Supermarket Psychology

You walk into your neighborhood supermarket looking for some daily replenishment like bread and milk- have you noticed that they are usually placed at different ends of the supermarket. This is not something randomized that everything that you need is at opposite ends, but it’s a part of the plan!

It is about getting you move through the supermarket and get you going from one end to the other so that you are distracted by a whole new bunch of things. Most of the shopping carts have GPS receivers on them that track the path each and every customer takes while in the supermarket. This helps supermarkets plan their displays better.

The main intention of any grocery store/supermarket would be to sell its products be it grocery, fresh produce, poultry, frozen etc before their shelf life is over in order to minimize waste.

Any supermarket needs to first formulate the amount of usable space it has to display its products by creating a planogram. Planogram is a diagram or a map that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves in order to maximize sales.

Pic: an example of a shelf planner planogram using a software tool

It’s easier to define your range once you have drawn out the actual space available. For example, a store of 2,400 to 3,400 square feet provides enough space to stock a variety of merchandise but small stores with only 400 square feet can also be successful in meeting certain market segments.

In General, when laying out the store:

  • About 25 percent of the space is devoted to the checkout and customer service area.
  • 10 percent of the floor space is devoted to receiving and storage.
  • 5 percent to office space.
  • The balance of the display aisles may be 60 percent of total area.

A good retail store layout starts on paper, where you work out building specifications, customer traffic flow, product placement, and more, before even installing a single display!

Generally, any supermarket or grocery store uses the Grid floor layout plan. This is one of the best formats for shelf stocked items as it is easy to navigate, locate and display shelf facing products.

Pic: an example of a grid layout of a supermarket

Goes without saying, the floor map/planogram needs plenty of thought into it. It helps in product placement and also controls the inventory thereby removing the overhead cost of wastage.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that there is one formula for stocking the shelves of a grocery store. The store owner, manager, distributor, and most importantly the customer, determines what makes a good product mix. Different store sizes, traffic patterns, customer tastes and regional preferences are considered before deciding the range. It is very important to forecast and produce the stock effectively; of course, keeping the space availability in mind

In case of a new supermarket, It may be more useful to use industry benchmark numbers to estimate how much and for what department you should be buying. Over time, the inventory can be fine-tuned by tracking what sells and what doesn’t.

Based on marketing research and sales psychology, the layouts of supermarkets are more or less standardized.  Positioning your most profitable items in the areas that see the most shoppers can increase gross profit. This is where display plays a vital role!

In General, when displaying the range:

  • Floral sections are positioned near the entrance to establish a fresh, pleasant feel for the shopper. Therefore you are in good mood to shop!
  • Customers are then greeted into the fresh produce aisle where stacks of healthy fruits and vegetables are stocked on.
  • The back corner is often reserved for bakery items. This section offers the smell of fresh baked goods and desserts.
  • Canned goods are usually placed in the center aisles because they do not require refrigeration and so do not require electrical or refrigerant lines.
  • The shelving height in this section is also strategically laid out to increase sales and profitability by increasing the number of facings.
  • Large bulk items which are large enough for the shopper to see even when placed below normal sight range are placed on the bottom shelves to accommodate their size.
  • Items that appeal to children are often placed on the lower shelves to entice them into a purchase.
  • The eye-level shelving is reserved for the most popular and most profitable items in each section.

    Pic: placement of products on the aisle

  • Endcaps (the end of the aisles) are usually used for rotating items. These can be sale items, clearance products, onetime offerings, seasonal items or other promotions.
  • Lastly, but also of importance, are the impulse items. These show up throughout the store.  Sometimes they are placed to encourage the customer to buy something they hadn’t thought of like candy and gum at the checkout. These items can add valuable revenue while taking up little space

As consumer tastes evolve, new products emerge to capitalize on changing tastes. Customers have adopted quite a few diets like vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free etc. People are reading labels more carefully, counting calories more consciously, and picking produces more attentively. Through loyalty cards, camera surveillance or GPS tracking on our carts, they sure know our psychology and what we want to shop. This helps them to display products even better to increase our engagement.

Happy Shopping!