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Planograms in Retail

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As the retail industry grows increasingly competitive, retailers are turning to planogram (What is a Planogram?) software and planogram visuals to reflect each store’s unique customer desires and localised demands – while maintaining centralised control and supply efficiencies.

A planogram is basically a blueprint of where products should be placed on retail outlet shelves and displays. Often a retail planogram can look quite basic, but often has taken a great deal of thought and foresight – often produced on expensive space management software.

Frequently with retail planograms the software commonly stores the width, depth and height of each product and the SKU (Stock-keeping unit), along with an electronically stored visual image of the product. The software user can then automatically create a planogram by dragging then dropping products on different shelves, whilst estimating stock holding of the shelves and optimising restocking time.

Although there are many types of retail, and many different categories and store sizes – the basic planogram system, in principle, is quite similar. The complexity of a planogram may vary by the size of the store, the software used to create the planogram and the need of the retailer. Planograms can be as simple as a photo of a pre-set section or more detailed with numbered peg holes and shelf notches showing exact placement of each item. Although the format may be similar the price for the more complicated software systems that hold thousands of products can rise dramatically.

Huge box stores and larger retailers typically hire merchandising specialists to assist in developing retail planograms, some may have their own in-house planogrammers. Due to the increasing cost of planogram software, small convenience stores and local independent stores often have to rely on word processors or even paper and pen to optimize shelf layout.

Planograms may differ somewhat when it comes to the different types of retail products. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG’s) organisations and supermarkets largely use text and box based planograms that optimize shelf space, inventory turns and profit margins. Apparel brands and retailers are more focused on presentation and use pictorial planograms that illustrate a certain ‘look’ and also identify each product.

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