Creating Your Micro Market Planogram

Here’s an article that is really beneficial to micro market operators everywhere! Although this article is from the Summer of 2014 it’s still relevant to your process.  Take a look!

How to Create Your Micro Market Planogram

By Brad Bachtellejune-mm_11526616

Here Are Some Great Take Aways:

Operator questions continually arise as to how to merchandise and planogram micro markets. What are the difficulties in creating a planogram for a micro market? How do I assign shelf space to new products when I still have older products that haven’t sold? How often should I change my market planogram? Should I have visible prices?

  1. Don’t apply “heritage merchandising” from vending to micro markets. Micro market open shelving allows for a much greater set of product options. A major operator miss-step in micro market merchandising and product selection is to rely upon vending experience as the primary basis.
  2. Planogram development is a two-step process: 1) shelf space allocation based on a space-to-sales calculation and 2) selection of category products, including core and variety/rotational products.
  3. Allocation by shelving type:
    Shelf space allocation is straightforward and begins by analyzing and totaling micro market sales by both major product categories (food, beverages, snacks, etc.) and sub-categories (soft drinks, energy drinks, juices, etc. within beverages; cookies, salty snacks, candy, etc. within snacks). As most product sub-categories have common temperature requirements for all sub-category products (juices are always refrigerated; chips are always at ambient temperature), the second step is to group sub-category sales by the type of shelves (ambient, refrigerated, etc.) on which they are presented to consumers. We now have a total dollar sales level for each shelf type.
  4. For Example, Salty snacks represented 33 percent of total snack sales and candy 28 percent. Accordingly, an appropriate planogram for these markets should initially allocate one-third of the snack shelf space to salty snacks and, similarly, a 28 percent portion of candy. 
  5. It is very important to ease consumer shopping by grouping same-category products together.  Examples: The smaller footprint and space between shelves for bar goods will enable better consumer access by moving their category positions onto higher shelves. Larger graphic items can be easily identified by consumers regardless of their shelf positions, so lower shelf placement makes sense without losing consumer visibility. Gum and mint items are generally impulse purchases, so placement high on shelving units or near the checkout kiosk makes sense to gain that incremental purchase.
  6. Products should always include a combination of core products that are leading, proven items, plus new or variety products that present consumers with options within a category. The general rule of thumb is that core products should represent 70 to 80 percent of category SKUs to ensure strong consistent sales.
  7. It is also important to understand that every top selling product at some point was “new” and that every retailer has at some time added products that have underperformed versus expectations. “New” is okay!
  8. Rotating second-tier brands within a micro market product set will often deliver a sales spike and also make the micro market look “fresh” to consumers.
  9. Draw attention to new products with signage: As operators add new products to their micro markets, there are two options for their location – a separate “new item” shelf area just for such items, or the placement of the new products within their general category shelf space. Whichever approach is taken, new products need to be clearly identified as such to draw attention.
  10. It is important that the slow sellers are identified and “moved out” to allow that shelf space to be used for better selling items. The worst thing is to leave poor sellers in a market to just “sell through.” Once a decision has been made to discontinue an item, do something to eliminate the item from the micro-market within a short time period.
  11. Micro-market planograms need to be adjusted or “refreshed” for two reasons: 1) to keep market product sets looking new and interesting to consumers and 2) to tweak individual location shelf space allocations according to the specific sales and consumer demand at the account.
  12. After about six weeks following a micro market installation, it is important to do an initial planogram review. A category sales analysis on the new market will show the specific consumption pattern for that location. Category shelf space adjustments and elimination of slow moving products can then occur to better offer the location a product set that best matches demand.
  13. It is best to routinely and relatively frequently change the micro market product set to keep the overall micro market and its appearance from getting “old” or “stale” from the consumer’s perspective.
  14.  Market planograms should be refreshed at least every four months to let consumers know their micro market operator is on top of product selection and merchandising.

Sends Sales to Spooky Levels!

Now is the time to take advantage of the upcoming holiday, Halloween! Holidays and events bring in the peaks of sales – if you market them correctly, that is. Make sure you have your candy, pumpkins, and spooky treats on display in your Three Square Market!

Follow these 4 steps to effectively market during Halloween:


Tell people about it! Create signs to place by the entrance and around your market, post about Halloween on social media, and remind clients and customers about it through word-of-mouth. Anything to get the buzz, well… buzzing! Take advantage of last minute purchases, by having convenient items for those customers that haven’t thought ahead.


Decorate for it. Get people in the mood and enthusiastic about the eerie holiday! Decorations don’t need to be excessive or over-the-top to get the point across. A few things here and there will get noticed and (sometimes subconsciously) be the extra push to get someone to buy an item they might not have otherwise thought to purchase.


Offer deals or specials. Sometimes, advertising and placing items in the right places is enough to make the sales. However, during Halloween, deals might be necessary for increasing sales. Typically, deals are offered at other competing stores – bulk candy, dollar decoration items, etc. Instead of simply offering discounts, you might want to have a BOGO style sale, limited-time-only offers … Get creative!


Strategize the placement of your merchandise. The seasonal merchandise that you offer during a limited time should typically be placed by the entrance/exit and by the kiosk. These items should be the first and last thing that customers see, because they are the most important items to show-off, during Holidays. Keep the items you want to sell most or have the highest mark-up, at eye level. Try putting products on separate displays. Basically, give the customers no way to miss them! Place complimentary items near each other. Again, creativity is key! It’s the upsell! A simple way to get customers buying not only what they came in for, but a little something extra.


Follow these simple steps and push your sales to scary levels this Halloween!

Merchandising: 10 Tips You Might Have Missed

We have already discussed the basic Do’s and Dont’s of merchandising. Now it’s time to take it a step further! There are always ways to improve your merchandising skills. One of those ways is to think of the things you might have missed, the first time around.

Here are 10 tips you might have missed:

1. Print, Please!

Everybody, these days, has access to a printer. If you can’t go for the laminated, customized signs, at the very least you should print prices, messages, and info onto card stock paper. Use fonts, colors and styles that match your company theme and logo. For any signs, aim high for the most elaborate ones and then go down from there, depending on budget. NEVER handwrite signs!


2. Put Your Market on the Map

Literally, make a map of your store and the products in it. Walkthrough, as a customer, and ask yourself, “Does this make sense?” If you’re looking for any particular item, offered at your market, is it in a place that you would think to look for it? Make sure the flow of products almost forces customers to walk through the entire market. Put destination items at the back corner and impulse-purchase items near the kiosks. Put sale items near the back of the market so bargain hunters will walk through, as well. Do this regularly, to stay updated. It might help to have different people do this, to get a variety of opinions.


3. Compliments Work

Think about your products. Which ones go together? Make sure to place complimentary items together to encourage customers to purchase more and give you the upsell that increases your profits. For example, you could put salty items near water, chocolate next to milk, donuts next to coffee, etc… You might think these types of pairings are obvious, but when a customer is rushing to get what they came for they might not search the market for the complimentary item, or even think about it. Placing them together gives customers the reminder they need. Try to find a few complimentary items and put them all on the same display, stand or shelf.

4. Be a Team

Check with suppliers, vendors and distributors for co-advertising opportunities. Many of them will have posters and display items to help sell their products. By using these signs, you’re helping them help you – everybody wins!

5. Color Blocking

Help your products stand out by using colors that make them POP!  Use black backing for bakery items, fruits, and vegetables. Create window and table displays with one color then place items, in that color spectrum, on it. You want every product to be seen. Using this technique can help you accomplish that!


6. Be Generous!

Selling one item, and LOTS of it is the goal! Try highlighting one product and pushing sales by offering it in abundance. If the product comes in other sizes and colors, offer those too!  Keep it consistent through the entire market.

7. You Must Be This Tall

You don’t want your market to, literally, fall flat. Keep your displays interesting by finding variety in heights. Walk around your market and find opportunities to mix it up. Make sure displays have items of different heights. If all of the items happen to be the same height, stack them in a cool way, or use smaller stands or blocks to change it up. This will help to keep customers engaged in the market, and avoid products getting lost amongst the rest.

8. Let There Be Light!

Don’t leave any products in the dark. Make sure that the lighting in your market helps to showcase the products. When possible, on special displays, use small spotlights facing the products to help them really stand out! If your market has rows of shelves, make sure they are lined up with any ceiling lights, so that the light falls between the rows, lighting up the products. Don’t let any products sit in a dark spot, or they won’t be seen.


9. Keep it Clean

This might seem like an obvious tip – and it should be! Dust and dirt become obvious to customers. It makes the products and your entire market unappealing. Cleaning your market should be done very frequently, if not every time you visit. This includes dusting and wiping off shelves, displays, the insides of any coolers, the kiosks, floors, etc… People want to buy new products. New products should be fresh and clean! If a customer goes into a market and sees an amazing display with really great products on it, clearly labeled and ready to purchase from, none of that will matter to them if the display is full of dust. Keep your market and the products in it clean!

10. Makes Sense!

Most of the merchandising we have gone through is visual merchandising.. But don’t forget, we have 4 other senses.

    1. SOUND: Play music in your market that will keep customers around, not drive them away. It is important to know your customer. Adjust your music to the demographics of your clientele, if you want to slow customers down and get them to browse play more mellow music. Whichever music is best for your environment, keep it relatively quiet. Nobody likes to go into a market and not be able to hear themselves thinking. Also, to state the obvious, keep your music clean, too. Avoid music with offensive language.
    2. SMELL: You might not think about it at first, but smell is one of the most important senses to pay attention to in merchandising. It is the quickest sense we have to get to the brain. It can bring back memories and bring out emotions. Use this to your advantage! Have fresh-baked goods, flowers or other pleasantly scented items around to put customers in a good mood.
    3. TASTE: If you are able to offer samples, try it! They work like a charm.
    4. TOUCH: People often learn and become engaged by doing. If you offer any products that customers might like to try before purchasing, have a sample, unpackaged item out for them to try. It might give them the reassurance they need to purchase that item. Also, keep in mind the temperature of your market. During the hot, summer days, keep it cool and refreshing. When it’s cold, keep your market a little warmed up. Make sure your customers are as comfortable as possible, so they aren’t rushed to leave.


Follow these 10 tips to make the most of your Three Square Market! Take a look at LinkedIn and Shopify for more details on merchandising.

Merchandising: Do’s and Dont’s

Using Break Room Market technology and an increased product base can bring in the 70% of customers not utilizing traditional vending methods. Three Square Market gives you the opportunity to include a mobile app option, keep track of products through our ordering intelligence system, customize your market, take advantage of the most complete anti-theft tools, and use a pricing structure designed to allow operators to equip their market with the most complete solution possible! Businesses will benefit by having increased employee satisfaction, more productive employees, increased employee retention, and so much more!

Make the most of your Three Square Market by effectively merchandising your products!

Let’s start by understanding what merchandising really is and why we do it:

Merchandising is the art of staging a store to encourage consumers to purchase more products.”

By merchandising properly, you should: sell more products, sell products before the shelf life runs out, maximize floor space, encourage customers to spend more, gain customer loyalty, and ultimately, drive sales and increase profits!

Follow these Do’s and Dont’s to master the art of merchandising, enhance your market and drive sales through the roof!

  • DO: Place high-priced, “top-shelf” items on the top shelf or up high
  • DO: Put the most important items at the top-left. Most people read from left to right, top to bottom.
  • DO: Place “destination” items on the bottom shelves. These are items that customers seek out and will purchase regardless of price or promotion
  • DO: Place destination items, like milk and eggs, in the furthest corner, to encourage customers to walk through the entire market
  • DO: Place competitive, high-impulse, enticing products at eye-level
  • DO: Place promoted products, with the highest profit margin, on the end caps
  • DO: Put close-out items in “dump bins” or “offer bins”, which are associated with cheap prices
  • DO: Separate green vegetables with colorful ones, to engage the customer’s eye
  • DO: Use black backing on bakery displays, so the food stands out
  • DO: Stagger shelves on fresh food displays, so more of the food is visible
  • DO: Use props, like flowers or wine bottles, when appropriate, to create an emotional response
  • DO: Place impulse-purchase items near the kiosks
  • DO: Use eye-catching displays, such as standalone setups, to draw customers in
  • DO: Make all signs clear and easy to read
  • DO: Have one single, clear message per sign
  • DO: Document successful and unsuccessful market layouts for future reference
  • DO: View your market layout in the customer’s point of view; make changes accordingly
  • DON’T: Don’t separate like-items. For example, Coca-cola products should be placed next to Pepsi products, chips should be placed next to other salty items (Chex, Pringles…), etc.
  • DON’T: Don’t over-crowd your market. Fill it with as many products as possible, without making it difficult for customers to walk through
  • DON’T: Don’t leave empty spaces. Re-organize shelves frequently, so that items are in their correct places and are on the edges of the shelves, close to the customers
  • DON’T: Don’t leave a mess. Keep your market clean and neat, for a positive customer experience
  • DON’T: Don’t hide promotions. Make sure any sales or promotions you have are clearly announced
  • DON’T: Don’t forget about smartphones! Promote the mobile app to drive more sales
  • DON’T: Don’t wait to update. Update all signs and prices immediately after making changes
  • DON’T: Don’t leave broken items or displays unfixed
  • DON’T: Don’t ignore the shelf life of items. Make sure every item in your market is good for customers to purchase and/or consume
  • DON’T: Don’t forget about your local community. Incorporate local events or needs into your market to create an emotional connection with your customer

Creativity is key!

When you are merchandising products in your Three Square Market, don’t be afraid to try new things! Not every method works the same for every market. Keeping in mind the specific needs of your community is an important part of finding the best option for your market. Go to our website to discover how we can help enhance your business!

Visit Chron, Sam’s Club, and Convenience Store Decisions for more in-depth details on our helpful Do’s and Don’ts!