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Spring 2010 Hot Spots

Did you know that every RMU has a “hot” (high-volume) sales area and a “cold” one? Figuring out where yours are—and merchandising accordingly—will increase your sell-through.

Every RMU, cart or kiosk has hot (high-volume sales) and cold locations. These locations vary for each depending on where and how the RMU is situated with respect to the primary flow of traffic. For example, if an RMU’s long side were parallel to a large department store, the traffic from the store would see this side first making it the “hot” area. End caps would be colder.

On the other hand, if the long side were perpendicular to the front of the department store, it would be the end cap facing the store that would be the hottest part of the RMU.
Within each of these hot and cold areas are additional hot spots. The area at eye level is always the hottest with those on the floor being the coldest.

Keeping these principles in mind, consider merchandising and re-merchandising your RMU frequently to increase profits. The first time around, you can organize merchandise by item, theme, usage, or lifestyle. When merchandise in a hot area sells down, it’s time to transfer products from the colder areas to it. These neglected products will look “new” and have a better sell-through.

This project—which involved merchandising an NFL products RMU (NFL Goodies)—shows how to change presentation frequently to maximize profits. Note how this example underscores the importance of also paying attention to the sales season.

The right end cap of the RMU is the “hot” area. Here’s where colorful (and expensive) team scarves were placed at eye level. To the left of the scarves (also at eye level but on the long side of the RMU) were the less expensive, colorful team gloves. These could be add-on sales. Team shirts and mugs occupy areas below eye level.

Customers coming in through the mall entrance spot merchandise along the length of the RMU. The potential for distraction makes this the second hot area of the RMU—not the first. Here smaller items such as pens, toothbrushes, key chains and more are merchandised with larger attention-getting merchandise such as team hats, flags, and lunch bags.

The left endcap of the RMU is the cold area. Here, higher priced merchandise (steering wheel and seat covers) and holiday gifts were displayed. These items shifted from the cold-selling area to the hot as it got closer to the holidays.

After the holidays, these pictures show what the RMU looked like closer to Super Bowl season. T-shirts merchandised on a shelf running around the perimeter tied the RMU in together as a whole.

On the right end cap (the hot area) the balance of the ready-to-wear (jackets, gloves, slippers, T-shirts and scarves) was re-merchandised according to team. On the right long wall of the RMU at eye level, the baby shoes and bibs were merchandised.

After the holidays, a lot of the smaller “add-on” merchandise was left. These pens, holiday ornaments, key chains, and playing cards were combined and displayed in the thermal mugs. They were then re-merchandised as “hostess gifts” in the middle section (warm) of the RMU.

The left side of the RMU (cold selling area) was merchandised with car accessories. The location for the merchandise was determined by size and brightness, the darker steering wheel covers were placed at the bottom of the RMU and the brighter decals and flags were at eye level to attract the customer’s eye. Older holiday merchandise was saved for the very end, the coldest left end cap.

Alex Laird

Alex Laird is a visual merchandiser and creative retail consultant with extensive experience assisting retailers design innovative retail displays

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