Your Complete Guide to Planograms

Every retail owner strives for the perfect store layout that will create the optimal customer experience and drive profitability. We all know that you can’t just stick your stock anywhere and call it a day – so this is where planograms come in. If you’re starting your own retail space from scratch or your current store layout needs an overhaul, a planogram is a vital tool that can help you do it properly.


What is a planogram?

A planogram is a visual tool used in retail marketing to plan store layouts with maximum sales and customer experience in mind. Planograms focus specifically on product placement and displays, as well as the all-important point-of-sale location (or locations).


Also known as POGs, shelf space plans, space plans and retail schematics, planograms are one crucial element of an overall visual merchandising plan. They are generally used as a store’s blueprint for visual merchandising and product displays, while also being handy for inventory management. 

How do you use a planogram?

While planograms are always useful from an organisational and product tracking perspective, they are particularly handy for businesses of a larger scale. If your retail store stocks a wide range of products from a multitude of suppliers and has a lot of space to fill, it’s a prime candidate for a planogram. 


Take this example: before ordering perishables, supermarkets and grocery stores need to know whether the products will fit on the shelves. Details like product packaging dimensions, shelving layouts and dimensions, and product turnover all need to be considered – which is where your planogram comes into play.


As a rule of thumb, the more space and stock you have, the more detailed your planogram will have to be in order to be effective. Smaller retailers and showrooms can get away with a more bare-bones approach, whereas large-scale operations benefit from a more comprehensive plan.

What is planogram compliance?

Planogram compliance means following your carefully curated design to achieve its desired effect. Put simply, planograms won’t work unless you execute them properly.

What is a planogram reset?

If you’re implementing a new planogram that involves a large-scale restructure of your store layout, that’s a planogram reset. These are helpful for stocking new products or remerchandising existing products.

Benefits of a retail store planogram

There are two major benefits of creating a top-notch planogram for your retail store. Let’s break it down.

Planograms maximise sales

Planograms allow you to collect invaluable data about how products and displays work, helping you accrue super-actionable insights for in-store sales. An effective planogram can open your eyes to otherwise overlooked sales opportunities – you can track products that are flying off the shelves against your planogram, then consider dispersing slower-moving stock amongst that area to increase sales. Planograms are also helpful for properly planning routes – by placing your essentials at the back of the space and getting customers to walk past more impulse-purchase items, you increase the chances of a conversion.  

Planograms maximise space

Leasing or buying a retail space is expensive – no bones about it. To get the most bang for your buck, it literally pays to be as organised as possible. Planograms give purpose to every square centimetre of your store, helping you maximise the use of your space. They also support more effective stock management, keeping your store looking fresh and fabulous at all times. Planograms are also helpful for establishing guidelines with wholesalers, vendors or other retail partners you may engage with – it lets you know what and how much space they’re responsible for.

How do I create my own store planogram?

No matter the size or scale of your retail operation, there is always a way to make a good planogram for it. Don’t get scared off by the level of detail required – while professional planograms are extremely in-depth, you can definitely go down the DIY route with a more simplified version that’s just as effective. 

If you’re a larger business with constantly rotating stock, engaging an in-house or contracted planogram specialist is a wise investment. They know customer behaviour and sales goals inside-out, so it’s their job to make your store look good and perform well. Haven’t got the cash to splash on a pro? Entrusting the job to your visual merchandiser is a great next step. While the roles aren’t the same, their goals are – to encourage sales.

Thinking of having a crack yourself? A quick online search turns up loads of options for planogram software, which can walk beginners through the process step by step. There are free and paid options available, although as with most software your paid options have more features. You can also go old-school and physically draw your planogram with pencil and paper, or use programs like Photoshop or Google Docs to do it digitally.

Dimensions and displays

Clearly label the dimensions of your aisles, shelves and product displays, being sure to specify the types of product displays you’ll be using – whether it’s gondola shelving, bins or your point-of-purchase display.

Products and packaging

Let the reader know which products belong where. Get specific with brands, product sizes, packaging specifications and shelving techniques – if you want a label facing a certain way, be clear about it.

Planogram methodology

Explaining the “why” behind your brand-new planogram is a great way to teach your staff the basics of customer behaviour and motivations. Talk through your choices and give opportunities for feedback – with the context of your information and analysis, they may have good ideas for future improvements.

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