The process of creating an image of a product in the minds of the customers is known as positioning. This is what helps in leaving a first impression of brands and their products in the minds of prospective consumers. It helps to create a perception of a product for the consumers as well. Many customers who walk into a store with the intention of doing a little shopping don’t realize just how much the retailers have thought about positioning the products they see on the shelves and in the aisles.

Product placement is so much more than what simply looks nice and what fits where. There is a certain science behind shelf placement in grocery stores and it greatly affects the profit retailers earn. It all starts with what a general customer thinks right from the second they enter the store and how that makes them react.

Types of Product Placement

One placement technique includes everyday items, also known as ‘destination items’ being placed at the back end of the store. This way the customer has no choice but to pass by many strategically placed impulse items in order to get to them. This increases the likelihood of the customer buying one or even more of those strategically placed items. It will also take longer to get to the destination items so the customer is exposed longer to in-store marketing and obviously, the store controls what you see and how you see it.

Essentially, correct product positioning can either send the sales through the roof or never really let them reach their full potential. Similar products may be placed together or products that go together to make an amazing recipe are also often placed next to one another to raise their chances of being bought together. Some of the major placement techniques used by retailers are:

  • Block Placement – items related to one another are placed together.
  • Vertical Placement – merchandise is placed on more than just one shelf level.
  • Commercial Placement – products with higher perceived value are placed at a desirable position and items with lower value are given less space and are placed on less desirable shelf levels.
  • Margin Product Placement – more profitable products are given better positions.
  • Market Share Placement – products that generate the highest revenue are placed at positions where customers can easily find and reach them.

Many studies reveal that customers start scanning the shelves from left to right, starting at eye-level and then working their way down. Booming marketers make use of such techniques as well.

Planograms—drawings or visual diagrams that detail where every product should be placed inside a store—are another successful tool that retailers use to boost up their businesses. The detailing includes specific departments, aisles and even shelves. Specially made software is used to design a planogram. It can either be very complex and intricate or extremely simple, it all depends on the size of store as well as the number of aisles and shelves. Other than helping with product placement and boosting-up sales, retail spaces also have other goals like improving visual appearance for the purpose of pleasing customers and improving inventory control. Planograms also help utilize space to its full potential and space wastage is avoided.

You can either spend loads of cash for an expensive planogram, design one on your own computer or even draw one using a paper and pen – but there are a few tips to consider when designing one. When creating the placement strategy always be sure to leave enough room for customers to easily move around, this may often be overlooked. Check-out area and customer service areas should be placed at such a point that they are easily visible to the customers as soon as they enter the store. Experimenting is always a good option – experiment with alternating placement of high-selling items and low-selling items at eye level to determine which placement brings in the most sales. The line of sight should always stay uncluttered, it will help in making the store look cleaner and bigger and also lower shoplifting incidents.

Promotion Beyond Packaging

Although important, product positioning and placement aren’t the only things affecting your sales. The packaging of the products that retailers are selling also affects the probability of an item being purchased. The famous phrase ‘do not judge a book by its cover’ is thrown right out the window in the world of packaging because packaging is the key factor in determining whether the customers will buy the product or not. So, the packaging industry has been constantly adapting over time to meet the demands and needs of their customers. Customers no longer care for a highly air-conditioned, muzak playing in the background, type of thing. They want their shopping experience to be more immersive and engaging. Customers want to taste, touch, and smell; great packaging, free samples, along with interactive kiosks is the only way to satisfy these wants. They crave a little more than just idly walking down aisles, looking at simply packaged goods. So consequently, like any smart entrepreneur would, major brands are also making changes to their packaging in order to heighten the chances of their products being purchased. It’s all about the ways to catch the customer’s eye. Many companies are making their shopping more of an experience. For example:

  • House of Hoops – House of hoops is a basketball themed concept by Nike and Footlocker. They have also thrown technology into the mix. Their customers can color coordinate their footwear and apparel and also customize t-shirts.
  • Ridemakerz – It is the ideal brand for boys who live on things that are a little extra. Customers get to customize their very own toy car or truck. They have the freedom to choose the desired colors, tires, wheels, lights and much more.
  • Aura – Another great example of experiential shopping is Aura. It was launched by the famous French cosmetic giant, L’Oreal, their stores feature diagnostic stations where the customers are helped to pick out products that are best suited for their skin types.

Simply putting merchandise in stores is a thing of the past. Putting action into shopping for your customers is the key.

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