Have you ever walked through a store and wondered what to call that small merchandiser?

It’s on the tip of your tongue but can’t quite remember.


So, we’re sharing some of 174 retail merchandising termsthat

Whether you’re new to retail or a veteran, you might find a term or 2 that can up your retail game.


1. Action alley 


Typically one of the main aisles in the store with heavy traffic. Often times, these are located in front of the main entrances in front of the store, making a path to the back of the store.

You’ll often find bulk bins and free standing displays scattered along Action Alley

Ideal display location for impulse purchases; also known as the racetrack.

2. Ad-to-Sales Percentage

The amount of advertising dollars that you spend expressed as a percentage of your sales.

The calculated percentage of sales to the amount of advertising dollars spent on the campaign.

3. Advance Shipping Notice (ASN)

A notice of pending deliveries, similar to a pack list.

The ASN can be used to list the contents of a shipment of goods as well as additional information relating to the shipment, such as order information, product description, physical characteristics, type of packaging, markings, carrier information, and configuration of goods within the transportation equipment. The ASN enables the sender to describe the contents and configuration of a shipment in various levels of detail and provides an ordered flexibility to convey information

4. Anchor Store

An anchor store is one of the largest—if not the largest—store in a shopping area. Typically a well-known department store or retail chain. These stores bring in a ton of foot traffic into your vicinity, which opens up more opportunities for your business to get discovered. also known as “draw tenant”, “anchor tenant”, or “key tenant”

5. Art

The illustration for print ads. Could be photography if the store uses photos. Smaller stores use manufacturer’s mats or photos or artwork. Larger stores create their own art. Also known as artwork.

6. ASP

Average Selling Price.

The average price a retailer sells a product for over a period of time.

7. ATS or ATV

Average Transaction Size

The average amount spent by a customer in a single transaction or purchase.

Calculated by dividing the total dollar value of sales during a given time by the number of transactions during that time. This metric is a valuable way to determine whether the size of your sales is growing.

8. (Store) Audit

The formal process of examining a retail store, evaluating the layout, key areas for product placement, category competition, foot traffic and more. 

9. Augmented Reality (AR)

AR brings computer-generated objects into the real world.

Blurring the lines between the consideration stage and point-of-sale decision making, retailers can use augmented reality to educate customers about their products or take another step back, helping shoppers decide if they should explore specific products at all

10. Average Inventory Cost

Average inventory cost is found by adding the beginning cost of inventory for each month plus the ending cost inventory of the last month in the period.

If calculating for a season, divide by seven. If calculating for a year, divide by thirteen.

11. Backstock

Stock remaining that has not yet been sold, kept palletized in boxes in the back room until it is needed to replenish displays on the sales floor

12.Banner Stands

Banner stands are standalone signage that brands can place throughout the store to feature their product or announce a promotion. Banner stands are inexpensive, mobile, and effectively catch shoppers’ attention.

13. Bar Code

The bar code is a machine readable code made up of alternating dark and light bars. The spacing between these bars signals the reader what the numerical code is. 

14. Beacons

Powered by BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology, Beacons are devices that can transmit messages to other Bluetooth-enabled gizmos, such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. More important, beacons have the capabilities to “recognize” devices based on their location or previous interactions. This enables retailers to send tailored notifications to shoppers depending on where they are in the store or what type of customer they are. Beacons can also be used for in-store analytics purposes. Most solutions come with tools for measuring foot traffic, dwell time, and more, enabling retailers to gather data and further get to know their customers and their store. Read more here.

15. Big Box Store

A big box store is a large establishment (often in a square or rectangular-shaped building), typically a major retail chain. For example Target, Home Depot, and Best Buy.

16. Block Placement


When related products from different categories are stocked together, e.g. snacks with reusable plastic containers or chips with salsa and dip. Also known as cross merchandising.

17. Brick and Click

Term for integrating brick and mortar stores with their e-commerce site. Offering seamless web-to-store services such as in-store pick ups and returns.

18. Budget

Detailed outline of a store’s plan of spending for merchandise, operation, expenses, and sales promotion.

19. Campaign

Planned advertising schedule of specific length – usually up to 13 weeks in length.

20. Card Reader

A magnetic code reading device that is usually built into a register keyboard. 

21. Carrying cost

The cost associated with the inventory investment and storage cost. Also known as holding cost

22. Case Cards

A piece of signage that slips between or into a case of a product to help promote it. Also know as header cards, case backers or case signage.

23. Cashwrap

The main checkout area of a retail store. Most cashwraps have shelves containing merchandise that shoppers can pick up on their way out, ideal for impulse purchases.

24. Charge Back

Deductions on an invoice taken by the retailer for shortages, damages, freight allowances, or other costs.

25. Classification or Category Dominance

When retailers offer a range of merchandise (brands, models, SKUs) that is superior/ greater/broader than competitors. 

26. Click and Collect

This is a service in which retailers enable shoppers to buy items online and pick them up in their physical stores.  Also known as brick and click.

27. Cliente – ling

This is a service in which retailers enable shoppers to buy items online and pick them up in their physical stores.  Also known as brick and click.

28. Clip strip

A retail product display, so named because it is a length of either plastic or metal with clips or hooks at regular intervals, upon which merchandise is hung. These can be found in the aisle, on an endcap or at the registers and is often an impulse purchase. It depends on the retailer for the rules

29. CM (Category Management)

Category Manager. A CM oversees and has expertise in the visual merchandising, price and sale of a specific category.

30. CMA (Calendar Agreement Agreement)

Calendar Marketing Agreement. A schedule that a retailer agrees to follow to promote a manufacturer’s product.

31. CO – OP

An advertising allowance offered by a vendor, payable upon proof of an ad having been run.

32. Color Break

A visual merchandising tactic when products with contrasting packaging colors are put next to each other to make them stand out more.

33. Comp Sales

Comparable-store sales are a measurement of productivity in revenue used to compare sales of retail stores that have been open for a year or more. Historical sales data allows retailers to compare this year’s sales in their store to the same period last year.

34. Consignment Merchandise

This is merchandise that isn’t owned or paid for by the retailer until it’s sold.

Consignment is a business deal whereby the retailer agrees to pay a seller for goods after they have sold. Businesses that operate on consignment are usually retail stores that specialize in a specific type of consumer product. The business takes items from the seller and agrees to pay a percentage of the funds generated if the goods are sold.

35. Contactless Payments


Payment processed by near field communication (NFC), including NFC-enabled credit and debit cards, smart cards, and smartphones enabling customers to complete transactions without physically touching a payment.

Check out our blog post on: What is Contactless Shopping

36. Convenience Products

These are consumer products that are routinely purchased by customers, who usually give little thought or planning to them. They often appeal to a large target market.

37 . Core

The base component of a particular aspect of your business, e.g., ‘core customers’ are the 20% who shop regularly and account for 80% of sales. Can also define merchandise that is central to a retailers success, core is product that is never out of stock.

38. Cost of Goods Sold

The price paid for the product, plus any additional costs necessary to get the merchandise into inventory and ready for sale, including shipping and handling.

39. CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods)

Merchandise that customers use and need to replace on a frequent basis. CPG examples include food, beverages, cosmetics and cleaning products

40. Cross Merchandising

This refers to the practice of displaying or putting together products from different categories to drive add-on sales. Picture this: You’re at the grocery store browsing the liquor section when you see a pack of lemons tacked to the tequila shelf. This is cross merchandising in action. Groceries know that people often take lemons with their tequila shots, so they strategically placed the two items together.

41. Cut Case Display

Utilizing the original shipping packaging to display the product with the top and/or sides removed.

42. Cut In

Making space on a shelf for new or promotional items by shifting or removing other merchandise.

43. DC (Distribution Center)

Where products are stored prior to arriving at a retail store. The velocity of products moving through a distribution center is based on the sales volume occurring in the retail store. The more products people buy, the faster the store will need to replenish with additional inventory from the DC. Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) is 130K+ square feet. Last year, we shipped 470K packages to stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.

44. Dead Stock

Stock that has spent too much time on the shelf and has either expired or become obsolete.

45. Display

A presentation of a store’s products used to attract and entice customers

46. Display Cases

Retail display cases are a type of standalone display that is closed in on all sides by glass or clear plastic. To access the products, shoppers may have to speak to a store associate to retrieve the item from the case for them. Other times, if the case is serving an ornamental purpose, shoppers can find the product on its home shelf. Because of their security, higher-end products will often find their way into these displays.

47. Display Tables

Display tables can host a myriad of products, from apparel to accessories to jewelry. One benefit of display tables is the amount of room they provide for merchandisers to get creative. Create themes around your brand, the season, or holidays by incorporating signage and decorative elements.

48. Dog

This is retail slang for products that aren’t selling. See Dead stock.

49. DOS

Days of supply. The product amount needed to sustain customer demand between restockings.

50. Drop Shipping

This refers to an arrangement between a retailer and a manufacturer/distributor in which the former transfers customer orders to the latter, who then ships the merchandise directly to the consumer. In other words, the retailer doesn’t keep products in stock. Instead, it sends orders and shipment information to the manufacturer/distributor and they will be the ones who will ship to the consumer.

51. Dump Bins


Oversized bins, commonly stocked with individually packaged products. Ideal for impulse and seasonal products. Typically located in heavily trafficked areas around the store.

52. Endcap

A display at the end of an aisle. Endcaps provide a competitive advantage for brands to call special attention to new or seasonal products, or to capitalize on impulse purchases from customers who would otherwise walk by. Premium builds endcaps in stores such as Walgreens and Walmart.

53. Endless Aisle

An endless aisle is a feature of brick-and-mortar stores that enables customers to browse and shop the retailer’s entire catalog of products. So rather than stocking up on every item and SKU, you can implement an endless aisle by giving shoppers access to devices like touch screens and iPads.

54. Entryway Displays

Displaying your products near entryways can put your brand at the top of shoppers’ lists before they even see your competitors. Entryway displays are effective at encouraging impulse buys, as customers at the beginning of their shopping trip are entering the store ready to spend money.

55. Environment/Décor

The surrounding objects and space with which a shopper comes in contact. It involves all the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

56. EPOS

Electronic Point of Sale.

Basically, any computerized system used to record sales and control inventory. Learn more about EPOS for retail.

57. ESL

Electronic Shelf Labeling.

58. E – tailing

Short for “Electronic Retailing”, this is the practice of selling goods over the Internet. Etailers come in all shapes and sizes, from big name giants such as Amazon and Zappos to neighborhood mom & pop stores selling items on their website.

59. Everyday Low Pricing (EDLP)

This is a pricing strategy that promises consumers a consistently low price without comparison shopping or a sale.

60. Facing

The number of identical products (or same SKU) facing out toward the customer. Facings are used in plan-o-grams and when zoning a retail store.

61. Fast Fashion

This is clothing that moves from the catwalk or fashion shows to stores quickly. The clothes represent the most recent trends. Stores like H&M and Zara have built their businesses on fast fashion.

62. Fixture

Any piece of furniture or equipment that is fixed in position and displays or presents products. Fixtures are strategically arranged within the store to streamline the shopping experience and entice customers to buy.

63. Flash Sales

Closely related to daily deals, this term refers to sale events that take place for a limited time. Flash sales can last anywhere from several hours to a couple of days and entice consumers with huge bargains (usually 50% and up). The catch is, shoppers have to complete the purchase ASAP. Otherwise, they risk losing the items to other shoppers or they run out of time and miss their chance to grab the deals they want.

64. Forecast

An estimation of the future demand for goods or services. Demand in the past is used to calculate future demand, with adjustments for trends and seasonal trends.

65. Freestanding Display

A display that stands on its own in an aisle.

66. Frontage

The section of the store directly facing the street.

67. Garment Racks

Garment racks are one of the most common types of clothing displays. Still, not all garment racks are the same — some are circular, some have multiple levels to hang items on, and some include shelves with them as well.

68. Gift with Purchase

A promotional technique that includes giving a gift with the purchase of a specific item. Used extensively in the cosmetics area

69. Gondolas


A freestanding fixture that consists of a flat base and a vertical component featuring notches or peg boards. Stores customize gondolas with shelves, hooks, or other display accessories.

Check out past blog post on Stock Retail Gondolas: Everything you need to know to make the right decision.

70. Green Retailing

This refers to the environmentally-friendly practices that retailers get into. These can include switching a product’s packaging to a recyclable one or giving customers reusable shopping bags instead of plastic. Other practices, such adding solar panels or replacing store lighting with energy-saving alternatives can also be considered as green retailing.

71. Header Cards

These signs usually appear on the shelf tag, next to a product’s price. Header cards can help differentiate your brand from similar items nearby on the shelf. Similar to shelf talkers, brands can use these cards to educate the buyer, point out promotions, or even suggest a way to use the product

72. High Speed Retail

Born out of people’s need for faster services and less wait time, high speed retail is all about making the customer’s shopping experience go by much quicker. Examples of High Speed Retail can include drive-thru grocery stores, pop-up stores, mobile businesses such as food trucks, or any retailer that implements urgent promotions or limited-time sales.

73. Integrated Supply Chain

This is a network of businesses and contractors that work and coordinate closely together to manufacture, transport, distribute, and sell retail goods. Unlike a regular supply chain which is more of a linear process that follows a product from one phase to the next, an Integrated Supply Chain is more collaborative and can entail joint product development, shared information, and common systems.

74. IoT (Internet of Thing)

IoT is the concept of getting objects such as cars or household appliances to “talk” to each other. More and more things can now connect to the web, and this enables them to communicate with one another. Smartphones can connect to speakers, clocks, lamps, and more.

75. Inventory

Inventory is the merchandise a retail store has on hand. The term also refers to the act of counting, itemizing and recording in-stock merchandise or supplies

76. Inventory Carrying Cost

The total cost of carrying inventory, including rent, utilities, salaries, opportunity cost, and inventory costs related to perishability, shrinkage and insurance.

77. Inventory Turnover

measure of the number of times inventory is sold or used in a time period such as a year. It is calculated to see if a business has an excessive inventory in comparison to its sales level. The equation for inventory turnover equals the cost of goods sold divided by the average inventory. Inventory turnover is also known as inventory turnsmerchandise turnoverstockturnstock turnsturns, and stock turnover.

78. IPQ (Initial Purchase Quantity)

Also known as IPO (initial purchase order).

79. Islander

An independent display positioned on the floor in a store’s main aisleway or racetrack. It generally has merchandise on all sides and features a distinct category of products. Premium ensures battery islanders near the registers are merchandised with multiple battery brands. Also known as a quad.

80. Keystone

Keystone pricing is a method of marking merchandise for resale to a price that is double the wholesale price.Layout – The design or plan of a print ad, done in pencil, ink or by computer print-out. The layout indicates the position and sizes of the various elements of the ad – the headline, art, copy, signature, and floor line. Layouts are distributed to copywriters, artist typesetters, buyers and merchandise managers.

81. Keystone Pricing

This is the practice of selling merchandise at a rate that’s double its wholesale price. Retailers use the keystone pricing formula because it’s simple and it usually covers costs while providing a sound profit margin.

82. Keystone Product

A product that is sold for double the wholesale price.

83. Lead Time

The time between order and delivery.

84. LIFO

Last expired, first out. A stock rotation method of placing incoming product directly onto the shelf, pushing older product towards the back

85. Loss Leader

Merchandise sold below cost by a retailer in an effort to attract new customers or stimulate other profitable sales.

86. Loss Prevention

Loss prevention is the act of reducing the amount of theft and shrinkage within a business.

87. Lot size

Also called order quantity, this is the quantity of an item you order for delivery on a specific date.

88. Lumper

A third-party worker hired to load or unload shipments.

89. Main-Line

The main display area in a store.

90. Mannequins

Mannequins are the embodiment of visual merchandising. They display products in a context that gives the shopper a clear visual of the product in use. promote impulse buys as they showcase to the shopper multiple items that they may not have been shopping for in the first place. Thus, be sure to have your products nearby,

91. Markdown

A planned reduction in the selling price of an item, usually to take effect either within a certain number of days after seasonal merchandise is received or on a specific date.

92. Marketing Calendar

A marketing calendar is a tool used by retailers to show where and when marketing events, media campaigns and merchandising efforts are happening, as well as the results.Marketing – The art and science of gathering facts on consumers; determining which of their needs and wants offer you opportunity; deciding which segment can be best served within the scope of your resources; and then formulating a strategy to capture profitably a reasonable share of market through highly focused merchandising, ser Merchandise Mix: A merchandise mix is the breadth and depth of the products carried by retailers. Also known as product.

93. Merchandise Mix

A merchandise mix is the breadth and depth of the products carried by retailers. Also known as product.

94. Merchandise Presentation

A design strategy that involves placing merchandise in a neat and organized manner to make it easy for the customer to shop. While merchandising presentation is not meant to be boring, it is also not designed to be the main attraction in the store.

95. Merchandising

The embellishments which a retailer adds to a basic product, such as price, packaging, special offers, ticketing/labeling, couponing, product-with-purchase, etc.

96. Minimum Advertised Price

A vendor’s pricing policy that does not permit its resellers to advertise prices below some specified amount. It can include the resellers’ retail price as well.Minute – 60-second commercial; 140-160 word script.

97. Mis-Pick


A product that is incorrectly slotted.

98. MOD (Modular)

Different retailers utilize the term MOD in a variety of ways. MOD is yet another word for planogram (POG) and is sometimes used to refer to one 4-foot section of an aisle where a category of goods, like laundry detergent, is on display. For example, the laundry detergent is on MOD 4 in aisle 12

99. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price)

The price that the manufacturer of the product believes the item should sell for in stores.

100. Multichannel Retailing

Selling merchandise through more than one independently managed channel, such as brick-and-mortar stores, catalogs, and online. This is the precursor to omnichannel retail, which aims to tie those channels together.

101. Mystery shopping

When a decoy shopper is sent into a retail store to evaluate the product merchandising or the customer experience. The mystery shopper behaves like a regular customer but then provides feedback to the store, the brand or the employee to help improve its performance

102. Net/Gross Advertising

Gross advertising includes your co-op dollars. Net is your own dollars only.

103. Niche Retailing

This term refers to the practice of selling only to a specific market segment. In other words, if you’re a niche retailer, you specialize in a particular type of product (or sometimes a few closely related ones). Niche retailers can be more nimble with their strategies, compared to broader businesses because they cater to specific audiences. This enables them to identify market segments easily and deploy unique and more targeted strategies to address their market’s needs.

104. Off-Shelf


Any display or promotion that is not part of the regular store, e.g. cardboard POP displays or beverage towers.

105. Omni-Channel Retailing

Consider this as the next generation of cross-channel and multi-channel retail. Omni-channel means establishing a presence on several channels and platforms (i.e. brick-and-mortar, mobile, online, catalog etc) and enabling customers to transact, interact, and engage across these channels simultaneously or even interchangeably.

106. OOS (Out of Stock)

When a product sells out, it leaves an empty slot on the shelf. Premium’s Shared Services merchandising team ensures our clients’ products are not OOS by visiting more than 8,000 retail locations each week

107. Operating Expenses

The sum of all expenses associated with the normal course of running a business.Outpost Display – A secondary display – placed outside the department. e.g., at doorways or high traffic areas.

108. OSA (On-Shelf Availability)

Walmart uses the acronym OSCA, meaning On-Shelf Customer Availability.

109. OSDs

Overs, shorts and damages. Any discrepancy in the product ordered and those received by the retailer.

110. Pack out


The total number of packages of an item for the shelf to be at capacity or fully stocked. Packing out refers to the process of filling the store shelves with replenishment products from the store’s backroom supply. Premium packed out 1MM+ unique products in 2018.

111. Pallet


A wooden structure used to support goods while they’re being moved

112. PDQ

Predetermined display quantity. A pre-made display unit that requires little to no assembly. Also called a sidekick, shipper, or pre-pack.

113. Plan-O-Gram

A detailed plan of floor, wall and fixture layout. It requires a mapping of what items go where for each square foot or product frontage of shelf pace, wall, or hanging rack. Particular emphasis is put on placing the most profitable products in an advantageous purchasing position.

114. Planogram

A visual representation of how all the facings in an aisle should look and be organized. Also called a POG or schematic

115. PLU – Price Look Up

A system with the PLU feature will display the description and price of an item when the item number is entered or scanned at point of sale. It is also printed on the customer’s receipt and this is helpful for the customer to remember what he/she bought. It is also a good deterrent to price ticket switching in some cases.

116. POG (Planogram)

Visual diagrams that show exactly where to place specific products on shelves within an aisle in order to maximize sales. Think of a POG as a blueprint to follow as you build a section of facings for several products. Also known as plan-o-grams or schematics.

117. Point-of-purchase Display

Point-of-purchase displays, or POP displays, are marketing materials or advertising placed next to the merchandise it is promoting. These items are generally located at the checkout area or other location where the purchase decision is made. For example, the checkout counters of many convenience stores are cluttered with cigarette and candy POP displays. 

118. POS (Point-of-Sale) System

At its most basic level, a POS system functions as a cash register or till system that lets retailers ring up sales and keep a record of those transactions in their stores. But thanks to advancements in technology, POS systems – or ePOS systems – can now extend beyond the point of sale. These days, many POS solutions serve as retail management systems that handle everything from sales and inventory, to customer management and ecommerce.

119. POP (Point of Purchase)

Promotional collateral or signage that is not part of the regular store but is placed next to the product it’s promoting. POP may call customer attention to a discounted price, new packaging, coupons or special offers. Also known as shelf talkers or IRCs (Instant Redeemable Coupons)

120. Pop-Up Store


Pop-Up-Stores are short-term shops or sales spaces that come and go within a given period. These stores can be set up in empty retail spaces, mall booths, or even in the middle of a park.

121. POS

Point of sale. Where purchases are made in the store. Also called a cash wrap or checkout counter.

122. Prestige Pricing

Usually implemented by high-end retailers and lifestyle brands, prestige pricing is a strategy in which an item is priced at a high level in order to denote exclusivity, high quality, or luxury. When an item is prestigiously priced, it is meant to attract status-conscious individuals or consumers who want to buy premium products.

123. Private Label

These are brands owned not by a manufacturer, but by a retailer or supplier. Retailers and suppliers purchase the goods, then label and market them under their name.

124. Product Life Cycle

This term is used to describe the series of stages that each commercial product goes through when it hits the market. These stages include introduction, growth in sales revenue, maturity, and decline. You must pay attention to the life cycle of each of your products. Take note of their performance at each stage, and gather info that you can use to improve future products or offerings.

125. Quad

A display with four sides of merchandise.

126. Quantity Discount

This is an incentive that’s offered to the buyer whereby purchasing an item in bulk will result in a reduced price per unit. Sometimes it’s only a minuscule difference, but a difference nonetheless. Seeking out quantity discounts can make a world of difference to small and up-and-coming businesses.

127. Quantity on hand

This describes the physical inventory that a retailer has in possession at the store. Also known as on hand or OH for short

128. Quick Response

Quick response is the name given to the system that immediately replenishes goods based on consumer demand.

It is also sometimes referred to as JIT II (Just in Time level two) or in retailing as ECR (Efficient Consumer Response). The use of current technology links the manufacturer, supplier, retailer and retail outlet together to speed up communications, reduce paperwork, reduce inventory carrying costs, and have what the customer wants when they want it.

Primarily involves Electronic Data Interchange – EDI and Universal Product Code – UPC.

129.  RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

Method for embedded tag to communicate SKU and other information from a product to a receiver. Currently being used at the pallet level for receiving, slow adoption at the Point of Sale due to both cost and some technical issues.

130. Receipt Printer

A specially built narrow carriage printer that used to print customer receipts.

131. Relationship Retailing

This is a strategy that businesses implement to build loyalty and forge long-term relationships with customers. Relationship Retailing can come in the form of loyalty programs, personalized experiences, or superb customer service.

132. Reverse Pick

Scanning items in bins to see if they will fit out on the shelf, rather than scanning items on the shelf to see if there is stock in the bin.

133. RSA (Retail Sales Associate) or RSP (Retail Salesperson)

An employee who works directly for the retailer, restocking, loading, answering customer questions and helping maintain the store. 

134. Sales Promotion

A short-term incentive to initiate trial or purchase. Sales promotion is one of the elements of the promotional mix. The primary elements in the promotional mix are advertising, personal selling, direct marketing and publicity/public relations.

135. Scratch

A product removed from an order because it was out of stock at the manufacturer or warehouse.

136. Segment (Consumer or Market)

A single part of the market, separable from the rest of the market. It can be clearly identified as being different by a set of distinct and common characteristics such as demographics, lifestyle, geographic location, or buying habits.

137. Self-Facing Tray

A shelf management solution that pushes new product forward each time a product is removed, e.g. cans of soup roll forward to fill the empty space each time a can is taken out.

138. Self-Serve

In retail, this means letting customers select and pay for goods themselves, without requiring the assistance of a live staff member. Vending machines, kiosks, as well as self-serve checkout lanes in grocery stores all fall under this category.

139. Services

Extras offered by stores to make shopping more pleasant. Includes free parking credit, snack and restaurant facilities, gift wrap, post office, night openings, delivery, and other ‘fringe’ benefits that discount retailers do not always offer.

140. Shelf Tag 

A product’s price tag, affixed to the shelf it sits on.

141. Shelf Talker


A sign attached to a shelf to attract a customer’s attention to a certain product or promotion. Also called a dangler.

142. Showrooming

Showrooming is the consumer practice of examining products in a store, only to buy them for a lower price online. Shopping and price check apps perpetuate showrooming because they allow shoppers to compare prices and products using their phone as they browse the store.

143. Shrinkage

The difference between the stock you actually have and what you have on paper. This occurs due to employee theft, shoplifting, human error or poor inventory management.

144. Sidekick


Stock-keeping unit. The finest identification of a specific item either by itself or in a range.i.e., one basic shoe style requires approximately 30 different SKUs which are the combination of the range of sizes multiplied by the range of widths stocked. This is increased by 100% each time a color is added in the full size and width range.

145. Signage

Visual aids that guide customers throughout their shopping experience. From directing them to different departments to providing more product specific information as well as creating an instagrammable shot.

Check out our past post on 4 Types of Illuminated Signage

146. Slat Wall

Slat wall is a building material used in shop fitting for wall coverings or display fixtures. It consists of panels, usually 4 ft. by 8 ft., made with horizontal grooves that are configured to accept a variety of merchandising accessories. Also known as slot wall

Check out our past post on3 TWall Types: The Good and the Bad

147. Slot

Place for one product to be stocked on a shelf.

148. Slotting Fee

A fee that some retailers charge for each slot on a shelf a product occupies

149. Social Commerce

The ability to make a purchase from a third-party company within the social media experience. An example of this would be browsing and comparing products on a business’ Facebook page and then making the purchase directly through Facebook, as opposed to being redirected to the company’s website to complete the transaction. Similarly, a potential customer may see a Tweet about a product and then be able to purchase it directly via Twitter instead of being redirected to the retailer’s own website.

150. Stock Rotation

Organizing products based on freshness and expiration date. 

151. Store Loyalty

When a customer likes and trusts a store, and continually makes purchases there without being swayed by advertising or special offers, this is known as store loyalty. Retailers can encourage this by offering rewards programs or special discounts for regular customers. A good example of this would be the Starbucks loyalty card, where customers are offered free drinks.

152. Store Positioning

The position a store takes in respect to price, trendiness, service, assortments vs. competition.

153. Suggestive Selling

Suggesting the purchase of related items in addition to the original purchases, like a tie with a shirt, blouse with skirt, hats with jackets and so on.

154. T- Stand

This is a typical merchandising fixture used to display clothing. It can have straight or waterfall arms.

155. Target Market

The group of consumers to whom you are directing your business concept.

156. Tearsheet

An ad torn from the publication in which it ran. This is considered proof that the ad ran on the day it was supposed to and represents proof of performance for collecting co-op money.

157. Top stock

Additional inventory that is stored on top of store shelves for quick re-stocking to the products’ home location.

158. Top stock cart

Merchandisers often use utility carts to move products from the backroom and onto the store’s shelves. Also known as rocket cart.

159. Temporary price reduction.

A promotional strategy to generate high demand to sell through excess inventory.

160. Trading Area

The area from which your store draws the majority of its customers.

161. Trading Up

In a “good, better, best” offering of merchandise or services the action of selling the customer the better or best solution for their needs. Leads to better solutions as the customer gets more utility and benefits from the better or best item or service.

162. Tribetailing

This term refers to the retail practice of tailoring everything you do–from your store design, to your ads, to your employees–for a specific tribe or group of people. With Tribetailing, you’re not trying to please the public or the masses. Instead, you’re zeroing in on a particular niche and are catering to them and only them.

163. Unified Brand Experience


In retail, this concept is all about establishing a consistent brand or identity throughout multiple channels or platforms, including brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, or mobile. So whether you’re marketing and selling to customers face-to-face, on your mobile app, or doing it online, you’ll be able to deliver the same messages and give them the same great experience. Successfully implementing this involves properly training your staff, investing in the right tools, and more importantly, having one clear strategy and message.

164. Unit Load

Items arranged or packaged as a single unit on a pallet for easy storage and transportation

165. UPC (Universal Product Code)

Universal Product Code. A number with 12 digits that is assigned to each item and is the same across all retailers. Also usually associated with a unique EAN barcode. 

SKUs and UPCs are commonly confused. The difference is that SKUs are unique to a single retailer whereas a UPC is placed on the product by the manufacturer and applies to that product no matter what store is selling it. If two stores are selling the same product, that item will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

166. UPT (Units Per Transaction)

Units Per Transaction. UPT is the metric that measures how many items a customer purchases in any given transaction. It can be calculated daily or over a longer period. This is an important metric that helps measure the growth of a business, as well as employee effectiveness in certain retail environments.

167. Value Offer

A strategic option or alternative to emphasize value (value = price x quality x shopping environment or service, rather than just ‘price’ or ‘discount price’).

168. Visual Aid

An item of illustrative matter, such as a film, slide, or model, designed to supplement written or spoken information so that it can be understood more easily.

169. Visual Merchandising:

The practice in the retail industry of optimizing the presentation of products and services to better highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase.

170. Volume

The gross amount of business a store does in a period of time. The difference between volume and the cost of doing business is profit.

171. Wand

A handheld electronic device used to scan barcodes and record quantities.

172. Webrooming


This is the practice of looking at products online before buying them in actual brick-and-mortar stores. It’s the opposite of showrooming, where customers look at products in physical stores only to buy them online. Image-based websites and social networks such as Pinterest or Instagram help perpetuate webrooming. Users see items that they like while browsing these sites and then go out in the real world to test or try them on.

173. Wholesale 

Wholesale is the sale of goods, generally in large quantity, to a retailer for resale purposes.

174. Window Displays

Window displays, also known as window dressings, are exactly what they sound like — product displays that are set up in the window of a retailer. These displays are extremely lucrative as they represent the retailer and can be the deciding factor on whether a shopper enters the store in the first place


New merchandising terms are emerging as retail transforms to meet the demands of todays’ and tomorrow’s shoppers.


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