Shelf Placement: Where to be and how to get there

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Share of shelf is important to every CPG, but if the quality of your placement isn’t up to scratch, you may as well not be there at all. It’s no good taking up space where no one can see you, so your job when tackling this KPI is to figure out where you want to be. Or, we could just tell you instead.
Woman shopping

The diamond area

A name first coined by Bain, the ‘diamond area’ is the optimal spot on the shelf for any CPG looking to increase brand awareness and grow their sales numbers. So, where exactly is it?

As the saying goes, eye level is buy level, but is that really true?

supermarket shelves

When building your planogram, common sense tells you that the best place to put your product is at eye level – consumers buy what they can see. However, unlike the name suggests, true eye level isn’t actually in line with your eyes. In fact, when shopping, our gaze falls 15-30 degrees below this point.

Even with this knowledge, research from Nielsen has suggested that eye level is not the natural buy level. Through their observations, they found that grab level – the middle area of the shelf – was where most consumers picked their products. The diamond area sits between these two levels.

If you wish to boost sales then this is where you should aim, but you can go outside of this area if you understand your niche. Higher shelf space is for smaller, more expensive products, with retailers regularly placing their own brand products up here, too. With more capacity for stock, the lower shelves are reserved for bigger, heavier items, and frequently rotate which brands are present based on popularity.

How do you get your placement of choice?

It’s safe to assume that every brand in your category wants to be in the diamond area. They’ll all submit planograms that look somewhat similar, with their brand sitting firmly in the coveted spots. Taking all factors into account, it’s then up to the retailer to decide who wins out.

Retailers want a display that makes the buying journey as seamless as possible. If your planogram is practical and places importance on variety, it’s more likely to be accepted than a biased proposal that favours you alone.

As simple as some planograms look, the best ones show a deep understanding of the complexity of shelf space. Showing that you’ve thought about the size, weight and depth of your product, as well as the impact that out of stock levels and replenishment schedules can have, is vital to earning the trust of a retailer.

A well known secret on the shop floor is that retailers will often designate certain brands as ‘category captains,’ favouring their guidance on shelf layout over others. These are usually chosen based on who the leading manufacturer in a certain category is, but at the end of the day, market intelligence is what wins here.

That said, no matter how much sway a brand has, a single market leader will never take up 100% of the best shelf space. Retailers understand that for the sake of basket building, they must be fair in their allocations. This means that if you lead with clear intentions and have the data to back yourself up, there’s no reason why you can’t hit the diamond area.

Knowing where you stand

A key component of share of shelf, shelf level is directly tied to your sales figures, and by extension, your market share. 

A lot of effort goes into negotiations with the retailer, but all the time and energy you put in is wasted if the plan doesn’t get executed in-store. Whether the retailer follows your planogram or not, using a monitoring tool to check your shelf placement is crucial to long term retail success. You can’t be sure that unexpected obstacles won’t interfere with your placement, and with consumer spending increasing by the month, you want to be certain that you’re in the right place to take advantage of that.

BeMyEye is the only retail execution tool you’ll ever need, making it easy for CPGs to see what’s affecting their in-store performance. If you want to find out more about how our image recognition tool can help you track, analyse and take action on your retail KPIs, simply ask for a demo – or contact us directly. 

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