When customers visit That Shore Store in Wildwood, New Jersey, many are drawn to a display in the corner of the shop. An old mail sorting cabinet from the U.S. Postal Service holds mugs and greeting cards. That Shore Store Owner Irene Farrelly also placed a cozy chair stuffed with pillows and blankets next to the display to make customers feel at home.
“It generates a lot of conversation,” she says of the display. “Maybe I wouldn’t come here to buy a mug, but now I’m staring at the mugs because of this piece.”
Eye-catching displays such as this one can help seaside retailers sell add-on items in the store, impulse buys that can boost revenue.
Kathy Cruz, co-founder of The Salvaged Boutique in Lakewood, Ohio, and founder of the Savvy Shopkeeper consultancy, says coastal retailers should carefully craft add-on displays in their stores. Creating strong add-on displays requires some time, but many can be implemented immediately and on a small budget, she says. She offers retailers six ideas for revamping add-on displays in their shops.
1. Add dimension.
“Sometimes raising displays above to eye level helps,” she says. “Even if it’s small risers or using upcycled items like a crate to raise things up to a person’s eye level, improving displays aesthetically like that could benefit for add-on sales.”
“We use barrels and line them up and wooden containers that balance and make for a real, vintage, old-fashioned feel — a country-store feel that is appealing.” — Jane Frost, Granite Hall Store
Granite Hall Store in Round Pond, Maine, offers a wide variety of gifts to customers visiting the store — T-shirts, coastal-themed home decor, kitchen items as well as candy and toys for kids. Jane Frost, a store manager at Granite Hall, says she ensures her displays match the old-timey feel of the store.
“We use barrels and line them up and wooden containers that balance and make for a real, vintage, old-fashioned feel — a country-store feel that is appealing,” she says.
When Farrelly opened That Shore Store, she decided to use items from home to hold displays as a way to give the store character. She notes that the old mail sorting cabinet display is particularly special to her.
When she grew up, her parents displayed the old mail sorting cabinet in their basement, and she was often mesmerized by that cabinet as a young girl. In addition to the cabinet, she brought in her beloved upside-down Christmas tree to stock holiday decor. “I really try to incorporate displays that were not what you would see when you went into any other store,” Farrelly says. “I love the fact that I brought in stuff from my own personal life to tell people a story.”
2. Group items that complement each other.
At That Shore Store, Farrelly has a “rainy-day station” display that showcases add-on items that customers might want to buy on a gloomier day on the island — puzzles, games, paint by number and nail polish kits.
3. Simple signage.
Cruz’s shop in Lakewood sells home decor and gifts, with a focus on helping customers refurbish their vintage finds. The shop also sells furniture paint for refurbishing projects.
“Just because we know how to refurbish a bathroom cabinet doesn’t mean everyone knows,” she says. “We make a checklist that customers can grab and quickly see all things they need to work on that project.”
Cruz says she usually places that checklist within an add-on display in the store. She notes that coastal retailers can have similar informational signage at their displays: Make a beach bag checklist, listing five or six items that customers absolutely must have for the perfect beach bag, and sell those items around the display.
4. Create a bundle.
5. Regularly refresh displays.
Cruz says the frequency of loyal customers can help a retailer to determine how often to change add-on displays.
“So many store owners have a lot of mindset roadblocks around pricing. They feel like if the customer is going to buy four items instead of one, the customer expects to have a discount. That’s not the case.” — Kathy Cruz, The Salvaged Boutique and Savvy Shopkeeper
She says, “In my store, we have loyal customers who come in at least every two weeks. For me, that determines the frequency of changing my displays. It doesn’t mean every display has to be redone every two weeks. But for me, every month, I move at least two displays or refresh them.”
Farrelly enjoys rearranging her shop displays often enough that regulars are happily surprised with the new layout.
“I change it a lot,” Farrelly says. “I’m Type A. I clean off a table and say, ‘Hmm … this would go better over here.’ I promote a sense that things are always changing.”
6. Capitalize on the cash wrap.
For Granite Hall, Frost keeps a limit of just featuring one add-on item at the cash wrap.
“This store is a little different,” she says, explaining that the store features a lot of penny candy near the register that is a big draw with the kids. “The cash wrap is covered in penny candy and can’t squeeze more in, except these little keychains on display.” Farrelly placed a small, unique-looking table with bins on top right by the cash wrap to promote add-on sales at That Shore Store.
She says, “It makes you look at it and pick the items up while standing there.”
Implementing changesMaking changes to add-on displays can be simple. Cruz notes that retailers can make many changes quickly and on a budget as well.
“Any store owner, regardless of budget, can implement half of these immediately and it wouldn’t cost much,” she says. “Most of these don’t require a ton of effort.”
She explains that if a shop owner wants to add a more eye-catching table to display products, the shop owner can try to find a nice table or riser at a thrift store. She adds that signage also can be printed at home for free, using online resources like Canva to make a sign that looks professional.
When Frost began working at Granite Hall, she spruced up the store’s add-on displays by incorporating thrifted objects that match the store’s old-time vibe.
“Our displays are really warm and appealing to people,” says Frost. “I think people feel a comfortable warmness when they come in here. We’ve collected over the years a bunch of wooden barrels and boxes for displays. It doesn’t need to take much.”