Funeral Industry News

How to Help Your Product Sell Itself: Part 1 “Vertical Merchandising”

August 21, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

How to Help Your Product Sell Itself: Part 1 “Vertical Merchandising”

There is an art to presentation and display, but there is also a science. Certain areas of your selection room sell better than others. If you have ever gone to a store to make a single purchase, but left with several items, you too have fallen victim to the science of shopping. As consumers, we are trained to shop, to grab a cart and spend quality time in a store. And retailers have learned to set their sales floor to their advantage, silently directing shoppers to specific areas and product. Although, your use of these same will be far more subtle, they can be utilized in your funeral home as well.

Our goal is to help you merchandise your displays using tried and true store planning and visual merchandising techniques. The fact that consumers have been trained to shop can work to your advantage, as long as you use techniques that your clients are used to seeing. An urn layout, for example, will look less foreboding if it is merchandised in a familiar manner.

Merchandise will sell itself when product displays are well done, but when they are not, even the best product can sit, overlooked time and again by clients. The purpose of your product displays and selection room design is not merely to look pretty, their purpose is to create an environment that makes clients feel comfortable, entices them to spend time in the selection room, and encourages them to purchase impulsively while they are there. It?s a tall order, but it?s easier than you might think. This article includes visual merchandising techniques to help you set your arrangement room to sell.


There are two ways retailers merchandise product that is set on shelves or hung on a wall ? horizontally and vertically.

If you choose a horizontal presentation you make it harder for clients to easily see your product selection. For the sake of demonstration, let’s say that you have a 4-foot section of slatwall with four shelves, and you have four different products to display in this space. If you choose a horizontal presentation, placing just one type of product per shelf, then you severely limit the amount of items clients are likely to see as they scan a shelf. If they only glance at the second shelf, they will only see that particular product.

A vertical presentation is almost always your best bet. Any time you display product vertically, you expose the customer to a greater variety of the assortment at any eye level. And since we are naturally inclined to read from left to right, Vertical Merchandising encourages purchases because it exposes clients to a greater variety of your assortment at any eye level.

This post is Part 1 of a series of posts from Kizer and Bender. They have presented their funeral industry specific keynotes and seminars at many industry functions since 2005, most recently at NFDA 2008. They have also consulted for industry companies including Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. and Paws and Remember. Their mission with Wilbert was to use the science of shopping to create merchandise displays that help product sell itself. Some of the upcoming blog post include topics like:

* “Hot Spot Cross Merchandising”

* Visual Curve Merchandising

* Which Layout is Right for your Selection Room?

* Make the Selection Room “Zoomer” Friendly

* Perceptions Begin in the Parking Lot

* Inside the Front Door

* The Decompression Zone

Kizer and Bender have also provided two important exercises funeral professionals (you) can do in your own businesses.

Please help me in welcoming Kizer and Bender to Connecting Directors!! Feel free to leave questions for them in the comments or you can visit where you can contact them and find out more information about who they are.

Thank you to Kizer & Bender for guest blogging and big thanks to our sponsors for making it possible to offer amazing helpful resources like Kizer and Bender!