Is this principle right for Pub Merchandising?


What is merchandising?

Merchandising is all about exciting your customers senses. Picture yourself walking into a supermarket when you are greeted by the smell of freshly baked bread, you will naturally look to see where the smell is coming from and there you will be presented with the fresh bakery section where you can help yourself to freshly made bread, cakes and other delicious produce. You probably didn’t need that fresh loaf of bread or the cakes you have now picked up and put into your basket but by placing the products in front of you the way they have done you have reacted on impulse and made the decision to buy. Effective merchandising grabs the attention of the customer to generate an impulse reaction.

If you teach your staff to recognise the value of displays and stimulating senses to encourage sales, your sales will rise. More often than not, customers don’t actually know what they want, so if you give their senses a little encouragement, you are actively helping them.


Customers buy benefits: if it looks and feels good, sounds good, tastes good, smells good or makes the customer feel good, you could be encouraging them to purchase from you.


Effective merchandising techniques.

Here are some effective merchandising techniques that are frequently used and have proven to increase revenue.

Field of vision, sometimes called eye level, buy level or eye dwell areas.

The right-hand side of customers field of vision is the strongest area to display products as it is the first place they will see and remember. The middle positions are less strong as the customers eyes will glance over them. Most retailers will position the brand they want to sell on the right-hand side of a field of vision. It’s called a Hot Spot. In a pub for example, in a bank of 4 ales on draught, the right-hand ale should be your highest cash earner, the left should be next, right of centre third highest and a demand product left of centre. A demand product is a product that the customer is likely to order even if, they can’t see it. Like Coke for instance.


Hot spots.

These are prime selling positions where customers are most likely to be influenced to make a buying decision and where your high cash earning products should be positioned.

The first point to remember is that “eye level is buy level”, so any display located within a height range of 4ft to 7ft high will be within the immediate focal point of your customers.
The most probable locations to maximise sales are at the till point as customers tend to come to that point as its easier to be served from a point at which staff keep coming to.
To the right of the till is a Hot spot, so here would be a great place to upsell an item.

The optic rail gives more sales if you have multiple bottles together of each of the high cash earning impulse products, like flavoured vodkas or shots for instance.



The chiller cabinets are also good points at which to merchandise, put demand products on the lower shelves and high cash earners on the top, with the best to the right. The best points at which to sell are the Natural Arrival Points, covered below. Dedicated displays or shelving areas that are at eye level behind the bar can also be very effective if the above principles are used. You can be very influential in the way you encourage your customers to purchase without them even realising you are doing so.

It shouldn’t necessarily always be your high % profit items you are aiming to sell to the customer, as these items may not be your high cash earning items. Let’s say you have an item that sells for £1.00 and you make 50% every time you sell that item, but you have another item you only make 20% margin on but that product costs £3.00, it makes more sense to sell the product you have with a smaller margin on because you will be making more profit every time you sell that item.



Natural Arrival Points of the Bar.

These are areas at which customers will arrive naturally, which will depend on where the doors are, where you place fruit machines, toilets, where pillars are located etc. The walkways through furniture will also make a difference to the natural arrival point. At this point of the bar you have the biggest opportunity to influence customer choices.

You want to direct people to the point of sale, people will naturally walk clockwise off to the right of the bar so if you can place your till at this point you will be on the right track already, however if your till is to the left of the bar you may want to strategically place tables and furniture to redirect traffic in the direction of the till. This will speed up the process of ordering and increase your turnover.

Display your merchandising to the right of where the customer naturally arrives to help encourage their decision. Displays and posters on the way to the bar at eye level will also help customers make their minds up faster when they reach the point of sale, which again will help increase your turnover during busy times. The key is to try and help them make their mind up so that they know what they are going to order by the time the get to the till, this way there is no messing or waiting around for your customer to think about what he/she wants to order.


Table Merchandising.

Only 34% of all people go to the bar to place an order meaning 66% of people don’t.
This means that you should also think about advertising on the tables. If you have multiple high profit products then make your customers aware of these products at the tables and in their surroundings, this can be achieved by having the products printed on to your beer mats, drinks menus, specials etc. En route advertising can also help increase your revenue, everybody loves a special offer or something new so if you advertise this on the way to the point of sale you will be able to substantially influence the customers decision.

If you have a premium juice like J20 rather than the standard orange juice then put the advert out there for the person that isn’t going to the bar to see you have this juice available. If you have a premium product that is having millions spent on it by the manufacturers on TV advertisements, billboard campaigns and you stock it then make sure your customers know about it especially if it is a product that is in high demand. Having a product on its own display behind the bar in direct view of the customer would be the perfect position to place it. This can be achieved with wooden display blocks which are available to buy online on the link below. These wooden display blocks are a great way to vertically stack a product and create a high impacting display. Abundance is authority.

Wooden Display Blocks:


Cold Spots.

These are areas of low visibility, the perfect position for storage, demand products stuff like crisps if your objective is to sell prepared food. Menu design has the same cold spot, bottom right of the page is the place to put pictures.


Impact Displays.

A bulk display of a single product is also known as a double or mass facing. This is where two or more of a single product are grouped together to increase visibility and have more of an impact.

Horizontal stacking with products displayed along a shelf or Vertical stacking with double facings running down shelves is also very effective and helps maximise sales of premium packaged lagers and premium packaged spirits. Some of the top leading retailers now keep their fridges looking pristine throughout the busiest sessions by serving the products from a different fridge to keep the main fridge looking good and maximising its effectiveness.


Machine Merchandising.

Fruit Machines, are another way for you to increase revenue within your pub. Place the machines in areas where customers tend to wait or spend a lot of time so for example an ideal place to position your fruit machine would be next to the bar, near or en route to the toilets. If people are waiting to be served they will often put some change into the machine to see if they can win, but what if your customer doesn’t have any change? This is where the “Change Policy” should come into place.

When your customers order a drink at the bar, try and give them £1 or £2 coins as part of their change this way if the customer is waiting for a drink at the bar or maybe they are in the toilets they will have change on their person to be able to buy from your vending machines which means yet again, you will be increasing your profits by facilitating the transaction.


The Toilets.

Your toilets are a very important place to advertise to customers. By having a quality display above urinals or on the back of cubicle doors you can grab your customers undivided attention for several minutes. As well as advertising products, you can also advertise upcoming events, wines of the week, new products you have in stock. Some of the products you will have in your business will have millions being spent on them on TV advertising campaigns and much more which means the customers are likely to already have seen this product and be more inclined to want to try it.

Wall vending machines are another great way to increase your revenue, here you will be able to sell everything from pairs of tights, headache tablets, chewable tooth brushes and all sorts of other products which the customer may need. These should be placed beside the hand dryers as you will have your customers attention whilst they dry their hands.


Cross Merchandising.

Lead your customers to the next profitable sale. For example, high cash profit tonics with gin, Danish pastries with a coffee during the day, brandys or whiskies with coffee in the evening.

There are wide range of options available when trying to cross merchandise products to help you increase your sales. Train your staff to think about products that they can upsell to the customer when paying for their order and you will soon see an increase in revenue. Try Red Bull merchandising with Vodka.



“Find out what the customer wants and needs, source the products and price them accordingly and communicate that to your customers through merchandising”


Action points for effective merchandising are:

  • Make your display match what your customers want
  • Remove all unsellable clutter
  • Keep everything clean and well lit
  • Promote products to meet your objectives
  • Establish a “New Product” area
  • Group related items to gain the additional sales
  • Get staff to talk up the sales with product knowledge
  • Sell your most profitable products, Increase your bottom line!


If you would like any help with products that can help you increase your sales and merchandising efforts then please visit or give us a call on 01353 665 141 and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.


© Patrick Huggins – All rights reserved 2018