Five techniques masterfully demonstrated by store entries.

CBA’s Spring Merchandising Contest is a case study of how the best tips and techniques come from people who are doing the work. The contest showcased retailer-created spring displays. Retailers submitted photos to illustrate merchandising techniques that work visually and invite people to shop. (To see all the entries, visit CBA’s Facebook page: #CBAMerchContest – Spring 2018.)

Congratulations to the winning store: Christian Supply of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This store won a three-night stay at UNITE 2018 in Nashville, free admittance to CBA’s Retail Academy, and a complimentary membership package. A new contest coming this fall will offer a prize-winning package of UNITE 2019 housing, along with select free product from the UNITE 2018 Gifts Ignited displays. Keep an eye on CBA’s weekly e-newsletter for details.

A review of store entries demonstrates five techniques that comprise the basics of visual merchandising.


Several retailers used a pyramid to their advantage. A pyramid starts with height and tapers down to bring the eye from the top to the bottom of the display. The basic shape of the display is a triangle.

Dove Christian Supply in Dothan, Alabama, featured an art canvas at the top of the pyramid and layered more art at varying heights on nesting tables to create both a pyramid and various levels and layers to see. Kudos for a wall décor display that proves a slat wall isn’t the only place to display art.


Acrylic risers can be useful tools to add height to a display. But other things can be visually more interesting and add a little pizazz to almost any display. Gospel Shop in Berlin, Ohio, used crates to create different heights to create an eclectic display featuring vintage items with books and jewelry.


Novelty attracts attention. Faith and Life Bookstore in Newton, Kansas, put a banner to work as an attention grabber.

The Salt Cellar of Lawton, Oklahoma, used a mailbox and garden-inspired props to put the promise of spring into a shopper’s step to see what’s fun to buy.


Logos Bookstore of Kent, Ohio, told a nice color story using inspirational books. This display uses color to say “here’s what you need to inspire you.” Lavender and turquoise made this feel fresh and inviting. The product is visible to the eye because there are layers of height so everything in the display can be seen easily.

Speaking of great storytelling, Banner Books Parable Christian Store of St. Joseph, Michigan, told a tale using layering, color, product style, and a spring garden theme.


The focal point gives the eye a place to land and start viewing. Displays without a focal point can leave shoppers feeling confused.

In the blink of an eye, Logos Bookstore in Alexandria, Kentucky, created a product story about love. The pyramid is in play along with a red-and-white color story and a focal point—the heart—that make a clear merchandising statement.

The winning entry well-employs all the basics of merchandising. This display pops pinks and greens against white and makes a very eye-pleasing display. The inviting spring theme starts with the flower flag focal point, layers galvanized-top nesting tables with products, and uses a variety of props to suggest a spring theme.

Many wonderful entries had so much to offer in terms of ideas that any retailer can use them. Thanks to all who shared their expertise to sharpen merchandising skills for the good of all.

—Sherry Morris