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Enhance Shopper Navigation
Darren GilbertDec 11, 2023 4:30:00 PM11 min read

Enhance Shopper Navigation: Planogram Oversights in Medium Retail

Helping customers to navigate a store easily is just as critical for retailers as the products they stock. The key to getting it right lies in addressing planogram oversights, which are often the root cause of poor shopper navigation. Fortunately, by building and implementing planograms, retailers stand every chance of creating seamless and shopper-friendly journeys in-store.

Quote On Planogram Oversights

That partially explains why easy shopper navigation is pivotal. But there's more to it. Effective navigation, steered by well-thought-out planograms, directly influences customer satisfaction and retention. It's about crafting an environment where customers discover products rather than find them, turning routine shopping into an engaging journey, and encouraging repeat visits while fostering a lasting relationship between retailers and shoppers.

The 'how' is intricately tied to the strategic implementation of planograms. These tools enable retailers to design store layouts that naturally guide customers, highlight products, and create an intuitive shopping flow. Through careful planogram strategy, retailers can effectively address common planogram oversights, systematically eliminating navigational barriers. This paves the way for a shopping experience that is both efficient and enjoyable for every customer who walks through the door.

Identifying Common Navigation Challenges

Identifying common navigation challenges

Across all retail stores, easy customer navigation is critical in the shopping experience. Recognizing and addressing typical navigation issues is essential for customer satisfaction and optimizing sales. Identifying these planogram oversights and their impact on shopper navigation is the first step towards a more efficient retail environment.

But what are the common challenges shoppers face due to planogram oversights in these retail environments?

Cluttered aisles: the impediment to smooth shopping

One of the primary navigation issues in medium-sized stores is cluttered aisles. It often results from overstocking shelves or poorly planned product placement. Talk to any shopper, and they'll say a cluttered aisle makes it difficult for them to move freely and makes it challenging to find products.

How can you fix or avoid this? 

One way is to reduce the number of promotional stands in the aisles to improve the customer flow and shopping experience. Another is to ensure the aisles are wide enough for shoppers to move around freely. And then there is the point that retailers mustn't clutter the shelves with too many items so that they look messy.

Poor signage: the silent sales blocker

Another common oversight is inadequate or confusing signage. 

In a store with a wide variety of products, it's essential. Clear signage guides customers around. It also means retailers improve their sales since it's easier for shoppers to find what they want.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Create clear signage for each department that's easy to read and understand. This simple change helps customers find what they want quickly, increasing overall customer satisfaction and reducing their time spent in-store.

Confusing layout designs: Lost customers, lost sales due to planogram oversights

Confusing layout designs are particularly problematic in medium-sized stores. Why? An inconsistent or non-intuitive layout can disorient customers, leading to a frustrating shopping experience. 

Now consider what happens when a clothing retailer reorganizes their store layout to follow a more logical path and align related product categories. Such a redesign makes the shopping process more intuitive and encourages cross-departmental purchases.

Navigating through seasonal changes and planogram strategy adjustments

Seasonal changes influence product assortments and displays, which can disrupt familiar navigation paths for regular customers. Effective planogram adjustments are crucial during these times. 

How can retailers avoid or fix this problem? Let's consider a general merchandise retailer. They can manage seasonal layout changes by ensuring their core product areas remain consistent while only changing their seasonal display areas. 

Addressing these navigation challenges through careful planogram planning and execution is critical to enhancing the shopping experience. This approach minimizes common planogram oversights, thereby improving shopper navigation. By creating clear paths, logical layouts, and well-signed sections, retailers can ensure their customers can find what they need and enjoy their shopping journey, potentially leading to increased loyalty and sales.

Impact Of Poor Shelf Placement On Customer Flow

Impact of poor shelf placement on customer flow

Strategic shelf placement is pivotal to maintaining a smooth customer flow. Misplaced or suboptimally arranged shelves can create significant disruptions, impacting the shopping experience and store efficiency. Addressing these planogram oversights is key to optimizing shopper navigation and enhancing the overall retail environment.

Creating unintentional roadblocks

One common issue arising from poor shelf placement is the creation of physical and visual roadblocks. 

For example, a store can experience a drop in customer satisfaction due to overly bulky shelving units placed in high-traffic areas. These units obstruct the view and flow to other sections, causing customer frustration and disorientation.

Disrupting shopping patterns

Poorly thought-out shelf placement also disrupts customer shopping patterns. 

How? Irregular shelving can lead to chaotic movement patterns - customers must navigate awkwardly placed racks to find what they want. But it doesn't mean they'll find those items they're after. 

By realigning these racks to complement natural shopping patterns, retailers can enhance customer flow and improve the ease of shopping.

Impeding product visibility and access

Shelf placement that impedes product visibility and access also deters customers

A specialty food market might find that high-demand products are not receiving adequate attention or selling as expected. Why? One reason is that these items are at the bottom of shelves, making it harder to notice them. Alternatively, they are in inaccessible or hard-to-reach areas. 

Rearranging these products to eye-level shelves and more accessible locations improves customer flow and increases sales.

The role of effective planogram strategy

An effective planogram strategy is crucial in avoiding these pitfalls. 

After implementing a planogram strategy that optimizes product placement and ensures the correct number of facings for each item, retailers can expect multiple improvements. That includes creating an intuitive and enjoyable shopping experience that encourages customers to browse for longer and add more items to their baskets.

Encouraging exploration and discovery through thoughtful planogram strategy

Strategic shelf placement is about more than just avoiding negative impacts; it’s also about encouraging positive customer experiences. 

For example, a pharmacy store can rearrange its shelving to create ‘discovery zones’ with themed displays. It streamlines customer flow and enhances the shopping experience by making it more engaging and enjoyable.

Understanding and implementing effective shelf placement strategies are essential for medium-sized retailers. This approach, integral to a robust planogram strategy, ensures that common planogram oversights are addressed. It ensures that customers can navigate the store effortlessly, find products, and enjoy a positive shopping experience, which leads to better customer retention and increased sales.

Signage And Information Accessibility

Signage and information accessibility

Effective signage and information accessibility are crucial in aiding shopper navigation in medium-sized retail stores. We mentioned this earlier in the article, but it still deserves its section, especially considering its role in minimizing planogram oversights.

They guide, inform, and enhance the customer's shopping experience, and when implemented incorrectly, they can lead to confusion and frustration.

Importance of clear signage

Clear and visible signage is essential for guiding customers through a store efficiently. 

A common mistake is using small or poorly lit signs, which makes them difficult to read. 

For example, a clothing store in a mall can improve customer flow by replacing their small, dimly-lit aisle markers with large, brightly illuminated signs. 

This simple change makes it easier for customers to locate different sections, which enhances the overall shopping experience.

Avoiding confusing directions

Confusing directions in signage can mislead and frustrate shoppers. 

For example, if a medium-sized supermarket uses signs with complex layouts and too much information, it can overwhelm customers. By simplifying these signs to show only essential details in a clear, easy-to-follow format, the store makes it much easier for customers to find what they are looking for, improving the efficiency of their shopping trip.

There is another benefit here. It puts the belief in shoppers' minds that they want to return because they found the items the last time they visited.

Providing necessary product information

Customers often rely on signage for product information. A common oversight is not providing enough product details, especially in stores that stock items across multiple categories and departments. 

For example, a specialty health food store can enhance customer satisfaction by including information such as nutritional facts, pricing, and product benefits on their shelf tags. That helps shoppers navigate and empowers customers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Consistency in signage and planogram strategy

Consistency in signage across the store is another crucial tip for easy navigation. 

Let's say, for example, a hardware store chain implements a standardized signage system across all its locations, using the same color scheme and font style. Such consistency helps customers familiarize themselves with the store layout more quickly. Customers can also expect to have the same experience no matter which store they visit. 

Again, it helps plant the idea in their minds that shopping at such stores is easy and they should return if they're looking for similar items.

Interactive and digital signage as a planogram strategy tool

Incorporating interactive and digital signage is an innovative way to improve navigation. 

For example, an electronics store could introduce touch-screen kiosks that provide customers with product information, store maps, and promotional details. Doing so modernizes the shopping experience and provides customers with an easy way to access information without looking for a store attendant.

Effective signage and information accessibility are pivotal in enhancing shopper navigation in medium-sized retail stores. By ensuring clarity, simplicity, and consistency in signage, retailers can significantly improve the shopping experience, addressing common planogram oversights and leading to increased customer satisfaction and potentially higher sales.

Optimizing Aisle Spacing And Layout

Optimizing aisle spacing and layout

In medium-sized retail environments, aisle spacing and overall layout influence customer experience. Achieving the right balance between product density and navigational ease is often a challenge that, if overlooked, can lead to cramped and confusing store layouts, a clear example of planogram oversights impacting shopper navigation.

The balance of aisle spacing

Aisle spacing is critical in store design. Narrow creates a cramped shopping environment. However, too wide aisles reduce the area available for product display. Strategically optimizing aisle spacing is a key aspect of planogram strategy, ensuring a balance that enhances shopper navigation.

Take the example of a medium-sized health and beauty store that reconfigures its aisles. Before they reconfiguration, their narrow aisles lead to congestion during peak hours. Customers would walk into each other trying to shop. Widening the aisles improved customer flow and made the shopping experience more pleasant without significantly reducing product space.

Navigational flow and layout configuration in planogram design

The overall layout configuration should facilitate a logical and intuitive navigational flow. A common mistake is a layout, which forces customers to backtrack or navigate or navigate in a confusing manner. This is often a result of planogram oversights, which can be rectified by adopting a more cohesive planogram strategy to streamline shopper navigation.

A medium-sized grocery store can address this issue by rearranging its layout to create a more circular flow, guiding customers naturally from one section to the next, reducing congestion, and improving the ease of shopping.

Product density versus navigation

Balancing product density with ease of navigation is vital. Overstocking shelves or placing too many display units can make a store feel cluttered. Careful consideration of these factors is crucial in planogram strategy to avoid common planogram oversights and improve shopper navigation.

How can a retailer avoid this? One solution is to use slimmer display units and limit the number of items on each rack, thus maintaining a wide variety of products while ensuring the space doesn't feel overcrowded.

Importance of sight lines

Maintaining clear sight lines throughout the store helps customers locate sections and products. A common oversight in medium retail stores is obstructing these lines with tall displays or signage. Effective planogram strategy involves ensuring these sight lines are unobstructed, facilitating better shopper navigation.

The fix is straightforward - lower shelf heights and place hanging signs above eye level, which helps customers see across the store and find their way more easily.

Adapting to customer feedback

Adapting aisle spacing and layout based on customer feedback is also crucial. It could be one of the most important tips - speaking and getting feedback on how customers find shopping in-store. Do they enjoy it? What don't they like? Incorporating this feedback into planogram strategy can significantly reduce planogram oversights and enhance shopper navigation.

A pharmacy store could use customer surveys to understand layout frustrations. Based on the collected data, they can then reorganize their space, which results in improved customer satisfaction and increased sales.

Optimizing aisle spacing and layout in medium-sized retail stores requires careful consideration of customer navigation and comfort. Balancing product density with navigational ease and adapting to customer feedback can help retailers create an inviting and efficient shopping environment.


Addressing planogram oversights is fundamental in refining shopper navigation. With a strategic planogram strategy, retailers can create a journey that delights and guides customers. Elevate your store's navigational experience today by downloading a free 14-day trial of DotActiv Enterprise, and turn every visit into a seamless shopping adventure.


Darren Gilbert

Darren Gilbert joined in 2017 and is the content manager. He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Stellenbosch.