Winter 2019
Kickstart Campaign By Zeke Jennings

Five ideas to get lagging merchandise moving out the door

You tried out a line of goods that just hasn’t panned out like you hoped and now you’re desperate to get those moving out the door.

Every brick-and-mortar retailer has likely faced this scenario and probably more times than they care to think about. What do you do now?

Veteran shopkeepers have their various tried-and-true methods, such as marking the items way down and putting them in a “clearance” in the back of the story. If that gets the job done, it gets the job done. There is nothing wrong with that.

However, here are five alternative ideas that might spruce up lagging products’ liveliness and be a win for your store before you throw in the towel and mark them way down.


Learning about your products and vendors is something you should be doing anyway, but if something isn’t moving, then dig a little deeper. Most vendors have things likable or interesting things about them that might entice someone to give their products a try. If the look and price of something isn’t doing it by itself, maybe the backstory will. You bought the products for a reason, so share it with your customers.


Try moving a slagging line to a different part of the store or integrate it with other similarly themed items. If you’ve been showcasing it in bins, try moving to an eye-level shelf. You want to keep your hot merchandise near the hot spots in your store, but you can mix in varying lines to see if you can give them some new life.

Along the lines of remarketing is reintroducing. Pull merchandise off the floor for a bit and then put it back out in a fresh way by posting signage that the line is “back in stock.”


Valentine’s Day is over and you’re left with a couple of lines of products that just didn’t sell all that well. Instead of marking them down and throwing them on the clearance shelf, have a special area that’s for recently passed holidays or seasons but present the products in a non-clearance sort of way. Post a sign that reads, “Get ahead on your shopping needs and save money while doing it with these great deals!”). Just because it’s essentially a clearance area doesn’t mean has it to look or feel like a clearance area, so be attentive to how the section is organized and maintained.

If you have leftover items that sold well, be careful about including them here. You still may be able to get full price the following season.


It’s hard to believe there was a day when fast food restaurants didn’t have combo meals and you had to go through separate companies for phone, television and internet. Package deals, aka bundling, are everywhere now, however. In retail, you can package a combination of merchandise that is selling well with some that you’re struggling to get out the door. The themes and combinations are endless. You could create a one-stop-shop Easter basket for the kids, create a DIY costume from accessories or combine holiday shopping needs into one purchase (i.e. “Be ready for Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day with one easy grab!”).


When all else fails, there is always donating merchandise to charity for the purpose of a tax write off — be sure to follow your state and local laws on that — but you can also contribute products to various events or initiatives, which can help get your store’s name out there. It could be a fundraiser auction of some kind or maybe a shop local campaign that includes prizes or a grab bag for customers. It’s a nice way of being involved in your community and subtly letting current and potential customers know you’re involved in your community.

Zeke Jennings

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