Dec 5, 2012

Posted by in Business | 0 Comments

The Science of Shelving


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The physical location of your products can play a huge part in how well they sell. Think about your local mega-multi-purpose retailer. They might feel as big as a warehouse, but they aren’t arranged that way. Every item is placed for maximum sales efficiency. Retailers have funded hundreds of studies on customer shopping habits. They know which spots on the shelves and which shelves in the stores perform the best.

We sifted through some of those studies for you and came up with the following tips. Whether you have a smoothie store or a gym with a nutrition kiosk, these tips could help you move more products.


Get them in the strike zone

When most customers enter a store, they’ll walk in about 10 feet and then slow or stop to scan the room. That’s the strike zone. This is where you direct them toward your big sellers or catch their eye with signage. Use this space to draw them further into the store. You could set up samples, or place a rack of small grab and go items.

See for yourself:

Check out the strike zone at Target. You’ll likely find a Starbucks or snack stop on one side and a small area of cheap seasonal products (toys, coloring books, decorations) on the other. Parents get pulled one way, the kids go the other. Either one leads to more money for Target.


Use destination products to your advantage

Every store has destination products. These are the staple items your customers come for. In grocery stores, destination products include eggs, milk, bread and meat (all always in the back). For a gym or sports nutrition store, it could be whatever your top seller is. What do people come back for? What product are your regulars always grabbing? Surround that product with smaller complimentary items for easy impulse buys.

See for yourself:

Go to the TV section at Best Buy. That’s a big destination product. Notice how the wall of TVs bleeds into side aisles with smaller TVs. Those smaller TV aisles then spill over into the adjacent video game section. And those TVs in the video game section are running, you guessed it, the latest video games. Hello impulse buy!


Look them in the eyes

Eye level products perform better. One study found that a simple jar of grape jelly saw a 12 percent boost in sales just by moving from the waist-high shelf to the eye-level shelf. It makes sense too-items that are in your natural field of view are easier to notice. One exception: heavier objects actually do better between waist and eye level. Customers don’t want to pull something off a high shelf that could smash a toe if they dropped it.

See for yourself:

The way a product is positioned on a shelf is important too. The newest and best selling books at Barnes & Noble are not only closest to eye level, but are also often faced out so you can see the cover.


Build bundles to upsell

Bundling items into hard-to-resist combinations is a great way to upsell. Create product bundles on your shelves by placing mini kiosks of complimentary products in an aisle. Or leave them by the checkout area and mention them when customers buy a bundle item. “Did you know for $2 more you can get this bar with your protein powder?” Bundles can also help move slower selling items. Shoppers are more likely to buy those iffy items if adding them to the order seems like a deal.

Store Bundle GraphicSee for yourself:

Go to any fast food restaurant (for research!). The fast food industry is the king of bundles, though they call them combos. Try and order a sandwich and a drink. You’ll likely be asked if you want to make it a combo. It’s just a few cents more, plus you get curly fries. Movie theaters do the same thing with expensive snack packs, enticing you with “Bundle & Save” messaging.


These tips might seem simple, almost no-brainers, but a lot of money and time has been dumped into making sure they work. And they do. Just ask Bruce Ho, owner of Nutrition Depot in Houston, TX. He endorses the tactics above, but adds in order for products to fly off shelves, those shelves need to be stocked first.

“We have a massive display of merchandise. The key to selling volume is having lots of inventory,” Ho said. “If you don’t have a lot of product, you look like you’re going out of business. You want to make it easy for the customer-you’ve got three or four seconds when they first look around to capture their attention.”

Ready to stock your shelves with the hottest products? Call your sales rep now. They’ve got their finger on the pulse of the industry. They’ll get you the best products, and now you know where to put them.

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Identify your strike zone and take advantage of it. Samples, signage, best sellers, promotions are just a few examples of what to offer your customer in that zone.

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