The Latest Innovation in Merchandising  11/29/2016


Frank Bishop Sr Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Innovative Fixture Solutions, LLC, specializes in checkstand merchandiser fixtures and offers his perspective on where he sees this industry headed in the future.

What are the long term prospects for using LED lighting for the center store and/or front-end checkout areas. 
We are seeing multiple retailers who did not add lights on their front-end programs that rolled out in the last 18 months, now going back and retrofitting those same fixtures with LED because they feel they missed something. At the front-end the lights are making an impact on sales, but also on the consumer’s perception of the store and cleanliness. Furthermore, as retailers continue to speed up their remodel timeline of the entire store to keep that fresh look, it would only make sense they too join in on adding lights throughout the stores. That is when you will really see a major change in technology because once the entire store has LED lighting, it means you have power throughout. That changes the game in terms of adding in branding, advertising, and labor-reducing items such as electronic reorder systems and electronic price tags. “


What do you see in the way of anything new for the future of fixtures (designs, materials, graphics, technology, merchandising techniques, etc.) that might not be used commonly today or not at all. 
We are seeing retailers taking a serious look at how they can make the shopping experience easier for their customer at checkout. The rack sightlines are getting lower, the space between confection shelves is increasing to provide better visibility, and the fixtures are being merchandised by category vertically and all in one spot. It used to be magazines would be on customer left, customer right, and the endcap. You used to have gum and mints on both sides of the tail. Now, most retailers are choosing to have these categories all in the same space on one side of the fixture. The consumer no longer has to look for the product in multiple areas. The same has happened with beverage. It was Coke at one lane, and Pepsi at another. Now retailers are buying their own cooler and placing both Coke and Pepsi at every lane.

In the future we expect new categories to become larger players at the front-end. Healthy snacks are currently on the rise as retailers move more towards fresh. Meat snacks have become more of a staple across the country as well at the front. As more retailers add in the promotional endcap, it is allowing them to test products to see if they are actually an impulse item, without any long term commitments.

The largest change we can see on the horizon is the potential change in how consumers actually checkout, and what belt systems will be used. We have yet to see anything firm but IFS continues to create plans for those situations.


What do you predict will be the next hottest trend in fixture solutions at retail? 
The hottest trend today is how to merchandise around self-checkout. This is a major area of concern for both retailers and suppliers as most feel they have not maximized upon that opportunity. We expect to see more queue line merchandising systems setup before the transaction zone at self-checkout. The wall systems being offered today that merchandise product behind and around the self-scan machines provide space for product, but the question surrounding the quality of the space continues. We believe the consumer is no longer in shopping mode once they begin to interact with the self-checkout machine. They have moved into a working mode. By using a queue line before the self-checkout, stores are able to capture those consumers while they are still browsing. 


Frank will be speaking at the upcoming upcoming ECRM Merchandising Solutions EPPS on Monday, February 6th from 5:15pm - 5:55pm.  During this time Frank will discuss what is hot and what is not: latest designs, latest equipment, latest merchandising methods, latest sales trends. Whether you will be replacing your current checkstand merchandisers fixtures or only reevaluating product mix and placement, this presentation will help you to maximize your final program.
 

Larry Ishii

Category Development Manager
ECRM

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