A Successful Manager’s Guide to Effective Merchandising

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What’s in it for you? Just a little fame and fortune

Next time you visit your casino’s gift shop, take a moment to stop and actually LOOK at it. Don’t think like a boss, think like a customer. (Who actually IS the boss, but that is an article for a different day). How does it feel when you walk in? Inviting and interesting, or junky and distracting? Do you want to come in and explore? Or are you distracted by, well, stuff? Is the salesperson chewing, putting down a drink, or trying to pretend like they are not on their phone?

Here is your casino merchandising guide-at-a-glance:

1) Do hire friendly and professional salespeople.

The last thing you need is for your staff to start complaining about something, whether it’s the store, the property, the community, or the world. This is a respite for the customer, and those subjects are exactly what they need a break from.

2) Do not disturb the customer with vacuums, boxes of unpacked merchandise, or salespeople’s personal items.

Keep the door to the stockroom closed at all times. Keep the wrap desk clean and clear of debris. Have your appropriately chosen background music playing before you open the door right on schedule. Realistically, many times the appropriate staffing level may be only one employee, and they do need to put out the new merchandise. This is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done as discreetly as possible, and the salesperson is warm and welcoming without coming across as harried and overwhelmed.

3) Hot item – hot spot (drop the mic).

If you do nothing else, do this. What is a hot item? It’s the item you sell more of than any other item in the store. What is a Hot Spot? It’s the area in your store that gets the most traffic, usually front and center. You should never run out of this item in the best color, size, flavor, or whatever. Running out is a DISASTER. If you want fame and fortune – don’t run out of your hottest items. Hint: over time you will become complacent and even bored with this item. If you can’t stay excited about the item, stay excited about the volume and profit that it generates.

4) Keep it fresh.

Re-merchandise your store regularly by changing your featured items. (Don’t even think about moving your hot item out of its spot). If you have sweatshirts out on the four-way and sweaters hung along the wall, switch their placement, or fold them rather than hang them. See if you generate more sales. If it rains, move your rain jackets to a high traffic area first thing in the morning. If the sun comes out, switch the rain jackets with sunglasses, etc.

5) Find unique and exclusive merchandise to feature in your store.

Hopefully you have access to local Tribal artists, which can be a big draw for your local or traveling customers. Display their wares in a special area, and feature the art and artist through unique signing and displays.

Fame and Fortune, really? Fortune – yes. If you follow these steps, your sales will increase and you will receive fortune in the form of continued employment and possibly a bonus, if you operate under that type of structure. Fame – yes. If you incorporate Tribal art into your store, you will be appreciated by the customers, admired by the artists and their families, and respected by tribal government. It’s smart merchandising. Good luck, and have fun!

Chris Keenan