At the beginning of the summer I took a ride with my husband to the local Home Depot. He usually goes in, purchases what he needs and leaves. When I go with him he knows it'll be more of a discovery stroll. For fun and entertainment, I like to walk through the store (any store) and find out what they have new, hopefully get inspired through merchandising displays and in this case find any potential DIY project ideas that might be relevant to our home "to do" list. Well, we had been thinking about an outdoor gazebo area for a while; and, the Home Depot had one displayed.
No, I really mean it. They had ONE displayed. There was no assortment of products which is out of character for the Home Depot.
The displayed product didn't look that sturdy and we were disappointed that there weren't more to see. But, I realize gazebos are just one of those products that take up a lot of floor space. Essentially, it is prohibitive to line-up and display an assortment. When I actually looked closer at the displayed gazebo I saw that one of the columns of the structure had a wrap-around promotion sign. On that wrap they were promoting additional gazebos that are available at homedepot.com.
The sign had colorful photos with descriptions and specs. Which brings me to the beauty of online shopping and the assortment choices offered. Online is not limited to floor space or accommodating other merchandise in the area. There can actually be a limit-less number of gazebos online for me and my husband to consider to purchase. The negative is that we can't touch it, feel it, stand in the middle of it - you get the picture. We can't physically experience the product.
By showcasing the Home Depot assortment of gazebos on a column wrap that you can find online tries to offer the consumer the best of both worlds.
Since we experienced a display of the gazebo at the store it gave us a “feel” for the merchandise. So, physically standing in the middle of one gave us a great sense of the product details of the others. But the Home Depot offered the opportunity to explore, virtually, at our convenience, their gazebo assortment online. The store brought it to our attention that we have more than what you are seeing.
It's a good idea because they are not relying on the consumer to take the leap and think to look online; or, waiting for a Home Depot associate to tell the customer that there is more online.
I believe as we move forward in this ecommerce world that cross merchandising in-store with online will be the ultimate in capturing product sales; and customer loyalty. And, as more and more physical stores begin to offer an online shopping experience we will see more of this in-store marketing tactic. We see merchandising evolve as the retail world continues to change.
By the way, in case you're wondering we didn't purchase the gazebo...
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.