Sue Smith CBA Board Chairman

There is an excitement about do-it-yourself projects that might easily be replicated in the retail space. Shows like Fixer Upper have inspired millions to turn ordinary objects into beautiful centerpieces that add charm and beauty to a space. Planning for the fall season, we asked ourselves, “How can we translate that trend into our store?”


It seems obvious, but our first challenge was to get creative. For a fall display, instead of rolling out the same wooden table to hold stacks of kids books and pumpkin-spice candles, we considered what else we could use. Creative, new ideas surfaced, and a DIY spirit led us to create a rustic, multilevel display made from stacked apple crates surrounding harvested corn stalks. To build an engaging display requires intentional cross-merchandising, so we pulled products from different departments, adding excitement and intrigue for a multitude of shoppers.

Great DIY merchandising can bring attention to an area of your store that might normally be overlooked. In August, we stretched ourselves when creating a “Dog Days of Summer” display. By creating a trail of white paw prints on the floor, we pulled customers from an area of high-traffic to an area of low-traffic where the display lived. The prints were made from white contact paper, which leaves little-to-no mess when removed from tile or carpeting. To cap it all off, we built and painted a doghouse out of extra cardboard boxes.


We all hope that better merchandising will increase sales and add to the customer experience, and a unique display can also capture attention on social media. Our customers are shopping with phones in-hand and, with the right nudge, will promote your store for you; a creative display might just be the push they need to share about their experience.

Perhaps the biggest trick we’ve found inspiring us to merchandise more creatively is to steal, steal, steal! The internet is littered with Pinterest boards, Instagram pictures, and Google search results showcasing what other stores are doing for their displays. In September, we recreated the famous “I don’t know the title, but it’s blue” book display, which was organically shared onto social media and generated a lot of hype.

Overall, we are intentional about our creativity and using what is around us to create low-cost, creative displays. DIY may be the champion of home renovation, but we find that if we just get our hands a little dirty, the excitement translates to the retail space, too.

For more creative merchandising ideas, check out Sherry Morris’ column on page 8. Sherry and her colleagues, Val Buick and Michelle Amster, have provided multiple ideas for using merchandising to create customer excitement, engagement, and sales in your store through their CBA webinar ( and UNITE onsite training. Then remember to share your own creative ideas through CBA’s Facebook contest, #CBAMerchContest: