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What to do when the shelf space ends?

Have you ever wonder from what zone you reach for the product while being in the store? Have you ever done shopping just by following the main avenue, without delving into the side space of shelves, and yet there were products in your basket that you were just looking for? Or, is it always that you have in your basket only products that you intended to buy? If not you belong to a group of 70%  of customers that make their purchase decision at the point of sale. All this happens thanks to BTL actions. 

So what are those BTL activities? – It a series of stimuli that directly affect the customer. It should be emphasized that BTL’s current activities are no longer the same BTL activities that we could have met over a dozen or even several years ago. The development of new technology, especially the internet network has permanently changed the elements of these activities, but there are still areas whose core has not changed much, yet gained new functions and possibilities. One of these areas is additional display areas, which I will bring closer today.

The shelf is not everything…

Yes, the shelf is a reflection of the brand’s position and the main area for which the producers are fighting. Its size, depth, location, and height largely affects how well the product will be selling. In this „fight” an additional product display (in the form of, independent stands, island, separate repository zones, shelves tops, „neckties” etc.) is often omitted despite their obvious benefits. For good reason, they are called „second shelf”. Let’s remember that the skillful combination of shelves and product placement is the way to success.

Often, when introducing additional products, manufacturers often face the problem of the lack of possibility to intervene in the current state of the shelf. In this case, a good way to start is by using additional shelf space. Thanks to it, we can extend the current offer with new products, seasonal products or increasing the availability of standard products. Often, only an additional stand is a chance of occurrence for a given client, in particular, it refers to channels such as Discounts, Convenience stores, and proximity, where the width of the shelf is very limited.

Does the place of additional display matter?

In short yes. Where we put additional shelves determines its conversion. A badly selected location can limit or even prevent sales, which consequently misses the goal of creating an additional purchase opportunity and increasing sales. 

Imagine a situation in which Mr. John entering the store knows its layout and has a subconsciously arranged path of movement because it enters to buy specific breakfast products: bread, jam, butter, and juice. The first steps will take him through the „decompression zone”, also known as the dead zone. The location of the additional stands in this location is quite unfortunate because we are mostly distracted in this area, and we do not pay attention to the surroundings. Also, as in the case of Mr. John, this zone will be left out because Mr. Jan has a clearly defined shopping plan. A supplementary stand, for example with jam on Mr. John’s list, should also not be found in a non-food location (products not for consumption, e.g. cleaning products). Certainly, the stand with jam products placed in this category will not cut the path of Mr. John.

However, the situation will be different if an additional jam display will be placed near the bread category. Due to the complementarity of these products, Mr. John has shortened his shopping path, which in present times is a big advantage for the consumer who has limited time. Let’s consider the situation also from a different perspective in which Mr. John limited his shopping list to bread only. While being in the category of bread and encountering an additional jam display, he receives an additional boost to fill the shopping basket with an additional product. All these situations show that a well-thought-out and appropriately planned exhibition brings benefits for the customer, the network and the supplier.

When deciding whether a place to introduce an additional exposure, we should know the decision tree, the purchasing path, and the client’s needs to exclude the risk resulting from the wrong choice of the location of the exhibition. Let’s remember about the preferred locations in the store, and we include places with complementary products, in central alleys near the category and the emergency zones if we are talking about particularly impulsive products.

Who is responsible for the additional stand and who should be?

Sales representative. Yes, it is precisely his work that depends on the effects of the additional stand, however, we must remember that his role is limited to the retail outlet, and the work on the exhibition begins much earlier. When? At the time of its creation.

It is important to take into account the potential of a given point of sales when calculating the profitability of additional stand and to estimate the rotation. The stand must be custom-tailored to shop. Just like the choice of tits place, size, choice of products, and their arrangement must be carefully thought out, planned and supported by research. The only thoughtful stand is manageable for a sales representative. Of course, we have to take into account that he has limited time to plan and execute its performance. But there is a saying: „A good display sells itself, and the Representative’s role is to maintain the availability of all products throughout the entire period of its issue.”

What sales rep can do to maximize additional stand performance?

A lot! The role of the sales representative is invaluable here, and since the Manufacturers incurred expenditures to produce materials, he can not stand with folded arms and wait. The introduction and placement of additional stands in points of sale is only half of the success … and it involves additional tasks that should be done periodically to make the most of its opportunities. A common limitation with which the supplier meets is the lack of the possibility to centrally determine the place of the stand. But the reality is that the sales representative will not always influence it. However, if the placement is not satisfactory he should without hesitation take care of it and make the best arrangement and visibility possible.

The stand must work for itself. To make so, the sales representative must take care of its constant stocking and appropriate order. How many times have you come across a shop window where you have encountered exhibitions such as bookshelves, powder, a jar of cucumbers or a different set of products that were removed from the basket? Probably not once, and if it seems that the aesthetics of the exhibition is not crucial, let me emphasize once more that the sales rep must take care of its order, because „we buy with our eyes”.

It is also very important for the store shelves to include up-to-date brand communication in line with the company’s strategy and the information carrier which is the “price tag”. Exposition without price tags is not complete and this item should be guarded by the sales rep. And thus, passing through the location, visibility, adequate stocking, attractiveness, communication and clear price, we identify elements that should be maximally supervised to use the potential of the additional stands.

What additional stands means for store chains?

Yes, they gain in many areas. What exactly? Let’s start with the increased rotation. if the exhibition is properly prepared and supervised, we will certainly notice an increase in sales – the main expected benefit. Also, additional displays can be a way to test new products, flavor variants or innovations without the need to interrupt the shelf. Retail chains can also build their image. The attractiveness of the store increases when the placed display is original, spectacular, unique, impress with size or surprises with ingenuity.

Piotr Pilarski

Trade Marketing Manager