Woman in polo auditing a warehouseVisual merchandising is an indispensable retail discipline in supermarkets. Since most grocery store products have a finite shelf life, store design – shelf psychology, more specifically – has a massive impact on customer behaviour and sales.

The Zones of Supermarket Shelving

Shelf psychology is crucial to influencing consumers on their purchase decisions. Based on Claus Ebster’s and Marion Garaus’s book called Store Design and Visual Merchandising: Creating Store Space That Encourages Buying, vertical shelves in grocery stores are divided into four zones:

  • Stretch level (1.8m and above)

This is the highest point of a shelf and also the area that receives the least attention from shoppers. Only light products should be placed here to prevent possible injuries.

  • Eye level (1.2m to 1.5m)

This is the shelf position that targets adults. Products in this section get 35% more attention than those on lower shelves. This is the perfect place for products with a high-profit margin.

  • Touch level (0.9m to 1.2m)

This is the shelf position that targets children. Kids are more likely to ask their parents to buy items placed at their eye level. Many supermarkets put candies at lower shelves level precisely because they want to market the goods to young children.

  • Stoop level (0.9m and below)

Lower-profit margin merchandise and heavier items find their place at this level. Many shoppers don’t like to bend down to get items on lower shelves.

The Ideal Floor Plan

According to Ebster and Garaus, a typical shopper searches for items horizontally. After all, the majority of our eye muscles were made for horizontal movement. Shoppers scan the supermarket shelf rack horizontally as they walk down the aisle and once they have found the item they were looking for, only then will they scan vertically for a specific type, brand or price range.

The straight store layout is one that is typically used in supermarkets, given its convenient display of products for both horizontal and vertical scanning. It lets you maximise floor space and brings customers to clearly defined focal points within your store.

Enhancing Endcaps

While shopping in supermarkets, you’ll notice that many in-demand products are displayed at the end of the aisle. This space is called an endcap.

Since endcaps are highly accessible to shoppers, many supermarkets take advantage of these spaces by featuring a mix of high margin and low margin/seasonal items.

Below are the perfect display products for endcaps:

Perfect for hanging smaller and handier items, such as hair accessories, makeup products or personal hygiene tools.

Also used to hang lighter goods in supermarkets.

Added for convenient placement of pricing, preferably above or underneath items hung on prongs.

Label strips designed for convenient reading of product prices.

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