The Psychology Behind Retail Product Placement

When you consider the placement of retail products, you need to consider the art undertaken by shop staff.  Retailers around the world, employ much expertise when planning the floor plan of stores.  With this research, feedback and reflection have emerged a new area of study: the psychology of retail product placement.

If you are a shop with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), then the organisation of your shop floor and your shelves are especially important.  FMGS are those goods that are usually inexpensive, and people need every day.  It is those items we stock up on – such as our toilet roll or our just-in-case medications.  The placement of such products can make all the difference. It can separate the best seller from your bargain bucket dud.

It is time to spend some time thinking about the psychology of your retail placement. If you own a single shop or a chain, you need to learn about how to make the most of where your customers look and how they travel around your shop floor.


A definition of product placement

Product placement is an area of scientific study.  Much thought has gone into the psychological impact of the retail environment on the customer.  From that moment, the customer walks up to the shop from the kerb, enters the door and then walks the path you design for them – there has been considerable thought.

This is the study of the planogram.  A planogram is a model that helps you work out where to best place your products to get the most sales.  There are lots of factors that impact where you should place the items.  You need to think about the lighting, the amount of square foot, your items that sell the best, and the demographics of your customer base.  Then, consider the width of aisles, the window space, and the use of mirrors. All these factors come together to influence how your planogram should be formed.


Some tips to guide you

You have a lot of power over your consumer.  You can make some changes that impact on your sales.  You can:

  • Put the essentials towards the back of the store. This way your customer must walk past all your other products before getting the milk and the bread.  Pick out the best-selling products and put these in the farthest corner from the door.
  • Put your most tantalising treats nearest the door.Put your cakes and biscuits that are on a deal on a stand just where the passer-by’s eye scans just as they walk along your storefront.  Get them early with those luxury items, as they will be more likely to indulge when the basket is empty.
  • Take your most purchased products and put them at eye level. This is called the buy level – as customers can quickly scan and find what they want. Most people are right-handed, so take this side first.  However, and this is a big however, if you are aiming your product at kids, then put it lower to the floor – at about toddler height.
  • Place impulse buys by the till, as customers queue, and they must try hard to fight the desire to plop that product in the basket.Just think of the number of times you have stuck the odd pack of chewing gum in your trolley just as you are about to pay.
  • Finally, put your complementary items together.Put your batteries near your electrical goods, for instance.  Maybe you should put your mops near your floor detergent. In clothes shops, notice how they put whole outfits together – to help you imagine buying both together.

There are so many other points you can consider – larger baskets, putting some music on and use colour wisely.  You need to use every trick at your disposal to help your customer pick up that item that will move your business forward.


Contributed by Ryan, who works on behalf of The Card & Party Store, who are the UK’s leading suppliers for all your greeting cards, party ware and gifts!

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