Location, location, location! One of the fundamentals of in-store retail merchandising is product placement. In any given supermarket, ever wonder why the produce is near the entrance or why the dairy is hidden all the way in the back corner? The organization of supermarkets is more than just some ambiguous road map. These blueprints have rational backing behind them, based on human behavior and decision-making. Any retail merchandiser can use some simple placement tricks to optimize their sales by catering to their customers’ sub-conscious decision-making processes.
The Strike Zone
The strike zone is the area of the store where promotional items should be placed. Mathew Goodman, display manager for George Little Management, LLC, best describes the strike zone in Lawn & Garden Retailer Magazine as, “An area where a customer walks in, stops and slows down. It’s about 10-20 ft into the store. They look left to right, because we’re taught to read from left to right.” In larger stores, promotional items are usually on the ends of the aisles, where they can be seen as the customer walks toward an aisle for an item related or similar to the promotional one. Once customers have moved through the strike zone, they usually walk along the right wall. This is where affordable or common items should be placed, such as vitamin C during the cold season. New customers will pick up items in this area and compare the store’s price to their own willingness to pay. Vital judgments are made by customers in this area that will cause the customer to continue shopping or leave to find a more reasonably-priced store.
In addition to taking advantage of impulsive decision making made by customers initially entering your store, it is important to consider the flow of traffic as the customers move out of the strike zone and into the store. The relationship between products and demand for products is important to be aware of when organizing goods for sale. For example, in a supermarket there is generally a high intention to buy goods such as milk, eggs and other dairy products. These are the destination items. Destination items should be placed in the interior of the store or in the back, so that customers will have to pass by impulse items as they walk through the store. In passing, a customer may find an impulse item of interest and decide to purchase it while on their way to their destination items.
By following these simple yet effective merchandising tips, your customers’ satisfaction will increase in correlation to your profit margin.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2010