Merchandising – Academy in Action

In part one of a 12-week programme, the IAA – and its category partner Mars Wrigley Confectionery – helps retailer Wendy Knight improve her in-store merchandising

In part one of a 12-week programme, the IAA – and its category partner Mars Wrigley Confectionery – helps retailer Wendy Knight improve her in-store merchandising.

At the start of our week-by-week guide to improving your business with the IAA, our first area of focus is merchandising.

A great approach to merchandising can draw customers into your shop, influence purchasing decisions and make your business easier to shop.

Before completing the benchmarks for your shop, find out how category partner Mars Wrigley Confectionery has helped Wendy and Steve Knight develop an action plan based on the IAA benchmarking criteria to improve their business.

The couple’s 700 sq ft Premier Knights Convenience in Gosport, near Portsmouth, transformed from a news and mags specialist to a convenience operation three years ago and focuses on cakes and biscuits, food to go and confectionery. How can the IAA help them improve?

Why I take part

Wendy Knight says: "Developing our merchandising, by working with the IAA and Mars Wrigley Confectionery, will hopefully mean we can get our core range right, while also putting our big deals in positions that attract the people who come and dock in the marina and spend more in the summer. It’s great to have an expert in who can give us some new ideas."

IAA Advice for Wendy


1. Wendy’s challenge: ensuring the shop’s pricing strategy is consistent

Most of the year, Wendy’s shop caters for customers on a budget. In summer, however, the nearby marina fills with boats, bringing in more affluent customers. How can Wendy capitalise without alienating her regular trade?

Sean says: “Think about the key opportunities in the seasonal calendar so you’re ready for each one. As soon as one event ends – or maybe even a week before – start planning the next one. In summer, add premium products into the most visible areas while keeping a core range for locals. You’ve got the display areas – it’s just about maximising them.”

Action: Start planning for future opportunities such as Easter and the arrival of summer tourists.


2. Wendy’s challenge: Arranging products to guide purchasing decisions

Wendy uses her till to quickly sell through discounted slow sellers. She also uses PoS from a number of suppliers to fill her counter top. But is she presenting her shop in the right way?

Sean says: “Don’t try to quick-sell short-dated products at the till. It can confuse customers and gives a negative, untidy impression. If the front of the shop looks good and professional, it will draw people in. There’s also a half-filled confectionery stand in a prime position. If it isn’t selling, remove it – if it is, keep it fully stocked.”

Action: Remove slow-selling products from the counter and only use PoS if you are going to keep it fully stocked.


3. Wendy’s challenge: Reviewing, researching and improving the shop’s merchandising

Wendy’s shop is filled with opportunities to transform shoppers’ in-store experience and increase sales, but finding the time to develop these and then implement them is challenging. How do you build a plan for success?

Sean says: “Wendy and Steve should walk the shop every day as if they were customers. There can be a risk of complacency when running a business and using fresh eyes can identify opportunities. Using their son Matt’s computing skills they will also be able to bring in EPoS data to this discussion and they should hold monthly meetings to share their ideas.”

Action: Walk your shop as your customers would once a day and organise a monthly team meeting to share ideas.

Partner advice


Sean Thacker, Field Sales Representative, Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK Ltd

“Getting merchandising right means being flexible, looking professional and adapting your shop to customers’ needs. Wendy and Steve run a fantastic shop and have done a great job in getting the basics in place but there are opportunities to improve.”

To find out how Wendy got on since this visit and the results they’ve seen, click here.

Create your own shop report

Call us on 020 7689 0500 to see how you can take part in a future visit. Visit /iaa/benchmark-your-store to create your own shop report.


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