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A Butcher’s Guide to Merchandising

Contrary to popular belief, most purchase decisions don’t happen by chance. Instead, it’s a combination of the buyer’s intentions and the power of suggestion that determines what gets sold. If the average shop had no influence over purchase decisions, there’d be no need to display products in a conventional manner. Packaging, pretty pictures, colourful branding and so on would all be redundant.


Merchandising is the principle of influencing sales, without direct customer contact, using whatever promotional materials work best.

It’s exactly the same case with butcher’s shops, too. Here, just like everywhere else, customers across the board buy with their eyes. In turn, poor displays of products and ineffective merchandising result in poor sales.

Think about it: how many times have you walked out of a shop with more than you originally went in for? Or perhaps, something entirely different from your intended purchase?

The way you present your merchandise as a butcher can and will determine what your customers buy – it really is as simple as that. So if you’d like to make merchandising work better for you butcher’s shop, try tailoring your strategy in accordance with the following tips:

  • As already mentioned, remember that most people buy with their eyes. Which is why in a merchandising context, looks really are everything. If it doesn’t look irresistible, it isn’t going to sell…end of story.
  • With most people being right-handed, most of your customers will instinctively focus on the right-hand side of your shop and/or counter first of all. So whatever you’d like them to see first of all should be displayed here.
  • Remaining with display cabinets, longer units draw maximum attention to whatever is in the middle. With shorter units, most attention is drawn by the areas to the right. So you might want to focus on these so-called counter ‘hot spots’.
  • Not a single customer is immune to the temptation of impulse purchases. As such, it’s worth thinking about which of your products/items are most likely to be bought on impulse, rather than mindfully.
  • Colour makes a big difference when looking to influence shoppers. In the case of a butcher’s shop, the use of fruit and vegetable to garnish products and decorate cabinets can be uniquely effective.
  • By contrast, plastic flowers and artificial grass rarely have the same impact.
  • Empty display cabinets are very off-putting for customers. Even if the absence of stock technically highlights your popularity, empty cabinets make a butcher’s shop look unprofessional and sad.
  • Place promotional items (or stock you’d prefer to clear) in positions that cannot be ignored. Right by the entrance or next to the checkout being the more obvious examples.
  • Last but not least, remember that the two most important times for sales in the average butcher’s shop are the beginning and end of the day. So if you’re going to give your merchandising strategy an overhaul, you might want to focus on these peak periods primarily.