Funeral Industry News

Which Layout is Right For Your Selection Room (Part 2- Merchandising Power Walls)

August 21, 2009

Which Layout is Right For Your Selection Room (Part 2- Merchandising Power Walls)

Walk inside the selection room, stop just past the Decompression Zone, and look to your right at about a 45 degree angle. The wall you see is called a Power Wall and it’s another one of those key merchandising areas. And because it’s the first wall the family will see after turning right, it’s a perception builder.

If you use this wall and the area on the floor in front of it to house basic product, you are making a costly mistake. Instead, use the Power Wall and surrounding floor space to display new items, to show an ensemble, and to feature high profit items. Each selection room actually has more than one Power Wall: stand in various places throughout the selection room and look around, the walls that stand out are Power Walls.


“Zoomer” is the latest term coined by marketers to describe the 140 million Americans over the age of 50. People over 50 aren’t old; they’re in the prime of their lives. They are healthy and happy, and far richer than any other generation.

According to Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D, founder and president of Age Wave, as the Baby Boomers pass through their middle years, and on to maturity (the first Boomers turned 60 in 2006!), several key factors will reshape consumer demand. They may not admit it, but the Zoomers face new physical challenges each and ever day; challenges that businesses must address. The following checklist lists what’s important for you to know:


? Place product at more easily reachable heights.

Many customers over the age of 50 will develop arthritis, which can prohibit them from possessing the flexibilities they once had. If product is placed out of reach in the selection room, too high or too low, remind personnel to respectfully offer a helping hand when needed.

? Presbyopia, a disease that affects our ability to see clearly up close, kicks in at around age 40.

Those Zoomers wandering thorough the selection room may be missing signing or key product detail. We recommend placing baskets of reading glasses in various magnifications in the selection room and in other places the family is likely to spend time.

? If large numbers of people need reading glasses, then it’s safe to say that large numbers also wear bi-focal glasses.

When you wear bi-focals, you have to choose which part of the lenses to look through. The top part helps the wearer see far away, and the bottom helps to see close up. This means that at any given time, merchandise displayed below eye level is out of focus to these customers. Take a walk through the selection room and see what important product or signing you have housed near the floor that needs to be moved to a higher location on the fixture.

? Pump up the type size currently used on signing, brochures, newsletters, and other point-of-purchase materials.

These materials are designed to help family members make a good purchasing decision. If they can’t read the materials, no one wins. Take a hard look at the signing in the selection room and throughout your funeral home. Can older eyes easily read what’s important about your product? Can they easily read directional and other important signing?

Here’s a good rule to follow: take the average age of your oldest clients and divide it half. That is the smallest size type font you can use in signing.

? As we age, it gets harder to adapt to different lighting.

We’ve been in too many selling environments that are unbelievably dark. This makes it tough for anyone to see the merchandise, and tougher still for aging eyes that need 2-3 times more light to see as clearly as younger eyes. Yet, rooms that are too bright can also cause problems for Zoomer customers. If you are not sure where you stand lumen-wise, consider calling in a lighting professional to help you out.

? Interior designers love shiny floors, but shiny floors scream trouble for Zoomers who do not want to risk a fall on what appears to be a slippery surface.

When it comes time to replace flooring in your non-carpeted areas, consider one made of a non-slip material.

? Do you have doorknobs or handles?

A large percentage of Zoomers suffer from some form of arthritis. It’s much easier for them to operate a handle versus a knob. This is a quick fix; door knobs are easy to replace.


There are so many ways to improve your selection room through Visual Merchandising. The problem is that we all tend to get tunnel vision. You get so involved in the day-to-day business of running the funeral home store that you miss the things family members, visitors and potential clients see every day.

Before you begin your next selection room change ? whether it?s a complex retrofit or the smallest reset ? take the blinders off and look at your funeral home through a visitor’s eyes.