Understanding the Retail Planogram

Planograms are retail industry-specific visual diagrams that act as both maps and action plans, usually created by a retailer’s visual merchandising team. (You might also see them referred to as schematics, or POGs.) They’re critical resources for communicating a merchandiser’s vision to the store managers and retail installer teams tasked with bringing it to life on the sales floor. In our time in the industry, we have from time to time been brought in to do a fixer job on installations that’ve been botched by a previous team; and of those botched, almost all that didn’t come down to simple, lazy corner-cutting boil down to improper reading of the planogram. That’s why it’s so important to us that all of our Sky Certified Installers pass training on how to read them properly.

How Planograms are Created

Not all planograms are the same. Large retailers typically hire visual merchandising specialist teams to research the best ways to promote product sales and ensure consistency through in-store positioning of products, decor, and displays—they may even have a full-time planogrammer! Retailers of this size usually opt for enterprise software specifically for creating planograms, so they look a bit more standardized from retailer to retailer.  Smaller retailers may have to forego the specialized software (it is expensive) and create their own planogram templates, so the look and structure of these can vary more widely.

Why You Want to Follow the Planogram to a “T”

Because we use the planogram to place retail design elements like decor, graphics, and signage, you could be forgiven for thinking the planogram comes straight from a retail designer, or that the reason for precision is just to make sure the store looks as good as the design. In fact, while retail designers play a huge role in designing the elements and creating the vision that pulls them all together, visual merchandising professionals play a huge role in making the plan customer behavior and sales-based.

Merchandisers study customer behavior in-store to predict the most heavily-trafficked areas, where people stop, how they proceed through the store, and where they look the longest. They use this data s to decide how to place the store’s merchandise strategically to reach the most customers and promote more sales, while creating a supportive experience for the customer as well. If you don’t follow the planogram to the letter, you’re not just making an aesthetic faux pas—you might be undercutting sales on the retail floor!

And that’s something we never want to get lost in translation.

To find out more about our training process for planograms, or anything else, contact us here.