Marketing? Merchandising? What do they mean for your store

The Differences between Marketing and Merchandising, and how they affect you

The Differences between Marketing and Merchandising, and What They Mean for Your Store

So far we have used the term marketing several times, usually in reference to defining and creating a feeling around the brand that is your store. We have talked about how to create shelf talkers that act as silent salespeople, steering shoppers toward buying particular products in addition to building interest in your store on a long-term basis. Our discussions of marketing have also included information on directly selling products, or merchandising, and we have required that our shelf talkers do the task of both.

While certainly capable of doing both, it is worthwhile to acknowledge that marketing and merchandising are actually two separate things and can be considered separately when making decisions. Let’s talk about what each one is and how we can make them work together within a store using shelf talkers.

What is Marketing

According to the American Marketing Association, "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." Marketing includes the establishment of a business’ brand. When we talk about our displays creating an atmosphere within a store, creating an identity that customers will relate to, or establishing trust, we are talking about marketing. Marketing is often long-term. It leads customers to products and encompasses merchandising.

What is Merchandising

Merchandising sells products after marketing has driven shoppers to them. It is concerned with promotion of specific products or services for sale, and is a subset of marketing.

Are they ever in conflict?

One reason to consider these activities separately is that sometimes they can be at odds with each other. While the end goal of both marketing and merchandising is to sell more products, one is longer-term and the other shorter. For example, if a store is choosing a specific book to showcase in a display, picking one that is more representative of the store’s overall image may make more sense even if that book does not as easily lend itself toward an increase in sales through a visual display. Choosing to showcase the book even though it is already selling well, for example, may help establish the store’s identity long-term. It is important to be aware of a potential conflict between the two goals and choose carefully.

How marketing and merchandising work together

Marketing and merchandising can work synergistically, and using displays, signage, and Shelfwiz shelf talkers allows you to work toward both goals simultaneously. They can be used to give buyers additional information that will help convince them to make a purchase. They can also suggest additional products that are similar or make a comment that helps you connect with customers by appealing to a common value or evoking a feeling. Choose to balance product merchandising and short-term sales with efforts that will develop and extend your brand and create an atmosphere within your store.

Photo Credit: DTS Bookcenter

Key Points

  • Marketing is about selling a brand and is long-term
  • Merchandising aims to sell products in the short-term
  • Make marketing and merchandising work together

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