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Editor's Comment - The Merchandising Report 2015

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Strong merchandising lies at the heart of great retail. For it’s by communicating the products – what they are, what they do, and what they look like – that retailers most successfully sell. That is the job of the ecommerce website, but it’s one that’s fast becoming more sophisticated as traders working in a competitive sector find new ways of showcasing goods.

Offline, store merchandisers are expert in laying out a store to communicate values and vision, encouraging the shopper to buy. Now traders are not only taking those skills online, but equipping merchandisers to operate in a cross-channel shopping environment. For, as Mark Felix of John Lewis explains in our lead interview in this Dimension Report, when customers are moving between as many as three different devices in the course of a purchase, and perhaps paying a trip to the store as well, it’s important that products are shown in their best light across all of these channels. In our case studies we consider how retailers we’ve judged Elite and Leading approach the task of setting out wares. These are a varied group, from Topps Tiles , in the homewares category, to Ebuyer [IRDX REBU], selling discount computers. But what they and all the retailers highlighted in our IRUK Merchandising Dimension Report have in common is the ability to communicate products, clearly and effectively, a theme we explore more closely in our strategic overview.

In our research features, we consider both the practical and inspirational aspects of how that’s done. Our Analysing the numbers feature sets out how retailers most effectively combine strong visual appeal with the mechanics of showing stock levels, deploying effective search and merchandising across channels. Our Breaking new ground feature contrasts what customers want from merchandising with the presentation that retailers give them.

Our 12 approaches that work feature brings together practical examples of effective merchandising at work. Looking ahead, usability expert Giles Colborne tells us how the internet of things will change retail merchandising.

All of this, we hope, goes a long way to showing why merchandising matters, and how retailers can most effectively improve the way that they present products.

We’d like to thank all the Knowledge Partners who have contributed their expertise and insights in both this and previous Dimension Reports. We welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis. Please email: [email protected] and [email protected]
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