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What Is Planogram and Why It Is Important in Retail

When I was working as a retail manager, one of the things that we would often talk about was planograms. As a retail manager, I found planograms to be incredibly helpful in terms of increasing sales and making sure that our store was organized in the most efficient way possible. However, I know that not everyone is familiar with them. So today, I wanted to take some time to write about what is planogram  and why it’s important for retailers!

What is a planogram?

What is planogram? A planogram is a tool that can be used by retail businesses in visual merchandising in order to create a schematic drawing of a physical store. This drawing can then be used to help plan the layout of the store and optimize sales through strategic product placement.

There are many benefits to using planograms, such as streamlining the process of stocking shelves and improving customer satisfaction.

A planograms main goal is to help stores maximize their store space. But ultimately, the planogram is there to help increase sales.

Inventory management software can help businesses figure out how much stock they need for each of their products.

This example shows the layout of one set of shelves using a planogram.

Planogram Best Practices

Here are some best practices for using Planogram.

Start Simple

Eventually, you will stop. Your time is limited and valuable. Many retailers make the planogram process too complicated and eventually lose motivation after a few months. If it takes a lot of time to create, then the likelihood of doing it every month will gradually decrease as time goes on. Eventually, they will stop altogether because their time is limited and valuable.

At some point, you will quit. Your time is precious and limited.

Don’t adopt a process that you can’t sustain, because it’ll only frustrate your employees.

Train Your Employees

Spend time training your employees on how to use a planogram. Your veteran employees especially will think they don’t need it, but it is important for everyone to be on the same page and understand how the planogram works.

Giving a diagram is not enough. You must be specific.

Have some guidelines for your agents to follow.

Measure Your Plan

Every month, pull reports on your sales and analyze your planogram.

Assign Your Champions

At our store, we assign champions or leads for each section. This person is in charge of the sales and visual merchandising out of that area. Having a designated champion helps to ensure that each section of the store is running smoothly and efficiently.

As part of the process, allow your champions or leads to do planogram designs and plans for their own sections. A well-merchandised store is the best defense against theft since it’s easy to tell when something is missing.

Know Your Customer

Today’s shoppers want a product they can easily see and reach. They not only want to touch and feel the product, but they also want to interact with it.

For some businesses, having fewer products out and more interactive displays is the right way to approach their store.

If you’re not using planograms, it’s time to start. Just like having an open-to-buy system is critical to your inventory management success, so is the visual retail merchandising driven by your planogram.

How to create a planogram for your retail store

While proper, robust, and detailed plans are important, they aren’t always necessary.

Even if you don’t need or plan on using a highly detailed store layout, you can still use the strategies and concepts behind a well-thought-out and planned out floor plan.

If you decide that planograms are the way to go, there are a few options.

Hire a planogram specialist

A planogram specialist is someone who designs retail layouts based on customer behavior and sales goals.

If your business is on the smaller side, you can also assign the responsibility of creating and managing retail planograms to a visual merchandiser. Visual merchandisers typically focus on creating aesthetically pleasing product displays that will encourage customers to make a purchase.

Planogrammers focus on creating efficient and practical product displays that are easy for customers to navigate. Visual merchandisers, on the other hand, tend to focus on creating aesthetically pleasing displays that will incite purchases.

While these two positions have very different responsibilities, they both have the same end goal: making more product sales and generating more revenue.

Consult with planogram experts

If you’re not looking to bring on a full-time employee for this role, consider using a third-party expert. This will likely be a more cost-effective option and allow you to access specific knowledge.

If you’re looking for help with visual merchandising, Envirosell is a great option. They specialize in using behavioral research to create effective planograms. Retail Smart is another great choice for retail space planning assistance. They offer both consulting services and software solutions.

Use planogram software

There are also plenty of options for retail planning tools, including a free option from DotActiv. For more advanced features, you can upgrade to a pay-for-planography tool.

You can also invest in a paid planogram software package that has more features.

There are many software options available to help you create planograms. Some are free, while others come with a cost. Paid planogram software often has more features than free versions. Some popular planogram software options include ShopShape, JDA’s Planogram Generator, SmartDraw, and Shelf Logic.

DIY your planogram

Go the old fashioned way and sketch out your planograms by hand. Or, use online software like Planorama, which lets you create, edit, and share store layouts.

If you’re familiar with Google Docs, you can use its tools to create a planogram. However, for the best results, it’s advisable to use a pre-existing template or one designed specifically for visuals (like Photoshop).


If you’re a retailer, then it’s important to understand what is planogram and how it can help you increase sales and optimize space. Planograms may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get the hang of them, they’ll be an invaluable tool in your retail arsenal!