What Is Cross-Merchandising? – The Strategies You Need

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Are you planning to cross-merchandise the products at your store? Do you want to know which is the best form you should go with?

Here have a look a what is cross-merchandising.

Cross merchandising is a strategy. It’s used for marketing and displaying products.

The products belong to different categories. It’s done to generate more revenue for the store.

There are some other names used for this strategy. And these are add-on sales or secondary product placement.

What Is Cross-Merchandising? – Basic Forms

The main goal of cross-merchandising is to link different products. Like complementary products used in association with each other.

It also improves the customer experience. Because it provides them all the related goods at the same place.

Thus customers get to save their time.

The display of merchandise plays an important role. Because it helps to attract the customers into the store.

So the display of products influences the buying behavior of customers.

The presentation of products is very essential. It creates the first impression in the mind of the consumer.

The summary of the cross-merchandising concept is:

– Display of unrelated products together.

– The retailer makes a profit by linking different products. These products belong to different categories and are not related in any sense.

– Cross merchandising makes the shopping experience good. Because it saves precious time for customers.

– It helps the customers to know various options. These options can complement the product.

There are several different forms of cross-merchandising. And these are as follows:

1. Displays Cross-Merchandising:

Displays exhibit a series of products that are linking to each other. Because these products make a complete package or solution to the customer’s needs.

This technique shows how many different products get displayed together.

Displays Cross-Merchandising
Displays Cross-Merchandising

For E.g. a clothing store displays an outfit and accessories together on a mannequin. And a furniture store showing a furniture set and electronics together.

2. Secondary Placements Cross-Merchandising:

This involves showing products of different categories on the same shelf. It makes the customers able to relate the products at the time of buy.

This technique saves customers’s time. So they don’t have to travel down another aisle.

Also saves them from buying extra products that they don’t need.

This strategy is in use by the supermarkets. Where bread is next to the butter or margarine aisle.

3. Link Suggestions Cross-Merchandising:

Link suggestion tells about the efforts of eCommerce platforms. And these platforms encourage more purchases by displaying a link or connection.

Link Suggestions Cross-Merchandising
Link Suggestions Cross-Merchandising

This connection links the complementary goods on the page of a specific product.

There are no physical constraints.

It also tailors product suggestions according to the consumption history of a person.

Essential Tips For Cross-Merchandising:

While doing the cross-merchandising, following these points you can be in benefit.

1. Place the opposite products in such a way that the customers can relate to them.

2. Avoid giving a cluttered look to the store. And make a neat arrangement of products.

3. Make sure that products have some logical connection with each other.

Essential Tips For Cross-Merchandising
Essential Tips For Cross-Merchandising

If you display neckties with laptops, there would be no sense. Instead, it will fail to excite the customers.

The customer would buy any one of them. But, placing laptop bags next to laptops would be sensible. And there would be chances that customers will buy both of them.

– Creating the desired impact ensures that the merchandise must complement each other.

– Try to use suitable fixtures like pegs, hangers, and mannequins. And display the goods in such a way that customers pick all them.

Key Factors About Cross-Merchandising:

Here are some key takeaways about cross-merchandising:

1. The most effective cross-merchandising programs build traffic and loyalty. Programs that help consumers find meal solutions fall into this category.

2. If retailers put their own unique spins on common cross-merchandising strategies. They would have more customer impact as compared to those who don’t.

3. If general merchandising gets incorporated into cross-merchandising. The results would be more positive.

Key Factors About Cross-Merchandising
Key Factors About Cross-Merchandising

See Also: What Is A Joint Venture – A Complete Overview

Who Can Benefit From Cross-Merchandising?

Retailers who look forward to increase their sales can take advantage of this. This strategy is used in supermarkets, corner stores, and food marts.

The reason for using this strategy by grocery stores is that these are large in area.

Yet, the distributor utilizes this strategy to increase his sale.

Here are some stores which use cross-merchandising:

1. Box Stores:

These stores use this strategy for promoting new products. Products like stationery and feature films.

And they use this for creating seasonal and special exhibits.

2. Grocery Stores:

These stores need to generate the sale of complementary eating products. So they adopt this strategy for this purpose.

Grocery Stores
Grocery Stores

3. Alcohol Stores:

Alcohol stores adopt the strategy of placing products at the secondary level. It’s a form of cross-merchandising.

The strategy gets used to sell different products together. For instance, beverages with snacks.

4. Convenience Stores:

These stores use this strategy to increase impulse purchases. And for the complementary purchases e.g. buying a cake with coffee.

5. Present Stores:

Present stores which are in prodigies and spectacles go with this strategy. Because they use cross-merchandising for selling combinations of gifts or products.

These things are essentials for the journey. And people can’t move without these. 

6. Boutiques:

Boutiques are using it to manipulate ideas in consumers. They do so by using cultural and seasonal displays.

For example, selling outfits for a specific occasion and holiday displays.

Boutiques In Cross-Merchandising
Boutiques In Cross-Merchandising

Strategies Of Cross-Merchandising

There are different ways of cross-merchandising products. The effective displays prove to be very artistic and unpredicted.

And even such displays provide very practical clues to the customers.

The strategies of cross-merchandising results in very good and loyal customers.

These customers are also satisfied and help to increase the product sale.

Have a look at some of these strategies:

1. Complementary Merchandising:

This is the general and traditional form of cross-merchandising. The items which are Complementary involve those which get consumed together.

This type of product placement increases the impulse sale of a small item.

Complementary Merchandising
Complementary Merchandising

For instance, shopping marts place cookies and milk or coffee side by side.

Such kinds of placements make the buyer make impulsive purchases.

Some marts prefer to put sizeable products side by side to boost the sales of both.

For instance, some of the marts put drinks and potato chips together to increase drink sales.

When the customers buy a pack of potato chips, they might realize the need for a drink too.

2. Substantive Merchandising:

Substantive merchandising highlights a specific topic or subject. For example, a special occasion like Christmas.

Substantive Merchandising
Substantive Merchandising

In this merchandising, the displays often bring together the products from various departments.

It does so to give a clue or to present a plan.

On normal days, such things might be in different aisles of the mart. Yet, these have to go together to a particular event.

For example, back at school displays contain backpacks and school essentials. All these items in one place for the school display.

See Also: Is A Business Degree Worth it 

3. Substitute Products:

This type places a simple product with a traditional product. This substitute product takes less time for the buyer or manipulates ideas.

This strategy offers a higher profit margin for retailers.

For instance, some stores offer cans of pre-diced onions next to regular onions.

4. Contrasting Product:

This type of cross-merchandising gets used for making items stand out.

Its purpose is to pull-out the realization of limited-timed or seasonal products.

Contrasting Product
Contrasting Product

For instance, during springtime, retailers display marshmallows all around the stores. So the buyers know that marshmallows are available.

When valentine’s day is about to come. Retailers display flowers in red packing at unpredicted points to remind the people about the expected event.

5. Instinct Purchase:

It’s another type of the above-mentioned strategy. Though most of such tactics are for driving instinct purchases.

There are specific instinct products exhibited by merchandisers. 

A very general example of this is the checkout aisle at a grocery store that contain cheap stuff. And these are lighters, magazines, hair ties.

There is nothing similar between these products. These are popular items. And shoppers buy these at a sudden thought.

Different retailers place different products in the checkout aisle. They do this as per their rule.

Some of them might place phone chargers, sunglasses, and beverages.

These products do not relate and the purpose is to attract more instinctive purchasers.

6. Top-selling Items:

It’s like putting different or conflicting products together. Merchandisers adopt this strategy to attract people to top-selling products.

Top-selling Items
Top-selling Items

Stores use this strategy for selling famous and popular books. They can also use movies, music, and popular toys.

These products are in the best-selling category.

There may be separate exhibits at the last of the aisles. Or it can be placed before the exit counters or near the entrance.


Cross merchandising is a practice of displaying products from different categories.

The aim is to increase the sales of the products.

It’s a product placement strategy and it works to increase sales. It increases sales by reminding customers of a need.

It also helps by offering a convenient solution. And by sparking a brilliant idea.

Leave a comment to share your thoughts.


Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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