Post Categories: June 2017

Retail Execution: From Planogram to Execution

Putting Merchandising Strategy into Action

Ever wonder how new items get added to your local store’s shelves? Or why things sometimes seem to move around from week to week? Who decides where products should go on the shelf or even in the store? While it may seem to the untrained eye like a simple case of shifting boxes and cans around—the truth is, the process of planning and resetting product assortments and shelf layouts is both an art and a science.

“It’s a collaborative process that uses experience and insights from category managers; the analysis of previous sales, consumer trends and other data; and in some cases, even first-hand shopper feedback,” says Roger Bates, Senior Analyst for SAS Retail Services, the merchandising solutions arm of Daymon. Bates is part of a team dedicated to writing planograms (detailed plans of how to arrange items in the store in order to maximize sales) for one of SAS Retail Services’ retail partners. He works alongside the retailer’s category managers and other key stakeholders.

The entire process of introducing a new product to this retailer’s stores—from writing the planogram to getting it on the shelf—can take several months, says Bates. That accounts for the time needed to assess where on a shelf a product should go and how other products may need to be moved to accommodate it—often across multiple store configurations. The pre-launch window also affords time to order and ship the right amount of product to each store, before the final plan can be executed.

This last step falls to SAS Retail Services’ dedicated in-store merchandising teams. To see just how the teams translate the planogram to the shelf, Retail News Insider recently shadowed SAS Retail Services’ Merchandising Lead Gabriel Portillo and his team during a regular weekly store visit. On this day, the mission was to reset the canned beans, vitamins and personal care shelves. In an effort to minimize disruption to customers, their work began well before the sun came up—and by the time we arrived at 8 a.m., they already had half of the resets completed.

“We use shelf strips that go behind the price tags to show exactly where the products should go, which makes the process go a lot more quickly and smoothly,” explains Portillo. These strips translate the planogram that’s been written by the central team to the particular store’s shelf layout—giving merchandisers an on-shelf guide of where to add new products, where to move existing items and which items need to be removed completely.

Because this particular retailer partner has a single-source program with SAS Retail Services’, this same process will be mirrored by SAS Retail Services’ teams across the retailer’s nationwide chain to ensure all get the same new products introduced within one week.

“This single-source model is really first-in-class and best-in-class execution,” says Bates. “It makes it easier for manufacturers and suppliers to see how their plans are working across the entire retailer network, and it provides a more consistent experience for shoppers—ensuring the items they’re looking for will be available no matter what location they go into.”

To learn more about SAS Retail Services’ merchandising solutions, contact Michael Bellman, President – SAS Retail Services, at