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The Science Behind Product Placement in Supermarkets

Every customers' aim when walking into a supermarket is to not spend a lot of money. On the contrary, the supermarket wants the customer to spend as much money as possible. Let the battle begin!!



The toiletries section in the Greens Swieqi supermarket


As the buyer enters a supermarket, the first thing that should catch their eye is the vibrant colours of fresh produce (Fruit & Veg). Alternatively, they can also be greeted with the smell of freshly baked goods that will increase their appetite which will automatically make them buy more.

Even their sense of hearing is targeted, as music with a slow rhythm tends to make them move slower, meaning they spend more time in the store.

Also, have you ever wondered why items are sold in packs of 225g, rather than 250g? Some people argue that it's to make it more difficult to compare prices as we are working with unfamiliar weights.

Product Placement

There are marketing strategies which you may not be aware of that also affect our buying habits. Have you ever wondered how supermarkets decide where to place items on the shelves and, more importantly, why they place them where they do?

The first thing you should do as a supermarket owner is a Planogram. This is a diagram of where you plan where to place your products on the shelves. The most important phrase you want to keep in mind is "Eye Level is Buy Level", making sure that the products that you want to sell the most are at eye level with the targeted customer.

The planogram of a supermarket


Customers may find that the more expensive options are at eye level or just below, while the store’s own brands are placed higher or lower on the shelves, as you are most likely to buy the first thing that catches your eye while avoiding having to bend down often for the cheaper product.

A good planogram doesn't necessarily mean putting similar goods together. Sometimes, cross-merchandising makes sense. For example, putting beer and crisps together is very doable as people most likely would like a drink if they are going to take a snack and vise versa.

Something which was also tested is that goods at the very beginning or the very end of the aisle do not sell as well as goods in the centre. A customer needs time to adjust to being in the aisle, so they take some time before they can decide what to buy.

The perfect product placement algorithm takes a lot of time and calculations as the supermarket owners need to consider the size, height, and depth of shelves, to direct customers to the right product, at the right time.

In conclusion, as a supermarket owner, it is important to find a balance between wanting to sell expensive products to people who can afford them AND stocking cheaper options for people who are on a budget.


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