Eye-level to buy level- The importance of in-store Shelving

August 10, 2021

Shelf displays matter immensely, and so does product placement. Supermarket shelves often tell stories that we do not normally consider. There are several visual merchandising principles that apply in this regard. Placement of products is basically dependent upon research nowadays, which clearly states that shoppers start viewing shelves at eye level, go from the left to the right and thereafter take purchase-related decisions in only a few seconds. 

On the basis of this system of retail positioning¸, CPGs and retailers have created a planogram system that clearly indicates how retail products are positioned on supermarket shelves for sale in a way so as to maximize revenues. There are five core strategies of placements across diverse categories of brands. Block placement has related items being positioned together, while vertical placement has merchandise being positioned across multiple shelf levels. Commercial placement will have items with the higher perceived value being displayed prominently, and margin placement indicates that the higher profit generated by any item for any retailer, the higher position it will get accordingly. Market share placement also happens when the highest generators of revenue are positioned in a way where customers can readily find the same. 

A phrase that is mostly used for planograms is eye level is buying level. This indicates that items positioned at eye level are likely to sell even more. The more expensive options or high-margin items are likely to be placed at eye level or a little below, while the own brands of the supermarket are placed either higher/lower on shelves. This is the best way supermarket shelves usually look to adopt for maximizing sales. A number of facings, i.e. the number of items or products that you can view, automatically impacts sales directly. The more visible your product, the higher the sales volumes that you can expect from the same. Placement of products in any aisle is also a vital aspect of things. There is a philosophy that states that products positioned at the beginning of the aisle do not really sell as much as other products. Customers need more adjustment time in the aisle, and hence it takes some time before they choose what to purchase. 

Supermarkets have often found it more logical to put some types of products together, although they are not often in the same market segment. Supermarkets will also look to nudge customers towards purchasing costlier products, and this method is called upselling. If you wish to coax customers to purchase a costlier version of an item, you will have to stock affordable options in a way that customers automatically view the more premium options first. 

Some strategies employed in this regard

Vertical shelves are usually subdivided into four zones by experts. The first zone is the Stretch level, i.e. higher than 1.8 meters. This is where products do not get as much attention from prospective buyers since not everybody is that tall, and it requires physical effort for looking upwards and noticing products. Lighter products are usually positioned here for preventing any potential injuries. The second level is the eye level, i.e. between 1.2 and 1.5 meters. This is where adults usually notice more products, and they sell the best. They get 35% higher attention as compared to those kept on lower shelves, as per several reports. Those items with higher profit margins are usually kept at this height. 

The next level is the touch level which is between 0.9-1.2 meters on average. This is where child-friendly products sell the most. Kids are more likely to ask parents to buy things positioned at this level. The stop level is lower than 0.9 meters. Shoppers do not like to bend downwards for finding items on the shelves, especially for disabled and elderly individuals. This is also absent within the field of vision of shoppers when they go through the store/retail outlet. Merchandise with lower margins is also kept here in many cases. Heavier products are also put here for safety purposes. 

Customers who learn of this strategy usually look beyond the eye level for finding more options and comparing what suits their needs in the best possible manner. Brands positioned at eye level or higher shelves are better evaluated as compared to brands positioned on the lower shelves, irrespective of the actual item. Top brands get the topmost positions on the shelves at retail outlets and supermarkets, something that consumers are familiar with today.