Cross-merchandising is a marketing practice by displacing products from different categories in close proximity to get exposure so that consumers interested in a particular product might purchase a related product as well.

Te reason being that if someone is going to buy a particular product, then it is very likely that he or she would probably buy a related or complementary product too.

For example, someone buying a fish tank to set up an aquarium is probably going to need to buy pumps and filters too.

Cross-merchandising is practiced by almost all types of businesses, especially both online and offline retailers.

This can be most commonly observed in practice in large retailers like supermarkets and online ecommerce stores.

For example, an anchor tenant in the form of a hypermarket might locate the section for fresh milk next to the section for cheese. This is partly because they are both dairy products and people who enjoy milk might love cheese as well.

An online store might also place a banner that sends a visitor to the wireless headphones section of the website when he is browsing the section for smart phones.

The cross-marketing of related products are often be easy to understand. But modern marketing tactics has taken cross-merchandising to a whole new level compared to related products and categories.

These days, cross-merchandising can be conducted for:

  • Complementary products
  • Under a same theme
  • Popular items
  • Bestsellers
  • Promotions
  • Newest products
  • Impulse consumer goods
  • Same brand
  • Items other customers interested in a product are also interested in
  • etc

Complementary products are like car rims being displayed together with car tyres.

Different categories can often be marketed under the same theme like festivals such as Christmas and Halloween.

Cross merchandising of popular items can refer to the placement of products that generate the most interest from consumers. It is important to note that distinction between popular and bestselling products. The former can refer to products with the most searches or getting the most eyeballs.

Cross marketing of best selling products with high sell-through can often group the products that are generating the most sales revenue either by units sold or sales figures.

Sometimes promotional events are specifically launched with the theme of low prices. For example, an event for “All Under $10” would be stocked with all types of products from different categories as long as their retail prices are below $10. This allows for a lot of cross-selling of unrelated products as bargain hunters turn up.

For people who like fresh innovative products that are newly released into the market, a section for latest products can generate a lot of buzz.

Impulse products are also often placed near cashiers of retailers seemingly have no linkage to each other except that they are often purchased on impulse. Batteries and candy which are totally unrelated to each other can often be found near cashiers when buying temperature is high.

When cross-merchandising is done on the same brand, many different category of products can be marketing to prospects who identify with the brand. This can often be observed in road shows set up by famous brands.

In the online world of retailing, customers browsing products they are interested in can often be shown advertisements or carousels that display other products that other visitors who viewed the same item have shown interest in. This can often lead visitors into discovering products that they didn’t know they would love.

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