How to optimise gondola ends

Gondola ends are the most lucrative location in a store for our brands right?

Well this maybe so…. but it doesn’t mean that we are maximizing their sales potential. We need to get much smarter about how we execute at gondola ends to optimise the available green shoots there. The question is HOW do we do this? The answers lie with understanding your shoppers better …

Here are our four top tips to get you started:

Tip One – Consider mission and mindset when choosing where to buy gondola space

Store layouts haven’t fundamentally changed in 60 years, but how we use the space has. With a greater emphasis on smaller basket missions, gone are the days when shoppers trawl up and down every aisle, having the opportunity to see all of our product offers and gondola ends. Shoppers are focused in their movement around store; following a learnt cognitive map for their specific mission today.
Having good visibility for our gondola ends means being in the parts of the store where the key shopping missions DO visit. Some of the obvious store zones with high footfall will be near to categories such as fresh, chilled and bread. But all brands will be clambering to get into this space, meaning we need a better understanding of missions and store usage if we want to find some alternative locations.
Missions should also influence WHAT we promote on the gondolas. If the majority of shoppers are carrying a basket, then a BOGOF on heavy 2 litre soft drinks is probably not the best idea!Shopper mindset will also influence the performance of our gondola ends in different locations. During the early part of their trip, shoppers will understandably have higher energy levels; making them more receptive to deals and offers. The further into the shop they go, the more fatigued they become. Coupled with feeling tired, shoppers are increasingly aware of how much they have already spent; meaning they may think twice about that deal on the end. Not to mention the more practical considerations such as “do I really want that heavy box of beer squashing my bread and vegetables?”Therefore, understanding how stores are used, what missions people are generally completing and their mindset in each store zone should be influencing where in store we invest in gondola space.Tip Two – Passing doesn’t mean noticing

We all know what it’s like when we go shopping….it’s so routine that we often switch off. Therefore we become blinkered. This means that we miss things, and gondola ends are no exception. Ok … they might sell WELL, but they could sell MORE if we could only convert a fraction more of those shoppers passing our display. Increased conversion can be achieved through better VISIBILITY for the deal and product we are promoting – making more passing shoppers SEE your gondola.

Generating optimum stand out will result from better understanding shoppers. If we consider how shoppers use a store and therefore approach a gondola end, they will typically view the gondola end from the power aisle or whilst entering or exiting an aisle.

Yet, with a typical gondola end, the communication and display is least visible from both these angles.

This means that many shoppers are not going to SEE your offer and therefore won’t consider or buy it – a wasted sales opportunity.

Many retailers are already on the way to solving this by executing things like off-set aisles – where you are able to see the gondola head on when you walk down an aisle, rather than seeing another aisle. Angled gondolas and communication facing the traffic flow are other popular tactics that really help to increase gondola end visibility.

Tip Three – consider the ROLE of the gondola end

The primary objective for brands buying gondola space will be to shift extra product. However, in most cases, branded gondola offers will also be sold in the main aisle. This begs the question of where the brand uplift has been generated from – the gondola or the aisle? Do shoppers buying from the end also enter the aisle or do they walk away? Do shoppers buying the brand from the main aisle also engage with the gondola display? If we can’t answer these questions, we won’t know what the true ROLE is for that gondola end. Are we selling stock on deal to people who would have purchased anyway? Are we encouraging shoppers to avoid the main aisle by putting key brands on the end? Or is the gondola end acting as a prompt for shoppers to visit the main aisle? Answers to these questions help us to understand what we put on the gondola end (e.g. best selling brands or NPD) and whether it’s essential for the display to be adjacent to the main associated aisle. The answers will come from observing your shoppers and their behaviours in the store.

Tip four- keep it simple!

The fourth and final tip today is one that runs throughout all our recommendations when it comes to shoppers – keep it simple!

We can only process a limited amount of information when shopping, so the simpler the message and the offer, the easier it will be for shoppers to decode and make decisions. This could be a visual of the product on the side of the gondola, with a simple price message (as per the example above).

In summary, gondola ends are a valuable sales vehicle for us. Shoppers have learnt that deals are often located here and more often than not, we see an uplift when our brands are on the end. However, more could be done to optimise our investment here by:

• Understanding WHERE to buy space through better understanding missions and mindset

• Making product and offer more VISIBLE to passing traffic

• Understanding the ROLE for the gondola end

• Keeping the message and offer SIMPLE!

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