Seasonal displays image

How Placement, Blocking, and Interaction Drive Shelf Health and Sales 

This is a guest post by Devon Kelly, Sr. Director of Operations at Wiser.

If a shopper doesn’t see your product on the shelf, it’s not in their purchase consideration set. It’s as simple as that. Sure, brand loyalty, pack appeal, and promotions all factor into the decision as well, but the primary factor is shelf presence. You must be seen to be considered.  

Point-of-Purchase (POP) is exceedingly important today. Consumers want to touch the product and compare it to other options at the shelf. If your product fails to measure up at the shelf, your sales will reflect this. There are three key points to consider when thinking about your product inside the category at the shelf. 

Placement 

As the saying goes, “Eye Level is Buy Level.” Products at eye level are first to be noticed and receive significantly more attention from shoppers than other products above or below eye level. Above eye level means the customer needs to reach for it or cannot see it, pushing it out of the consideration set, while below eye level (albeit good for children’s products), is hard to see and annoying for many shoppers to bend down and pick up.   

An image of color blocking in a store.

Blocking 

Your brand can grab more attention on the shelf with blocking. Blocking is the practice of lining multiple facings of your products on one or more shelves to create a visual “block” of your product/brand for the shopper. If you can increase your total facings, you increase your total share of shelf and the likelihood that shoppers see more of your brand and less of the competition. Furthermore, try incorporating color blocking into the shelf. With colors, you can create an emotional and personal connection with your shoppers, attracting them to your brand. According to dotActiv, color can be used to influence the shopper’s experience by attracting their attention and sparking different feelings (i.e. blue for calm, orange for excitement), which ultimately affect their shopper behavior. 

Interaction 

Even in today’s digital world, never underestimate the power of your shopper physically interacting with the product. Fifty six percent of shoppers say they visit stores to see, touch, and feel products before purchasing them either online or in the store, and that number jumps to 70 percent for shoppers over age 65.  

Your in-store experience should be high-touch and include informative displays. Those could include simple, traditional signage, or more modernized displays with tablet displays, demo videos, etc. In 2016, Wiser In-Store and NPD worked with GoPro to uncover roughly $40 million in potential sales lost due to non-compliance in visual merchandising, a factor of which was the TV display failing to stream GoPro content. 

An image of a person tapping a screen in a retail environment.

How to Ensure Brands Follow In-Store Standards 

Of course, it’s easy to plan for prime eye-level placement, a large brand block, and a stellar display at the shelf. The hard part is making sure your stores are meeting the standards you set. For example, GoPro requires that their display monitor is turned on and streaming content, Pantene Pro-V may require that they are at eye-level and their best-selling scents are furthest to the left of their block, and Chobani may require that they are color-blocked and not shelved next to competitor Fage.  

Wiser’s in-store solution has a crowd of over 700,000 “Bees” who have collected over 11 million data points on display compliance and more at almost 200,000 locations, such as major big box stores and grocery chains across the United States. Customers are able to deploy “Missions” to their stores within 48 hours of setting up their questions and area they want data collected from to see exactly what is happening with their brand at the shelf.  

Brands use Missions to find the answers to: 

  • Where am I placed?  
  • Am I out of stock? 
  • Do I have the correct number of facings?  
  • Is my display set to compliance with all elements functioning?  

An image of the Wiser in-store display compliance dashboard.

These are questions we answer on a daily basis for our customers, enabling them to fix the problem at the source and see a corresponding lift in sales. During retail audits, our Bees collect actionable data in near real-time and it reaches our clients through a series of alerts, digests, and an online dashboard.  

Even better, you probably (definitely) want to measure not only the compliance at shelf, but how your shoppers are reacting to the planogram. Here are some questions you can get answers to, in addition to compliance data: 

  • Is my display appealing to Bees?  
  • Does it have an effect on their purchase behavior?  
  • Who is most likely to be positively affected by my planogram?  
  • Are my competitors out-performing me in the eye of the shopper?  

Wiser’s in-store solution can layer on all of that data to your shelf health metrics to give you a holistic view of the store’s compliance and the shopper’s journey. 

Final Thoughts 

Brands are encountering greater competition than ever with the rise of online shopping, but it’s clear that shopper behavior hasn’t evolved quite as fast. The fact that shoppers are still going to the store to interact with products prior to purchase (plus the fact that 91 percent of all retail is still done in-store) only emphasizes the importance of optimizing your planogram. Placement, blocking, and product interaction are key here. Remember, a shopper must see your product in order for it to be in their purchase consideration set.

Devon Kelly | Guest Author

Devon Kelly is the Sr. Director of Operations at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. She’s spent over five years in Market Research and the past three years focused on in-store research. She holds a BS in Business Management from Boston College.

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