Retail Digital Transformation and 4.0

Fundamentals of Cross Merchandising

Cross Merchandising: A Deep Dive Into The Science Of Pairing Products To Generate Higher Sales.

The basic goal of retail merchandising is to create an engaging shopping environment that leads to more sales and, thus, generates more revenue. One particularly effective method of merchandising is the purvey of the cross merchandiser.

Cross merchandising is the sales and marketing tactic of displaying complimentary items near each other in the store. They might share shelf space right next to each other, or simply be located within easy eyeshot of each other on an aisle or display.

The concept of cross merchandising is pretty simple. Customers who are looking for one product will hopefully spot one of the complimentary items during their search and suddenly realize they need it, too. Think of cross merchandising as a subtle hint to the customer saying, “if you like this product, you may also want to pick up this one, too.”

Common examples of cross merchandising

We see cross merchandising regularly in our shopping journeys. Grocers are particularly adept at pairing products together. The next time you’re at your favorite supermarket take a moment to study the merchandising. You’ll see plenty of examples of cross selling.

  • Peanut butter and jelly next to the bread aisle
  • Eggs near the orange juice
  • Gourmet cheeses adjacent to the wine department
  • Coffee near the breakfast cereals
  • Tomato sauces near the pasta choices

These are all daily examples of cross merchandising. However, selling complimentary products together can also be done by marketing them on a dedicated endcap or a creative merchandising display.

For example, come summertime a supermarket might create a special “Summer Barbeque” display that features charcoal, lighter fluid, hamburger and hotdog buns, colas, beer and other backyard necessities.

Or, let’s go beyond the supermarket. When it’s time for kids to get back to school, cross marketing at a big box retailer might include endcaps that feature backpacks, notebooks, binders, pencil cases, and other back-to-school necessities.

Designer clothing retailers often dress mannequins in exciting outfits curated by fashion merchandising experts using various store offerings – blouses, skirts, jackets, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses. The idea being that once customers see how well these items complement each other, they very well may want to purchase the entire ensemble.

When cross merchandising, be sure you don’t cross the line.

Cross merchandising works so well, it can become a little addictive. After all, you’re sure to find quite a few merchandising opportunities where products sold in your store seem to fit naturally together. However, it’s important not to get too carried away. Cross marketing is a great way to increase sales, however, be sure to map out and plan your merchandising strategy before implementing it. Otherwise, you might run into problems.

For instance, too many items paired together on the same display or endcap can end up appearing cluttered rather than engaging. Merchandising products that don’t clearly make sense together may just add more uncertainty to a customer’s shopping journey. Cross merchandising tactics that seem irrelevant to shoppers will certainly not entice them to buy.

Cross merchandising considerations

Cross merchandising is about finding creative ways to merchandise products that go together, so there are no hard and fast rules to making it work. However, there are some things to remember that help can take your merchandising programs to the next level.

  1. Think solutions not sales

Whether they know it or not, customers don’t shop for products. They shop for solutions that answer one need or another in their daily lives. A great tip for effective cross merchandising is to think of your displays as answering the customer’s need. In other words, you’re not simply trying to sell multiple products. You’re trying to provide a quick and convenient shopping solution. Let’s go back to our backyard barbecue example. This display makes sure the customer doesn’t forget anything required to pull off the perfect cookout.

  1. Convenience is the key

The primary objective of cross marketing and merchandising is convenience. Remember, your goal is to guide prospective customers on the quickest, simplest and most convenient shopping journey. They may not walk in the store knowing exactly what they want, but with the right merchandising they’ll leave knowing they got exactly what they need.

  1. Add a little extra pizazz!

Cross merchandising doesn’t have to be limited to simply displaying products. You might try to liven things up with an interactive display. Let’s go back to our backyard barbecue example one more time. What if the store set up an electric grill and gave customers a demonstration of how the products on the display all work together? (With delicious free samples, of course). The point is, be creative with your merchandising. Make it interactive. Build one-of-a-kind displays. Have fun with cross selling.

  1. Do the research. Measure the results.

These are critical components to cross merchandising. Before implementing your cross merchandising program, you should know what products are selling and which ones are struggling. Get an idea of what preferences customers already have and build your cross merchandising program around them. Perhaps, you decide to pair struggling products with top sellers in an effort to elevate those lagging sales?

After implementing your cross merchandising program, it’s important to measure the results. Which products sold best? Did you reach your goals? Knowing what worked and what didn’t will help you build more successful cross marketing programs down the road.

Retail Management Technology and Merchandising

The latest advancements in retail technology are making cross merchandising programs far easier to plan and measure. These cloud-based solutions provide brands and retailers with real-time data and photos that provide clear insights into customer engagement, product sales, store appearance, traffic and merchandising. Solutions, like the one offered by Mobile Insight®, a leading retail management software provide, take much of the guesswork out of merchandising. If you’re interested in learning more about how retail technology can elevate merchandising, explore


Mobile Insight® is the only retail and merchandise management solution designed to meet the brick and mortar sales challenges of high-value brands and retailers. Unlike hardware and software providers that focus on fast-moving goods, the Mobile Insight® platform delivers assisted sales solutions for more complex, interactive, and customer-centric environments. Combining data from in-store systems, 3PLs, employee and partner activity, Mobile Insight® enables informed, smarter decisions that drive sales and operations excellence. For more information, visit


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