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Creative Merchandising Ideas

February 28, 2018

Does your store stand out from the crowd? Does it excite customers? Is there a way you can beef up your merchandising to increase sales? Is that even possible in a bookstore? I say YES! Having 11+ years’ experience working for a major book retailer in Canada, I have seen many ways to increase sales via in-store merchandising. People come to your brick-and-mortar store to discover new items, to be WOWED. Making your store stand out from the competition is crucial to staying healthy and profitable in this competitive marketplace. Not only are you competing with other brick-and-mortar stores, you are now competing with online retailers too. Therefore, creative merchandising becomes even more important. You want to provide your customers with the ultimate shopping experience!  Here are six easy ways to boost sales, while making an aesthetic impact on your store.


Change displays biweekly

All of us know that it is crucial to merchandise displays to follow holidays, seasons, etc. But is that really enough? Keep your store vibrant and fresh by switching your displays on a biweekly schedule whenever it is possible. This will keep customers excited and looking forward to see what’s new when they return.


Is your cash lineup exciting?

New arrivals should be displayed near the front of the store. Most book retailers have ample new arrivals weekly. Keeping your cash lineup fresh gives you more opportunity to entice your customers to impulse buy an item they didn’t even come into your store for. Alongside these sought-after new arrivals, display easy add-on items (low ticket priced items – like bargain books) to increase your customers’ basket size.


Tables should tell a story

Grouping like products together will give your customers additional reasons to buy more items from you, saving them time mixing and matching categories and topics that interest them. All tables should tell one cohesive story. A customer is looking for a complete solution. For example, if doing a Mother’s Day table and you are featuring some books on tea, cross merchandise this with tea, tea cups, and cookies, for example. Table displays that tell a story are more interesting to a shopper and potentially much more profitable to you as a retailer.



End-caps should be used to display new releases or older books by popular authors. When customers browse through your store and pass by the ends of your shelves, they can be influenced by what is displayed. Use end-caps creatively by adding products such as book lights, reading glasses, or gift cards. Adding one or two higher-margin products to every basket can really affect your bottom line.


Back of store merchandising

Categories such as Science, New Age, and Crafts and Hobbies, to name a few, should be placed in the depth of your store. Less impulse in nature, customers will travel to the back of your store to find these categories. By doing this you will increase the chances of those customers putting other items in their basket, increasing their basket size.


Make the shopping experience a comfortable one

Most shoppers shop with another person; a spouse, a friend, or a child. The more uncomfortable the spouse, friend, or child may get, the less time your customer will spend in your store browsing and adding to their basket.

Examples may include: chairs and sofas to make browsing more comfortable, ample heat/air-conditioning, or sufficient room to maneuver between shelves and tables.


These are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing. You will have many unique ideas that tailor to your store and your target customer. Have fun and be creative!


Tracy Basnett

Book Depot

Category Manager


Rebecca H Rittenour replied 6 years ago

THANK YOU!!!! I used many of your ideas. I run a one-woman tiny bookstore in the Midwest. I’ve been in business one year, and it’s going pretty good! Since I’m new at selling books, this article helped me tweak my floor-plan. I moved my newest books smack-dab inside the front door, so it’s the first thing you lay eyes on when you come in. It worked! I’m selling way more new releases than ever. I also moved the super-cheap novelties towards the end of the shopping path, and people do grab little goodies on their way out of the store. Just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration and for helping my bottom dollar.

Book Depot replied 6 years ago

That is some great feedback (thank you!) and I’m thrilled to hear you were able to use some of the ideas we offered to merchandise products throughout your store. From our many years of experience there have always been two key factors that are consistent in running a successful retail business – new arrivals, and low prices. All the best as your business grows and we hope to continue to be a meaningful source of quality information and of course low cost product.

Dave Wiggins
Sales Manager
Book Depot

ADP Store replied 5 years ago

These are great ideas! I will absolutely try some of this. I have done some of your ideas and I will consider doing the rest of it once I get the chance to do so. Thank you for sharing these awesome ideas!

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