Shelf Monitoring

Boosting Store Sales by Improving On-Shelf Visibility - A Complete Guide

Ankit Singh
March 14, 2024
3
mins read

No doubt, COVID-19 has accelerated online grocery shopping; 93% of retail sales are still fulfilled offline, and among those who shop online, 65% do so directly from their local store.

This means that retailers have a large customer base to sell their products. However, they can only succeed if they stand out on the shelf and present their value to the customers distinct from their competitors, afterall what is seen is what is sold. 

If you’re a CPG brand, winning at the point of sale becomes important and this means improving on-shelf visibility. What it boils down to is presenting your products in a way that grabs your customers’ attention, helps them to locate their favorite products quickly, and encourages them to buy.

Here we cover the challenges CPG brands face when it comes to improving on-shelf visibility, how new age technologies like Image Recognition is empowering sales and category leaders tackle this and subsequently lift in-store brand visibility and boost store sales. 

Why In-Store Shelf Visibility Matters

Customers today are spoilt for choice more than ever…and still demand more. Personalization and offering distinct and memorable experiences is key to winning and delighting customers at the stores. It's a simple mantra: what a customer cannot see, won't buy. If a customer visits your store and can't find your product, or if another brand's product is in its place and looks more attractive, it can hurt your brand.Every sales leader knows this and still struggles to collaborate with their retailers and establish this in every store. 

Here's why it's important to focus on making sure your products are easy to see in stores:

Ensuring availability of key or top selling products on the shelf

What if one of your product customers has been searching for something out of stock?

It's a bummer, right? 

Well, good shelf management helps prevent those heart-sinking moments. 

By keeping tabs on inventory levels and restocking shelves promptly, you can ensure that customers can always find what they're looking for. 

It's all about striking that delicate balance between having enough stock to meet demand without drowning in excess inventory. 

So, staying on top of their game allows you to keep the sales flowing smoothly and avoid leaving customers empty-handed.

Customer Attention and Purchase Decisions

When products are easily visible on store shelves, they capture shoppers' attention, influencing their purchasing decisions. A Popai Shopper Engagement Study revealed that 76% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale

Imagine a crowded store shelf where items are poorly organized or hidden behind other products. In such cases, consumers may overlook those items altogether, leading to lost brand sales opportunities. 

Increasing the Visibility

Picture this: your customers walk into a store, scanning the aisles for something specific. 

What catches their eye first? 

Probably the items right at their eye level or in those bustling areas where everyone seems to be gravitating towards, right? 

The location of your product in a shop can make or break your sales.

And let's face it; if your customers don't see it, they won't buy it. 

By giving your products this front-and-center treatment, they're getting a VIP pass to shoppers' attention spans, which ultimately translates to more sales.

Brand Recognition and Loyalty

Visible shelf presence helps reinforce brand recognition and loyalty among consumers. When products are prominently displayed, they become more memorable, making it more likely that customers will choose them again in the future. According to research, 82% of shoppers purchase in-store, underscoring the importance of a strong in-store presence. 

For instance, consider the case of Coca-Cola, which maintains a dominant presence on store shelves worldwide. Its recognizable branding and strategic placement contribute to its continued success, with 90% of the world's population recognizing the Coca-Cola logo.

Competitive Advantage and Market Share

In today's competitive CPG landscape, maintaining visibility on store shelves is essential for securing a competitive advantage and safeguarding or increasing your market share. Brands that invest in eye-catching packaging and strategic shelf placement often outperform their competitors. 

According to the Packaging of the World,  70% of consumers try a new product because of eye-catching packaging. 

Procter & Gamble's Gillette razor blades utilize vibrant packaging and strategic shelf positioning to stand out among competitors. As a result, Gillette maintains a significant market share in the personal care industry, with over 60% of the global market share in razor blades.

Boosting Sales with Cross-Selling and Upselling

Okay, so a shopper got his eyes set on your product. But what if there's something else right next to it that complements it perfectly or offers a little extra oomph? 

That's where clever shelf design comes into play. 

By strategically placing related or upgraded items within arm's reach, you can tempt shoppers to add more to their carts than they originally planned. 

It's like when you go to a fast-food joint, and they ask, "Do you want fries with that?" Except, in this case, it's all about subtly nudging customers towards more significant purchases without making them feel pressured. 

It's a win-win for everyone involved – customers get more value, and you get more sales.

Challenges in improving On-Shelf Brand Visibility 

Increasing Competition

In a crowded retail environment, numerous brands are competing for consumer attention. This means that your products must contend with similar offerings from competitors.  Because consumers have plenty of choices to choose from, it’s a significant challenge for you to stand out from the crowd.

You must invest in understanding your competitors, analyzing your strategies, and finding unique selling propositions to differentiate yourself. This could involve product quality, packaging, branding, pricing, or promotional activities.

Limited Shelf Space

Since shelf space in retail stores is limited, getting a premium placement for your products is fiercely competitive. With only limited space available, you must carefully select which products to feature prominently. 

This decision involves product popularity, profit margins, and supplier promotional agreements. Maximizing visibility within this confined space is crucial for driving sales, as products that are not easily seen may be ignored by shoppers.

Adequate on-shelf stocking

When your products are unavailable on store shelves due to stockout, it results in missed sales opportunities and dissatisfied customers. 

It’s important to use effective inventory management practices to maintain consistent on-shelf availability, including accurate demand forecasting, efficient replenishment processes, and communication between suppliers and retailers. 

Unutilized Space for Advertising

Retail shelves often contain unused space that could be leveraged for advertising and promotion. Effective signage and displays can attract attention, communicate product benefits, and influence purchasing decisions. 

However, failing to utilize this space represents a missed opportunity to engage customers and drive sales. You should explore creative ways to maximize shelf space for promotional activities, such as eye-catching displays, product demonstrations, or interactive elements that enhance the shopping experience.

Overlooking Opportunities for Impulse Buying

Impulse purchases play a significant role in driving additional sales and increasing revenue for CPGs. However, failing to capitalize on these opportunities can result in lost sales. Create an environment encouraging impulse buying, such as placing complementary products together, offering limited-time promotions, or highlighting impulse items at checkout counters. By strategically positioning products and leveraging psychological triggers, you can stimulate impulse purchases and capitalize on consumer behavior.

5 Ways to Boost On-Shelf Product Visibility 

To address and overcome the above challenges, you can use the following solutions.

1. Optimize Shelf Layout: Arrange products logically and visually appealingly, prioritizing prime shelf space for best-selling items or new releases.

2. Adequate On-Shelf Stock: Ensuring the availability of key or top selling products, in every category,at all times in the right quantity is an important factor to ensure product visibility amongst consumers. 

3. Utilize Eye-Catching Signage: Invest in clear, informative signage highlighting key product features, promotions, or pricing to capture shoppers' attention and drive sales.

4. Implement Seasonal Displays: Refresh shelf displays regularly to align with seasonal trends or upcoming holidays, leveraging thematic decorations and promotions to engage shoppers and drive impulse purchases.

5. Leverage Technology: Embrace innovative solutions such as image recognition and AI technology to monitor shelf visibility, track on-shelf performance and identify real-time optimization opportunities.

6. Train Staff for Merchandising Excellence: Educate store staff on effective merchandising techniques and maintaining shelf visibility, empowering them to uphold visual standards and maximize sales potential.

The Power of Image Recognition Technology in Improving On-Shelf Visibility and Retail Execution Performance.

Image recognition technology offers CPGs a powerful tool for enhancing shelf visibility and driving sales. By leveraging advanced AI algorithms and machine learning capabilities, CPGs are empowered with on-shelf KPIs such as On-Shelf Availability (OSA), Share of Shelf,  Compliance metrics (Promo,pricing and planogram) in real-time and identify opportunities for optimization. This is done via capturing in-store images and processed by AI algorithms to detect every SKU on the shelf, SKU type,  placement, display banners, SKU pricing and more. 

Real-time insights provided by image recognition technology enable CPGs to make data-driven decisions to improve on-shelf visibility, maximize sales potential, and deliver exceptional shopping experiences to consumers.

If you’re planning to invest in image recognition software, ShelfWatch by ParallelDots can be your best choice. Having deployed this solution for some of the top global CPG companies, ShelfWatch AI provides real-time execution tracking and actionable insights to drive  perfect store execution. 

Harness the power of Image Recognition technology to revolutionize your retail strategy and elevate your shelf performance to new heights.

Conclusion

In today's competitive market, enhancing on-shelf visibility is a critical strategy for increasing product sales, brand share and improving top line growth. 

By ensuring that your products are adequately stocked, prominently displayed and easily accessible to customers, you can capture their attention, reinforce brand loyalty, and ultimately outshine your competitors. But, this is easier said than done. 

That's where an Image Recognition platform like Shelfwatch is the game changer. To see Shelfwatch in action and understand how it could benefit your brand, you could reach out to us here and one of our experts could get in touch with you. 

No doubt, COVID-19 has accelerated online grocery shopping; 93% of retail sales are still fulfilled offline, and among those who shop online, 65% do so directly from their local store.

This means that retailers have a large customer base to sell their products. However, they can only succeed if they stand out on the shelf and present their value to the customers distinct from their competitors, afterall what is seen is what is sold. 

If you’re a CPG brand, winning at the point of sale becomes important and this means improving on-shelf visibility. What it boils down to is presenting your products in a way that grabs your customers’ attention, helps them to locate their favorite products quickly, and encourages them to buy.

Here we cover the challenges CPG brands face when it comes to improving on-shelf visibility, how new age technologies like Image Recognition is empowering sales and category leaders tackle this and subsequently lift in-store brand visibility and boost store sales. 

Why In-Store Shelf Visibility Matters

Customers today are spoilt for choice more than ever…and still demand more. Personalization and offering distinct and memorable experiences is key to winning and delighting customers at the stores. It's a simple mantra: what a customer cannot see, won't buy. If a customer visits your store and can't find your product, or if another brand's product is in its place and looks more attractive, it can hurt your brand.Every sales leader knows this and still struggles to collaborate with their retailers and establish this in every store. 

Here's why it's important to focus on making sure your products are easy to see in stores:

Ensuring availability of key or top selling products on the shelf

What if one of your product customers has been searching for something out of stock?

It's a bummer, right? 

Well, good shelf management helps prevent those heart-sinking moments. 

By keeping tabs on inventory levels and restocking shelves promptly, you can ensure that customers can always find what they're looking for. 

It's all about striking that delicate balance between having enough stock to meet demand without drowning in excess inventory. 

So, staying on top of their game allows you to keep the sales flowing smoothly and avoid leaving customers empty-handed.

Customer Attention and Purchase Decisions

When products are easily visible on store shelves, they capture shoppers' attention, influencing their purchasing decisions. A Popai Shopper Engagement Study revealed that 76% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale

Imagine a crowded store shelf where items are poorly organized or hidden behind other products. In such cases, consumers may overlook those items altogether, leading to lost brand sales opportunities. 

Increasing the Visibility

Picture this: your customers walk into a store, scanning the aisles for something specific. 

What catches their eye first? 

Probably the items right at their eye level or in those bustling areas where everyone seems to be gravitating towards, right? 

The location of your product in a shop can make or break your sales.

And let's face it; if your customers don't see it, they won't buy it. 

By giving your products this front-and-center treatment, they're getting a VIP pass to shoppers' attention spans, which ultimately translates to more sales.

Brand Recognition and Loyalty

Visible shelf presence helps reinforce brand recognition and loyalty among consumers. When products are prominently displayed, they become more memorable, making it more likely that customers will choose them again in the future. According to research, 82% of shoppers purchase in-store, underscoring the importance of a strong in-store presence. 

For instance, consider the case of Coca-Cola, which maintains a dominant presence on store shelves worldwide. Its recognizable branding and strategic placement contribute to its continued success, with 90% of the world's population recognizing the Coca-Cola logo.

Competitive Advantage and Market Share

In today's competitive CPG landscape, maintaining visibility on store shelves is essential for securing a competitive advantage and safeguarding or increasing your market share. Brands that invest in eye-catching packaging and strategic shelf placement often outperform their competitors. 

According to the Packaging of the World,  70% of consumers try a new product because of eye-catching packaging. 

Procter & Gamble's Gillette razor blades utilize vibrant packaging and strategic shelf positioning to stand out among competitors. As a result, Gillette maintains a significant market share in the personal care industry, with over 60% of the global market share in razor blades.

Boosting Sales with Cross-Selling and Upselling

Okay, so a shopper got his eyes set on your product. But what if there's something else right next to it that complements it perfectly or offers a little extra oomph? 

That's where clever shelf design comes into play. 

By strategically placing related or upgraded items within arm's reach, you can tempt shoppers to add more to their carts than they originally planned. 

It's like when you go to a fast-food joint, and they ask, "Do you want fries with that?" Except, in this case, it's all about subtly nudging customers towards more significant purchases without making them feel pressured. 

It's a win-win for everyone involved – customers get more value, and you get more sales.

Challenges in improving On-Shelf Brand Visibility 

Increasing Competition

In a crowded retail environment, numerous brands are competing for consumer attention. This means that your products must contend with similar offerings from competitors.  Because consumers have plenty of choices to choose from, it’s a significant challenge for you to stand out from the crowd.

You must invest in understanding your competitors, analyzing your strategies, and finding unique selling propositions to differentiate yourself. This could involve product quality, packaging, branding, pricing, or promotional activities.

Limited Shelf Space

Since shelf space in retail stores is limited, getting a premium placement for your products is fiercely competitive. With only limited space available, you must carefully select which products to feature prominently. 

This decision involves product popularity, profit margins, and supplier promotional agreements. Maximizing visibility within this confined space is crucial for driving sales, as products that are not easily seen may be ignored by shoppers.

Adequate on-shelf stocking

When your products are unavailable on store shelves due to stockout, it results in missed sales opportunities and dissatisfied customers. 

It’s important to use effective inventory management practices to maintain consistent on-shelf availability, including accurate demand forecasting, efficient replenishment processes, and communication between suppliers and retailers. 

Unutilized Space for Advertising

Retail shelves often contain unused space that could be leveraged for advertising and promotion. Effective signage and displays can attract attention, communicate product benefits, and influence purchasing decisions. 

However, failing to utilize this space represents a missed opportunity to engage customers and drive sales. You should explore creative ways to maximize shelf space for promotional activities, such as eye-catching displays, product demonstrations, or interactive elements that enhance the shopping experience.

Overlooking Opportunities for Impulse Buying

Impulse purchases play a significant role in driving additional sales and increasing revenue for CPGs. However, failing to capitalize on these opportunities can result in lost sales. Create an environment encouraging impulse buying, such as placing complementary products together, offering limited-time promotions, or highlighting impulse items at checkout counters. By strategically positioning products and leveraging psychological triggers, you can stimulate impulse purchases and capitalize on consumer behavior.

5 Ways to Boost On-Shelf Product Visibility 

To address and overcome the above challenges, you can use the following solutions.

1. Optimize Shelf Layout: Arrange products logically and visually appealingly, prioritizing prime shelf space for best-selling items or new releases.

2. Adequate On-Shelf Stock: Ensuring the availability of key or top selling products, in every category,at all times in the right quantity is an important factor to ensure product visibility amongst consumers. 

3. Utilize Eye-Catching Signage: Invest in clear, informative signage highlighting key product features, promotions, or pricing to capture shoppers' attention and drive sales.

4. Implement Seasonal Displays: Refresh shelf displays regularly to align with seasonal trends or upcoming holidays, leveraging thematic decorations and promotions to engage shoppers and drive impulse purchases.

5. Leverage Technology: Embrace innovative solutions such as image recognition and AI technology to monitor shelf visibility, track on-shelf performance and identify real-time optimization opportunities.

6. Train Staff for Merchandising Excellence: Educate store staff on effective merchandising techniques and maintaining shelf visibility, empowering them to uphold visual standards and maximize sales potential.

The Power of Image Recognition Technology in Improving On-Shelf Visibility and Retail Execution Performance.

Image recognition technology offers CPGs a powerful tool for enhancing shelf visibility and driving sales. By leveraging advanced AI algorithms and machine learning capabilities, CPGs are empowered with on-shelf KPIs such as On-Shelf Availability (OSA), Share of Shelf,  Compliance metrics (Promo,pricing and planogram) in real-time and identify opportunities for optimization. This is done via capturing in-store images and processed by AI algorithms to detect every SKU on the shelf, SKU type,  placement, display banners, SKU pricing and more. 

Real-time insights provided by image recognition technology enable CPGs to make data-driven decisions to improve on-shelf visibility, maximize sales potential, and deliver exceptional shopping experiences to consumers.

If you’re planning to invest in image recognition software, ShelfWatch by ParallelDots can be your best choice. Having deployed this solution for some of the top global CPG companies, ShelfWatch AI provides real-time execution tracking and actionable insights to drive  perfect store execution. 

Harness the power of Image Recognition technology to revolutionize your retail strategy and elevate your shelf performance to new heights.

Conclusion

In today's competitive market, enhancing on-shelf visibility is a critical strategy for increasing product sales, brand share and improving top line growth. 

By ensuring that your products are adequately stocked, prominently displayed and easily accessible to customers, you can capture their attention, reinforce brand loyalty, and ultimately outshine your competitors. But, this is easier said than done. 

That's where an Image Recognition platform like Shelfwatch is the game changer. To see Shelfwatch in action and understand how it could benefit your brand, you could reach out to us here and one of our experts could get in touch with you. 

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Ankit Singh
Co-Founder, CTO ParallelDots
Ankit has over seven years of entrepreneurial experience spanning multiple roles across software development and product management with AI at its core. He is currently the co-founder and CTO of ParallelDots. At ParallelDots, he is heading the product and engineering teams to build enterprise grade solutions that is deployed across several Fortune 100 customers.
A graduate from IIT Kharagpur, Ankit worked for Rio Tinto in Australia before moving back to India to start ParallelDots.