IMG_20160401_094614541 IMG_20160401_094627104Manufacturers often ask me (or my buying staff) “what makes a great end cap?”  While there are no “absolutes” in retail merchandising, given my 15+ years at retail (and another 15 at mfg) I’d venture to say that common sense tends to prevail, but there are some excellent rules of thumb that were drilled into my head at Home Depot where I was a merchant.

  1. Make it relevant, local and timely. No need to run weed and feed in May.  Too late, or a sump pump in the summer.  Fans in the fall or heaters in the spring….you get my point, but I’m constantly amazed at how even this  simple rule of thumb sometimes get lost.  I have walked end caps that are not timely or seasonally relevant all the time.  Depot has really done a far better job at this than I used to as a merchant.  Credit better tools and systems as well as smarter merchants.
  2. Tie into manufacturer’s national advertising. Hey, if Scotts is running Round UP 360 on Television then why shouldn’t we have end caps in our stores (assuming we stock that sku) of the item that’s on TV?  Many retailers actually sell the circular and end cap space to the vendors to ensure better coordination and delivery of the promotion at retail store level.
  3. Make it understandable and hopefully interactive. If you are promoting a cordless drill, have 8 weeks on hand for the end cap and then have a working display for end users to play with.  Make sure the prominent and most important features and benefits are clearly pointed out and articulated on the working sample.
  4. Include some tie-in item with the feature items at full margin. Yes your giving away the $200 drill, but including some key accessories with the tool on the endcap helps with the margin erosion on the drill.
  5. Don’t have an extended run of in-line items on the end cap. Good endcaps are 1-4 items tops!  It’s key item and price.  Don’t build a project or in-line POG extension for the end cap.  It’s confusing for consumers and for your store employees too!
  6. End caps need to shout “value” not “this is the least expensive item in this category” Don’t always pick the OPP for an endcap item.  Customers live for value…even on MPP and HPP items!