How to Display Items on Your Gondola Shelf

We can’t overstate the importance of in-store product placement. With gondola shelves playing a major role in driving sales, are you tapping into their full potential? Drawing from our vast industry experience, we’ve put together some practical tips on how to best display items on your gondola shelves to increase store profits.


What are gondola shelves?

Gondola units are a particular type of retail shelving. While the merchandising suggestions in this article can be adapted to work with other shelving solutions, they were specifically put together for gondola shelving units. Retail gondolas are free-standing metal shelving systems used to increase available floor space. They come in three basic types — wall, island and end-cap gondolas. Easy to move and highly customisable, gondola shelves are the ace in the hole of retail stores.

Tips for displaying items on your gondola shelf

1 - Change is king

One of the best features of gondola shelves is that they are extremely easy to modify. Use this versatility to your advantage to change things around depending on which products you want to display. Gondola accessories, such as hooks, hanging pegs, wire baskets and shelf dividers, allow you to create neat and visually appealing displays that facilitate front-end sales.

2 - Make it pop

In retail stores, products are constantly competing to be noticed and picked up by the consumer. A dull, bland shelf display is not going to turn any heads or get a second glance. Instead, a brightly lit, colourful presentation will attract the eye and attract potential customers. Think about the colour combination of your display and its physiological impact. Use on-shelf signage to make your goods more enticing.

3 - Eye-level is buy level

Retailers have known for decades that stock placed at eye level sells better. Whether you want to capitalise on top-performing SKUs, increase your discounted stock sell-through rate or launch a new line, place your chosen goods where your customers will see them first. Understanding your buyers’ demographic and desires is key to successfully enticing customers. A bit of lateral thinking can also come in handy. For example, if you are targeting mothers in your gondola display, don’t forget that they are likely to have their young children with them. Placing toys, kids’ magazines or snacks in the lower part of your gondola, at the little ones’ eye level, will result in kids asking to buy them.

4 - Horizontal merchandising

One way to go about organising your retail display is to place similar goods from different brands one next to the other on the shelf. Called horizontal merchandising, its benefit is that you can place all your high-profit products at eye level, which will likely result in a higher Average Order Value (AOV). Its downside is that the customer has to physically move to see the other products. However, if you plan ahead, you can put this movement to good use when designing your store layout.

5 - Vertical merchandising

As the name says, this merchandising practice is the opposite of the one we just discussed. Similar products are placed in vertical columns, allowing the buyer to stay in one position while comparing the options and prices. Normally the most popular goods are placed at the buyer’s line of site with the most expensive and the home brands on top or below. The least-bought brands are relegated to the bottom shelf.

6 - Horizontal cross-merchandising

Vertical and horizontal merchandising techniques can be turned up a notch by applying other merchandising principles to them. A great way to boost sales and increase Units per Transaction (UPT) is to cross-merchandise each shelf. This approach works especially well in gondolas, which are often free-standing or end-cap and separate from the rest of the product range.

Horizontal cross-merchandising capitalises on the consumer’s habit of looking for the goods at eye level first, then turning their gaze left and right, and only then moving it up and down. If instead of having more of the same products on the shelf, e.g. various brands of shampoos, you have products that go well together, e.g. conditioners, hair masks, oils and so on, you bring secondary items front of mind and are more likely to see them added to the cart.

7 - Upsell with bundles

Another true and tried way to increase sales is with bundles and add-ons displayed on gondola shelving. The key to the game here is to offer a solution, not just a product. According to a 2020 American National Retail Federation report, shoppers are looking to retailers to help them save time and effort in their busy lifestyles. Keep bundles nice and simple, be smart about the product pairings and see the correlated rise in AOV in your sales report.

Well-executed gondola displays put more money in your pockets

Take some time to think about our tips to optimise your gondola shelves displays and create a couple of planograms to test out. Given how easy gondolas are to modify and customise, there’s no reason not to do some A/B testing. And if you need more gondola shelves or signage to bring your vision to life, ShopSupplies is the online supplier Australian business trust for all their shelving and accessories needs.

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