Retail shelf space and display rack product placement is a science that big retailers like Walmart, Weston’s, Trader Joe’s, Tesco, and many others have down to a science. Of course, the big boxes sell their shelf and rack placements to the highest bidding and highest selling product manufacturers.
As a small business owner, you need to take placement seriously, to maximise “eye level” selling and overall cohesion of products. Fail to do so, and you’re doing nothing more than throwing poop at a wall and seeing what sticks. Or, as copywriting legend, Gary Halbert, used to say (paraphrased) “Sending a flag up a flag pole and seeing who salutes!”
Product placement is key to attracting the right set of consumer eyes to the products that entice them most, while helping customers connect the dots, so to speak, when it comes to purchasing products that either compliment each other, or flat make sense to purchase at the same time. Seasonal items also need to be carefully placed to maximise sales.
1. Eye level critical to big ticket items.
The concept of eye level sales is nothing new. People are lazy and that’s a fact. Put something in front of their face they like and they’ll buy it. This is how the vast majority of minds operate. Look in any grocery store, and the most expensive and enticing cereals, cookies, treats, toys, etc., are kept.
Of course, the least expensive items will be more at a parent’s eye level, but retailers know kids will bug the heck out of their parents and kick up a fuss to get what they want (been there yourself a time or two?) Consider the age and any other relevant information about the consumer that will be buying the products you want to sell most and put it right at eye level, whatever that product might be.
2. Elevate to entice.
Eye level displays are HUGE for creating best sellers. There’s a big reason why even the most essential of items, such as hair scrunchies are elevated and placed on a rack rather than simply lumping them together in a box customers can grab them from. This is because elevation allows the customer to get a better feel for how a product will look, feel, and/or fit them.
The same thing goes for shoes. Smart retailers like Sportchek place their shoes on risers and low profile racks to allow onlookers to see the tops, sides, and bottom of the shoes they sell easily. Same goes for electronics — display models should be placed in an easy to access area that allows for ample shoulder room for customers to test and look at the item they’re considering to purchase.
3. Use floor displays to market big sellers and big ticket items.
Floor displays need to be played around with using some consistency in order to find what works best. There are so many variables to consider, but think about placing big ticket, on sale, and trending products on floor displays near the entrance, in front of aisles, and near the checkout so customers don’t have to go looking around.
In smaller retail outlets, with nothing more than four walls and a cash, many business owners will place their floor displays throughout the center of the store and use wall space for shelves, etc., to hold products. Sale items perform particularly well at the front of store, front of aisle, or near the checkout. Big ticket items are harder to predict, but tend to do well when colorful manufacturer provided displays and explainer videos are placed with them.
4. Move things around.
Obviously, products that just flat aren’t selling need to go — they just cost you money and depreciate in value while sitting on the shelf. Still, don’t give up on a product before experimenting with their in-store placement. A product that isn’t performing well at the back of store may become a hot-seller when placed next to the checkout. Also, it should go without saying that winter products aren’t going to sell well in summer, and vice-versa. However, at times when walk in traffic is highest, throwing out things like toques, gloves, hand-warmers, etc., at a significant discount over in-season prices can yield big sales.
Often times, niche products like crafts or do-dads of all sorts may require a conversation to be sparked by you or your checkout staff in order to sell well (Ie., for the consumer to make sense of the product and justify its value). A good rule of thumb is to never give up on a product until you’ve moved it at least three times and given it two or three weeks of varied store traffic before deciding it’s not right for your customers.
5. Encourage customer’s to ask for assistance.
This isn’t necessarily a direct placement tip, but rather a common sense way to discourage customers from walking out of the store because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Call point buttons are a great way for customers to ask for immediate help, without the need to go and physically ask for help. Few retailers actually use this, but their initial cost will pay you back for years.
A simple button — or two or three or more — depending on the size of your store, is or are placed at key areas of the store. Customers push the button or speak into a voice box and tell your floor sale’s staff what they need help with. In larger operations, call button technology is often used by employees to communicate with each other, but empowering the customer to get in immediate touch with a rep before they leave the area the product they’re interested is a real game changer.
Using these product placement tips will definitely help elevate your SME to the level you need it to grow to.