Micro merchandising can reach a new market and offer new life to a brand, plus it provides a level of protection against market competition.

FREMONT, CA: There is talk that physical retail is dying. However, it seems like more eCommerce companies are opening brick-and-mortar stores. Several disruptive digital-first brands have generated pop-ups and showrooms intending to bring to life the customer experience. It may sound ironic in the context of increasing footfall, but vitally, these brands are taking the very best of the offline experience and leaving the most difficult behind. Meanwhile, brands that conventionally operate online and offline are taking note of this shift to ‘experiential’ retail, creating mini-stores that enable consumers to experience products in-person before ordering online.

For micro-retailers, space is limited and comes at a premium. Shops are poorly lit, and they have limited shelf space to stock and display products. For firms, placing equipment like coolers and point of sales material is a hurdle in small groceries. New shop owners also rarely have the market knowledge to display and merchandise products in the correct method to increase traffic and volume. They often require training, and sales people need to demonstrate the correct merchandising techniques. However, with limited time and service, that is challenging for companies.

However, micro-retailers also offer benefits for consumers and firms they work with. Successful stores are often well-stocked, and there is a large percentage of first-tier brands available. Shopkeepers are flexible to customer demands and will stock products upon request. They often provide more affordable small pack sizes to their cash-strapped shoppers, like small plastic bags of sugar, rather than a standard manufacturer packaging.

Even though space is limited in conventional outlets, companies could find it seamless to negotiate merchandising space compared to modern trade. Multi-nationals have more use with mom-and-pop retailers, and they can control their in-outlet message better. Innovative merchandising designs, like hanging racks to maximize space, and product dispensers, could further help this strategy.