To planogram or not to planogram?

Ed Sibley




 Ed Sibley, Client Director

That is apparently the question asked by many retailers. Our research suggests that 58% of unaffiliated independent retailers do not follow recommended category planograms. This might be a shocking statistic to some, but it’s important to dig a little deeper to understand the full picture.

Whilst almost 7 in 10 symbol group retailers tell us that they follow suggested plans all or most of the time, it is the unaffiliated stores which seem to often disregard this advice. Why is this? Well, they may need convincing of the benefits of implementing these – only 20% believe that sales will increase as a result of following the advice, and even less think that it will have any effect on footfall. So we must start here, using sales data and testimonials from others to inform of the benefits of following this category guidance. Category reviews take time, resource and often financial commitment from retailers, a return on investment is needed.

Both symbol and unaffiliated retailers look to a variety of sources for category advice – wholesalers, manufacturer sales reps and the trade press being the most often quoted. Suppliers and wholesalers must challenge themselves to ensure consistency of these recommendations across the market. Retailers unconvinced on the use of planograms will be made even more sceptical if receiving inconsistent advice from different sources, and how can we blame them? But with the independent convenience market being anything but a one size-fits-all model, rigid planograms are sometimes not the optimal solution. The idea of core ranging has developed over the years and provides the local flexibility that independent retailers need and demand. In categories like soft drinks, retailers are twice as likely to follow a core range recommendation than a full planogram.

We know that consistency and quality of range is extremely important to the modern convenience shopper, and has been seen as an area in which independent stores fall behind their multiple counterparts. So what to do? We need to work together to ensure a consistent message reaches the retailer, which provides not only the ‘what’ but the ‘how’ and most importantly the ‘why’.

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