Merchandising Rules for Different Retail Areas

  • Mar 1, 2022
  • 9 min read
Cover: Merchandising Rules for Different Retail Areas

Merchandising is more than just tidying up store shelves. It is a sales tool in the retail space. An effective display helps you present goods in a way that satisfies the needs of customers as much as possible to ensure strong sales. There are no one-size-fits-all merchandising rules for all stores. The display in each retail area is different. That’s why we have collected the main approaches to organize merchandising, depending on the vertical in which the retail chain operates: grocery, construction, pharmacy chain, pet store.

Grocery Retail

The main principle of merchandising is presented by the formula: “see it – like it – buy it”. It all starts with the planning and placement of commercial equipment, although already at this stage you need to take into account the basic merchandising rules in grocery retail.

  • Commodity neighborhood of categories

Grocery retail has strict commodity neighborhood rules. For example, you cannot place alcohol in the baby food section or cereals in the household chemicals section. 

  • Gold shelf

This rule is fairly obvious: those goods that are displayed at eye-level sell better. The gold shelf is the display area, which is at the level of 1.2 - 1.7 m. But in order to determine the number of facings and specific products for this shelf, it is necessary to conduct a thorough sales and assortment analysis.

  • The golden triangle and right-hand traffic

According to research, 80% of the population looks to the right when they enter a store. Therefore, by placing more expensive or sale items on the right, you can ensure optimal and frequent visibility of these positions. When planning, it is also important not to forget about the golden triangle, with anchor products like bread, meat, and dairy at its center. These areas attract the most customer traffic. Therefore, they are always located at the end of the sales floor, the upper point of the golden triangle. The other two points are the entrance to the store and the checkout area.

  • Heavy – down, light – up

All large and bulky goods (plastic bottles, large bags of flour) should be placed in the lower sections of the retail space. You should place small-sized goods that are easy to take at the top. This is important for the overall design of the sales floor because visually light objects do not clutter up the space, so it is psychologically more comfortable to be in such a room.


Fast and intuitive design process

Some experts argue that it is more efficient to organize the display by price – from cheap to expensive or vice versa. But you should keep in mind that if there is clear differentiation in price a person will always choose goods in the middle price range.

The LEAFIO Planogram Optimization Solution system helps to track the implementation of these merchandising rules and evaluates their effectiveness, making it possible to create planograms, get display analytics, and control business processes related to merchandising.

DIY Merchandising

The peculiarity of goods in DIY (Do It Yourself, building material stores, and home improvement goods) is that the range is quite diverse and it has different dimensions. A large area and a variety of equipment are required to display products in a profitable way. So, it is important to pay special attention to the convenience of the display, using the principles of merchandising given below.

  • Interactivity

A study by Ripen eCommerce found that the number one reason people shop in brick-and-mortar stores rather than on websites is because they can evaluate products by touch. What’s the key message? Create showcases that encourage people to interact with your products.

  • Displaying with price tags

Most inventory is not stored on the "gold shelves" or even on the sales floor. The customer may see a can of paint, and there may be more price tags for it, depending on the volume in liters. The key point is to make the display simple and intuitive.

  • Displaying with samples

In DIY, some of the goods are represented exclusively by samples. Only a part of the goods is on the stands or on the shelves (for example, skirting boards, tiles, floor coverings (linoleum, laminate, porcelain stoneware). It can also be display samples. For example, power tools and appliances.

  • Proper lighting

Even the most creative showcases won't work if they're poorly lit. So invest in equipment to present your products in the best possible light. Use the power of accent lighting to showcase individual products. And remember the influence of light temperature: cold promotes concentration and is best used in the tool department, while warm colors are relaxing, so save that for the upholstered furniture and bedding department.

  • Seasonal

Timely displays will surely attract your customers’ attention. Keep a close eye on the retail calendar and make sure your visual merchandising matches major holidays and seasons.

  • Merchandising rules to "expand" your showcases

If you're looking for ways to showcase more than your shelving racks can hold, try using technology to "expand" your exposure. With the help of an interactive display, the customer can have a look at all the product positions, and then more accurately look for them in the store.

Pharmacy Merchandising

Pharmacy merchandising is characterized by several features:

  • Closed display and showcases to maintain sanitary conditions;
  • Cells for specific products that are behind the back of the pharmacist (the exception is the lack of goods and the expansion of the display of neighboring ones);
  • Equipment with glass is at the top, closed cabinets.

The list of products in pharmacies is expanding. Now there are not only medicines but also beauty products, dietary supplements, vitamins, food, and many other non-prescription products. This means that in order to increase purchases, the effective display is no less important here than in other areas of the store. 

It’s important that impulse purchases are also made in the pharmacy, not just at the store checkout. Display related goods generate impulse purchases. Hand cream, a small mouthwash, lip balm – all these should be presented in a conspicuous place, not far from each other.

The LEAFIO system will help you organize your display efficiently. It creates planograms faster and provides a convenient analytics tool and control over the entire process.

products refer to impulse purchases. They are usually bath and hygiene products in small containers – anything you can take that’s affordable.

Vertical merchandising is effective in this case when the blocks are distributed by color, or the range is divided according to purpose, depending on which part of the body the medication treats.

People buy from pharmacists who make the buying process easier and clearer. Make it easier for the customers to access the showcase, and avoid physical barriers such as boxes or carts. Don't create "noise" with POS materials. Potential customers expect clear, useful information and visibility from pharmacy advertising. Displaying the right POS products strategically will encourage a person to purchase.

Health & Beauty Store Display

People who are interested in beauty tend to value aesthetics, so visual merchandising has a strong impact on this consumer group. A display of test samples is a common feature of perfumery and beauty stores. Because of this, cosmetic showcases often become disorganized and even dirty after a long period of testing and trying by consumers. So, the issue of cleanliness and order is particularly acute here. However, this is not the only feature – let's consider all the merchandising rules in cosmetics stores.

  • Neutral design

There are a lot of products and the display of goods takes place by category and by brand. As a rule, these are small-sized goods with their own brand design, so the stores should not choose bright colors for the design of the sales floor. There is also a less obvious reason: a store that is too bright can be associated with something just for children or women, which can distract an already small male customer base.

  • Clear division of goods into categories

If there are no luxury cosmetics, you should place products together by their intended purpose, instead of by brands. That is, shampoos should be on one shelving rack, lipsticks on another, and shaving products on the third.

  • Products in kits

For cosmetics, the principle of additional purchases works well – this is important to consider when placing associated goods: conditioner, hair mask, shampoo, or rinse. Kits can be formed, making the complex selection process easier for the buyer.

  • Display accents

Cosmetics often come with new products. The customer may not be accustomed to them, or may be indifferent or wary of them. In such a situation, it is necessary to attract the customer’s attention and arouse their interest. POS products and an original display will be useful here.

Pet Store Display

Customers associate cleanliness with something new and valuable. Customers often buy pets from pet stores, so cleanliness is particularly important here where there can be a lot of dirt, dust, and odors. The first impression is very important, so establish a cleaning routine and set clear standards.

Many pet shops are small and only have a limited range of products. That’s fine, but can result in empty shelves or inconvenient product placement. If your store has large shelves with only three or four items per shelf, consider filling the extra space with decorations. Visual merchandising is very important for a pet store, so take every opportunity to enhance the aesthetics of your space.

  • Display of products according to the pet's life cycle

Displaying products according to the life cycle of a pet makes it easier for customers to buy. It will also help novice pet owners who may not know where to start or what to buy.

For example, the life cycle of dogs is as follows: puppy, teenager, adult, and senior. You should sell products according to this life cycle. For example, group sections by animal species and age with packages of similar sizes.

There are five main groups of vertebrates: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians. It is important to keep these groups together and then subdivide them into categories, subcategories, segments, and subsegments.

  • Cross merchandising where possible

You can achieve this in your pet store or category by placing products of interest next to everyday essentials. For example, you can add small toys next to the cat food shelves.

Now that traditional stores compete with online platforms, following merchandising rules is especially important in all areas. Displays in different areas have their own merchandising characteristics, depending on the presented range and the features of its presentation. All these points should be taken into account when you plan your sales floor, selection of equipment and development of display planograms. If you want to build the right merchandising business process from the outset, check out the LEAFIO Planogram Optimization tool to help you organize effective product display management.

Merchandising and Planogram Automation: Tips to increase shelf space profitability

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