Why are gondola ends so important?

It’s no secret that retailers and brands spend a fortune on in-store activation. Instore activity is important as it’s one of the key ways in which retailers can engage with shoppers. A gondola end is a merchandise display on a shelving unit at the end of an aisle in a retail store and is often thought of as a secondary site to sell products. The gondola end is used for temporary product placement during a promotional period.

There are many benefits associated with gondola ends for retailers such as:

  • Versatile and flexible shelving
  • Easily adaptable shelving to fit a range of products
  • Graphics or signage can be added to create an influential point of purchase
  • Visuals can be easily changed for seasonal updates
  • Increases sales in retail

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How to measure the success of a gondola end?

When thinking about the effectiveness of gondola ends, it depends on how success is defined. Research has found that although gondola ends are effective in increasing sales revenue it may not occur from direct gondola end sales.

Observational research conducted by Spark Emotions across 14 stores, found that gondola ends did create a sales uplift, but this was driven by signposting the category in the power aisle, not just sales from the gondola end. This means that the way the gondola end can be used needs to be thought of more tactically previously thought. Products and messages need to be placed on the end of aisle that prompt and signpost shoppers to the category as close to the aisle of interest as possible in order to help signposting.

Another piece of research based on a crisps manufacturer sold 75% of their product on promotion, when they ran a gondola end display in-store sales increased by 200-300%. As such the manufacturer invested a large amount on key gondola end displays. Interestingly, in-store research showed that <10% of sales actually came from the location of the gondola end. The display end plays an important role in attracting shoppers to notice and see the category (mental availability piece), but many shoppers actually purchase from the main location.

Based on this research it’s important to consider that gondola ends are placed in a location that draws the attention of shoppers, the strategic location of the shelves increase the store’s chances of selling an item and lifting their front-end sales. Some examples of ways that retailers lift their front-end sales include; the placement of gondola shelves at checkout, illuminating displays to increase impulse buying, stocking popular items and stocking items on sales.

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How will HFSS impact retailers and brands gondola end strategy?

Gondola ends have been a large source of investment for retailers and brands to this date, however, in October 2022 the government’s new HFSS legislation will come into force. As part of their campaign to tackle obesity, the government will ban gondola end and checkout placement of foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

For many non-compliant brands, the big question on their mind will be “where should I spend my money”. The option to negotiate secondary space will no longer be available. Losing secondary space means that there will be a greater need to drive traffic to the ‘fixture’ and stand out vs the competition. On the other hand, for compliant products more opportunities will open as a result of the restrictions.

How we can help

At Spark Emotions, we are experts at understanding how to attract and engage shoppers in-store and we can help you really understand the behaviour gondola ends drive. Our market research experts help you gain a deep understanding of your shoppers’ behaviour by combining consumer psychology with industry expertise to generate actionable insights that will drive business growth.

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Written by Binna Chopra, Research Manager at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Binna via email binna.chopra@sparkemotions.com or connect with her on LinkedIn

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