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Merchandising Planograms

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The whole planogram (What is a Planogram?) process is stimulated visually and the activity and profession of developing floor plans and displays is in order to maximise sales. Both goods and services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the consumer into making a purchase.

It was during the 19th century when the giant dry goods establishments shifted their business from wholesale to retail, the visual display of goods became necessary to attract the general consumer. The store windows were often used to attractively display the store’s merchandise. Over time, the aesthetic design used in window displays moved indoors and became part of the overall interior store design. This eventually reduced the use of display windows. The birth of the in-store planogram was just around the corner, ready to be developed into the high tech system we see today.

Although the planogram format as a retail merchandising solution has been around a few years, it is relatively recently, within the last 15 years, it has become computerised and highly sophisticated. The planogram originated with the global company K-Mart. At the time there were hardware and software limitations and the latter was based on the manual painting of layouts. This obviously required a high level of human intervention to create the planograms for the stores.

Due to huge strides in technology in computerisation, planograming software greatly evolved. This advancement in automated software ensured that the right products are in the right place in the right quantities at the right time – on a store-by-store basis. Current software producers are concentrating on improving rendering of planograms, in 3 dimensional perspectives.

It is all about visual merchandising and the elaborate designs helps the retailer understand how the colours will work together during the planning stage of the merchandising layout. Not only do the layouts have to look good, the stock on the shelf has to be correctly utilised. This is especially the case when dealing with Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG’s), as the merchandising layout’s aim is to maximise stock holding. In a perfect world, and an ideal situation, is that every item on the shelf runs out at the same time. These stock calculations and issues are important when merchandising a range of products.

One of the key factors in designing and producing accurate planograms is identifying the main hotspots of any retail premises. Inevitably the checkout area is the most favourable as the customer may also spend time queuing with products in view. Also the entrance is also a favourite hotspot. Customer movement throughout the retail area are usually worked out by using a Traffic Flow chart. These are graduated with a heat score using colours starting with heavy down to low traffic. Arrows are also used to show the direction of the flow.

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