When you put your store together, do you ever consider how your customer sees the merchandise? Do you consider what you put between the front door and the various kinds of food you sell?

If you haven't, take a moment and walk through your store. You might be surprised how little of the cool stuff you offer that isn't easily seen by customers who are in a hurry.

Customers who buy dog food from you will probably want any number of supplies for their dogs. It is your job to ensure that when they walk from your front door to their brand of dog food and back again that they see every group of product you sell. They don't need to see every item, just the common "add-ons" that people will buy most visits. If you've done your job, they will know where to walk to see what they want.

I really hate to admit how often I will forget to buy the dog chews my dog inhales at bedtime. When I go to some stores I am so rushed and focused on remembering the dog food my wife asked me to pick up that I simply forget. I never once see dog chews to remind me that we are out at home. So, I go home to a sad wife and sad puppy — who wants that?

The solution to this problem can be complicated. Or sometimes the solution is simple but involves a lot of work. Do the work that solves the problem. Find ways to lay out your store so that when your customers walk from the front door to their dogs' food, the layout directs your customer to see the products most likely interesting to them.

Some dog food vendors will offer free store diagrams for you it doesn't hurt to look at their suggested diagram. They want you to sell more of their products, so they want to help.

Now it doesn't make a lot of sense to have your cat tree section cross-merchandised with your dog food, so don't do that. Plan on putting items like your favorite dogs chews, dog biscuits or dog toys in places easy to see and grab on the path to and from the dog food. Once people grab a second item, they are thinking about what else they should buy and will be looking for it on the way out of your store.

Also, dog food merchandised next to or near the cash register which is right next to the front door is not ideal. This sort of situation leads the customer to come in and walk straight to their brand of dog food. The customer will then grab a heavy bag of food and rush it up to the counter where they pay and go.

This really could be an easy add-on in some cases had they just seen other items. Worse, the food is often an expensive brand, so the customer would have probably added something with a better margin than pet food had they just seen it on their path through the store.

Seeing your own store with "new eyes" is hard, granted. Changing your habits (sometimes old habits) can be even harder. But making shopping easier for each customer will mean a higher average ticket per customer.

This culmination of thoughtful merchandising will result in a better shopping experience for everyone more sales per customer and easier sales for you.