What is Shop Shelving ? The Definitive Guide

In the world of retail and hospitality, how you display your product is crucial to your success. Shelving is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful display – but it’s not as simple as you might think. In the retail and hospo sectors, you might also hear shelving referred to as retail shelving, shop shelving, store shelving, display units, fixtures, retail fixtures and gondolas. Shelving is used by retailers to display merchandise. So, how do you cut through the noise and pick the shelving that’s right for you?

We’ve created the ultimate guide to shop shelving, so you can move forward with confidence when creating your dream display. 

Gondola Shelving Single Sided

Why is shelving so important in retail and hospitality?

Put simply, shop shelving is important because it is both a necessity and a marketing opportunity. You need to effectively display your product to customers, which requires a lot of thought and the right shelving for your circumstances. The ultimate goal of shop shelving is two-fold – you want to maximise your store space while presenting your stock in a way that leads to maximum profitability. 

Stacking it up
All the different types of shop shelving

Shop shelving is as diverse as the businesses it serves. To find the right display and merchandising solutions for your needs, we’ve broken down the main categories of shop shelving and how they are best utilised.
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Gondola shelving

Gondola shelves are a freestanding retail fixture and the most popular type of retail shelving. They are typically placed end to end, creating rows and aisles at a custom width. They are designed to sit at eye level to maximise profits.

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Gondola ends

As the name suggests, gondola ends are the display units you see at the end of aisles. Also known as end caps, this type of shelving is typical to self-service retail stores. Best-sellers and seasonal merchandise tend to do well on gondola ends, as customers generally assume that the product is on sale or promotional.

Wire Shelving scaled

Wire and metal shelving

A versatile and durable shop shelving option, wire or metal shelving can be used in conjunction with other retail fixtures to create a dynamic display. Whether you sell food or clothes, this type of shop shelving is a classic choice.

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Dump displays

Dump displays are ideal in self-service retail stores. Also known as dump bins, they are usually utilised to display smaller, less fragile merchandise. They are also commonly associated with a “bargain bin” vibe, as people are encouraged to rummage through.

Rolling racks

Rolling racks

Looking for something versatile and moveable? Rolling racks are your best bet. They usually consist of a steel frame on wheels with several shelves made of wire, making them a great option if you want to move seasonal stock around.



Pegboards are used to display items that are in hanging packaging, and are ideal for maximising space because you can choose where to place your hooks or pegs. Just keep in mind that each hook or peg should be kept sufficiently stocked, as a patchy pegboard makes for a weak display.

G cut case displays

G cut-case displays

This type of display is commonly found in supermarkets and fresh produce sectors, as it is literally displaying the stock in the original carton it arrived in. It’s definitely a more rustic, no-frills approach that only suits certain types of retail.

Fast five
questions to determine the most suitable shop shelving for you All the different types of shop shelving

Perhaps the most important aspect of your retail floorplan is figuring out how to maximise your space – and with clever shelving you can make every square centimetre count. Assess your available space and make calculated decisions about what will fit while also showcasing your product properly (if applicable). 

Pay close attention to the material of the products combined with your intended shelving. For example, wooden shelves and sharp edges don’t mix.

No matter how much you like the look or style of a certain type of shop shelving, you need to make sure that it can carry your stock. Warehouses tend to favour sturdy wire racks that can bear a heavy load without buckling, while a jeweller can get away with delicate glass shelving systems. 

Different products can be showcased in different ways to best appeal to the consumer. For example, gondola shelving is a staple in supermarkets because it’s perfect for efficiently displaying and storing food and household items, while garment racks and display tables are a no-brainer in the world of fashion retail. 

When it comes to selecting shop shelving that will go the distance, looking to the future is always a good idea. Take into account the projected growth of your business – a change in scope can come with a change in shelving. Portability and versatility are two elements that will come in handy if you have plans to expand.

Trust the experts in shop shelving

Whether you need guidance on how to select the right shelving for your business, or if you want to choose from the best range of shop shelving in Australia, Shop Supplies can help.

Contact our team today or check out our shop fitting guide for more handy tips. 

Shop Supplies

Who Are Shop Supplies?

Shop Supplies is the leading shop fitting manufacturer and supplier of shop display, retail signage, and visual merchandising for Australia’s retail industry. We are experts in providing products and services for thousands of businesses across Australia including supermarkets, pharmacies, trade stores, newsagents, petrol stations, retail outlets and service industries.

Mills Group Quality Service & Products

We are part of Mills Group, the market leader in product presentation and visual communication for the retail environment. We have over 60 years of industry experience across multiple warehouses and locations in NSW, QLD and VIC. Shop Supplies is our manufacturer and supplier of retail display and equipment for Australia's retail industry. At Shop Supplies we can supply direct to you and deliver your shop fitting products to your door. We are experts in providing products and services for thousands of businesses across Australia including; pharmacies, supermarkets, trade stores, newsagents, petrol stations, retail outlets and service industries.

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