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April 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 49 working on a plumbing project, we always ask them if they need pipe tape," she says. While that's a small sale, every extra dollar adds up. She says employee training is an important complement to merchandising, because they need to know what add-on items to suggest with each project. For that reason, Post emphasizing training for cashiers. "We call our cashiers our marketing assistants," she says. "That is the person every customer will interact with and usually the first and last employee they see." It's important that cashiers know where everything in the store is and have as much product and project knowledge as they can. If a customer arrives at the checkout and has forgotten to pick up an item important to the project, the cashier should be able to suggest the necessary add-on items. Please interrupt the customer. "Most shoppers have their blinders on when they come in and out of the store," Post says. "They are only focused on that item they came in to buy. So we've been focusing on putting interruptions in their path to remind them of something else they might need." Her favorite example is a giant M&M displayer that holds assorted candy. She placed it near the corner of some of the most frequently travelled aisles in the store, and shoppers began putting candy bars in their shopping baskets. While those shoppers might not have been thinking about food initially, Post says the power of suggestion can lead to an impulse sale. This simple merchandiser has become one of the store's most effective impulse displays. Post is also working on interrupting people who haven't yet walked in the store. Since it's on a busy urban street with a lot of passersby, Post uses that to her advantage by converting the area in front of the store by the sidewalk into usable merchandising space. With some shelving and racks outside, the sidewalk space is an area for impulse items, which helps draw more shoppers into the store. "Use the display as the interrupter," she says. "Pile something up where people don't expect to see it, and they're more likely to act on impulse. You've just reminded them of something they forgot they needed." Cross-merchandising is for destination items, too. Operating a store in tight quarters with no space for a traditional power aisle or endcaps means Post must find ways to pull shoppers to all areas of the store, not just their favorite spots. Cross-merchandising is a valuable tool. A good example is the housewares department. It's in a room off to the side of the main salesfloor and out of the regular flow of traffic, so most customers pass by it. "Housewares seems to be that area no one knows about," she says. "So we've been putting some destination items there that are usually in another department, but are also tangentially related to housewares. That helps bring customers to that area." For example, while furniture floor sliders may be a good fit for the hardware department, Post puts some of them in housewares. When customers are looking for that item, employees will send them to the housewares department, so they will have the opportunity to find some other products they may not have known the store carried. In fact, given the limited space in the store, she finds she often doesn't have the room to display a full planogram all in one space. Downstairs, she's limited by a low ceiling, beams and posts that take up valuable space. So when it's time to set up a planogram, Post has to do some rearranging. Typically, she solves the problem by removing double facings, using clip strips for some of the items or hanging them from the posts or beams crowding the space. But she also puts some of those items in different areas of the store, which allows her to stock a full assortment of products while still providing some cross-merchandising opportunities for these items. This is the customers' view when they walk into the store. Since she doesn't have room for a power aisle, Post surrounds the staircase with unique and niche items.