For retailers, promotional concepts and endcap displays can often change the timing of sales, but not necessarily increase overall category sales. But cross merchandising can effectively drive incremental sales volume for the retailer by enticing customers to purchase additional items that were not on their shopping list.

What is cross merchandising? Cross merchandising brings together complementary products in one place (e.g. smores ingredients in a single display that includes graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars), triggering impulse purchases and a larger basket size. Plus, customers appreciate the convenience of having everything in one spot. It’s a win, win.

But cross merchandising is not a simple technique to execute. There are many challenges to planning and implementing a successful cross merchandising promotion in-store or online.

Over the coming months, the CMA will present a series of articles to examine the challenges and offer examples and solutions of how category managers can boost incremental sales via the powerful promotional technique known as cross merchandising.