What is Gondola Shelving?

When someone says the work gondola, it usually conjures up images of men in blue and white striped shirts, slowly paddling newly weds around the canals of Venice. Or otherwise, a colourful pod, slowly cabling up a snowy mountain slope or over a canyon.

But in our context, the word gondola means gondola shelving. Admittedly that is nowhere near as glamourous as those other examples, but it could be argued even more practical. Because every one of us use this version of a gondola almost every day.

Bought something from a supermarket, service station, convenience or hardware store or toy shop lately? Well then you have used gondola shelving

So really, most of us are experts in the use of gondola shelving, even if trying to find out why it’s called gondola shelving is an exercise in futility!

As the most common fixture in retail, gondola shelving (or more accurately gondola shelving systems) are the most durable, adaptable, and economical solution to most store or retailers merchandising requirements and allows the critical aspects of product range and visibility to be maximised as best as possible.

Gondola shelving is split into 3 basic types, Wall, Island and End Cap, each of which can be found in a variety of heights, widths, depths, and colours to suit their application and available space. Adaptability is then supported by the different types of shelves, back panels, signage, and display accessories that complement the gondola shelving system and allow it to be retailer or store specific.

 The basic types of gondola shelving

Wall Gondolas

As the name implies, this gondola system goes up flush against a wall and can be used to maximise both merchandising and storage space by using 2100mm or 2400mm high posts that can be anchored to the wall for additional safety and support.

Island Gondolas

Used to create a product and merchandising island in the middle of any floorspace, island gondolas can be laid out in a variety of configurations due to the modularity of gondola shelving systems. From a single 600, wide unit to aisle runs of 15 to 20 metres that can be shopped from all angles, island gondolas allow store layouts to be as shopper and retailer friendly as possible.

End Cap Gondolas

If there was a crown prince of gondola shelving, the end cap would be it. Occupying the prize position at the end of shelving runs they maximise retail space and allow greater positioning for new products or those on special and promotion. Retailers as well as the brands they stock give them high priority due to their ability to raise awareness and drive additional sales.

The other aspect of gondola shelving that makes it so practical is its ease of use in installation (as opposed to standing up smiling and paddling while trying not to tip over a flat-bottomed boat). Generally, if you have built Lego or assembled IKEA then you should be able to assemble a basic gondola shelving system, and if that’s not your thing then having a professional installation team do it for you will not break the bank either.

Before you start shopping for gondola shelving, the main points to consider or have when planning your store are:

  • A basic, birds eye view floor plan
  • Measure up how much space you have for shelving
  • Consider the types of products you have, their weight and dimensions could be key
  • What type and colour of shelving is best to show off each type of the products you are selling?
  • Will you potentially need to expand shelving in the future?

If you have all of these in mind, then you are well on your way to a good gondola shelving solution and the process should be far easier.

Gondola shelving is unquestionably the least glamorous of all the gondolas, but it plays a pretty important role in making our daily lives just a little easier, even if every time we use it the journey doesn’t end with coffee on St. Mark’s Square.

‘The Gondola Glamour Tower’ from most to least glamorous 😊

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