For decades, gondola shelving has provided storeowners of all types with durable, affordable and versatile display options. Gondola systems have the ability to fit into almost any retail scenario regardless of merchandise or customer demographic and are available in a myriad of materials, finishes, sizes etc. As a result, selecting the right gondola system has the potential to be pretty overwhelming. Over the course of the next two articles, we will be highlighting the fundamentals of putting together a gondola system that maximizes the potential of your store, fits into your budget, and keeps your customers coming back.
Determining a layout is the first step toward making a gondola system work well for your store. The decision to use gondolas vs. slatwall, grid, wood shelving or custom fixtures depends a great deal on what you are selling, who you are selling to and the limitations of your budget. A good rule of thumb is the greater the volume of product, the more gondola shelving you should use. That’s why you see gondola systems used heavily in convenience stores, supermarkets, dollar stores, etc., as these retail situations often require the simultaneous display and storage of many items on the same shelf.
Next consider the height of your gondolas. Obviously, the taller the gondola system, the more space you can use to merchandise. Height does have its disadvantages however since taller gondolas decrease customer visibility and lead to a greater theft risk. Taller shelving also requires more customer assistance for issues like hard-to-reach items, which can divert time from both you and your employees. By taking the time to consider such key elements as the volume of your merchandise and available manpower it will be easier to decide on a height configuration that fits your store.
The last layout aspect we will discuss is shelf depth. As in considering gondola height, the shelf depth of your gondolas has a lot to do with how much you’re going to be able to merchandise. The overall size of your retail space also comes into question at this point, because the deeper your base shelves, the less room you have for aisles. Aisle depth is an important factor in store design as it affects everything from the traffic flow in your store to your ability to abide by local laws for customers with disabilities. Typical aisle space ranges from 48″ to 72″ and has much to do with balancing your customer’s comfort level with the demands of your inventory presentation.
Finally, we suggest that a good starting point for any gondola layout is an overhead drawing as well as an elevation of the setup you’re looking for. Whether it’s as sophisticated as a CAD drawing or as simple as a sketch on a napkin, using a visual representation of what you’re trying to accomplish is the best way to avoid the creation of a poorly designed retail space.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of a gondola layout, it’s time to delve into the selection of the units themselves. All this and more will be covered in Gondola Shelving Demystified: Part 2 – The Units. Until then take care, and happy retailing!
© 2006 Adam Jones
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Post time: 04-12-2017