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Tips from the merchandising guru, Ali Levy

At the 2011 SIA Snow Show, SIA worked with merchandising specialist, Ali Levy, to create tips and ideas for both SIA Members/Exhibitors looking for easy ways to improve their merchandising to help increase sales and interest. Over the coming months, be on the lookout for new ideas from Ali.

In case you missed it, below is the article from Day 3 of the Snow Show Daily, a top five of what to keep in mind.

Putting products in the proper light to increase sales.
By Rachel Odell Walker, Day 3, SIA Snow Show Daily
As Ali Levy roams the floor at the SIA Snow Show, she doesn’t just look at a jacket and decide she likes it. She examines the colors, the detailing, and most important, the other apparel said jacket is paired with. In other words, she looks at the whole visual presentation and assesses whether or not it works.

“Good merchandising is how you increase sales,” says Levy. “It takes a little time, creativity, and dedication. And when it’s done well, it works.”

As official show merchandiser and owner of Design Sluice, Levy looks for compelling stories, inspiring color pairings, and creative displays among the vendors. We roamed the show with Ali to see the products through the eyes of an expert and walked away with the following tips for retailers and buyers.

1. Get mental
Imagine the product laid out in your retail space. “Buyers need to really think about how it is going to look in the store, whether they have enough fixtures,” says Levy. “Visualization is really important.”

2. Go all the way
One common mistake is not buying “complete color stories,” says Levy. A four-pronged rack can carry three to five different colors, which jazzes up a display and appeals to a wider swath of shoppers. Many stores just hang two colors on a four-way. Yawn.

3. Mix and match
Don’t just get a cute jacket and pants to display. Think of dressing up your dummy with coordinating fleeces, vests, hats, and socks. Tie the outfits together with color or other shared details.

4. Bite the eye candy
Sure, you’re not likely to sell a plethora of the retro-styled, Zebra-striped matching jacket and pants on display at the Rossignol apparel booth, but damned if that hot outfit isn’t going to draw in new customers to the store. Levy says to be bold with certain purchases. Perhaps you just order one of the plaid-wool pants and the toggled pea coat—so it’s not a big risk—and entice customers. “It’s like a big carrot dangling in the window,” says Levy.

5. Grow up
Don’t be afraid to embrace new trends and shake up your supply, says Levy. “A lot of stores and buyers don’t progress with the times,” she says. “Figure out what the trends are and bring them into the shop. The big box stores won’t have the newest print. You should. You’re a specialty shop.”

For more information, contact Ali at