This data is critical for partnering with your buyer to optimize your assortment. Sales and inventory data give you insights into what products have sold well and which products haven’t. You can use this data to make recommendations to your buyers about replacing slow-moving products with better-selling items. Also, you can analyze sales trends in specific geographies, plan new product introductions and improve the effectiveness of promotions. Often when looking at this data, the importance of merchandising becomes even more clear.

3. Help your buyer sell smarter

Ultimately, helping your buyers merchandise your products effectively is all about your relationship. Because your products are sold by multiple retailers, you have competitive insights that are valuable to your buyer. Demonstrate your category knowledge and make your buyer’s life easier by being a proactive partner. 

Study your retailers’ merchandising strategies to ensure your products stand out. Offer data-backed recommendations proving that you’ve done your homework. By doing so, you can optimize selling opportunities for all parties.

Why merchandising relies on having the right data

Successful suppliers understand why merchandising is so important to their buyers.

Assortment and Analytics solutions from SPS Commerce can help you enhance the merchandising of your products by making your buyer’s life easier and your products more sellable. Contact us today for a free demo or to talk with a retail expert.

Nick Schwalbach
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