Space Planning

Space management matters

Posted on 27th February, 20204 min read

A planned approach is vital.

Optimal use of the finite space available in a bricks and mortar store is mandatory for all off- premise retailers regardless of size and scope of their business.

Inefficient or ineffective use of this prime real estate, whether on the shop floor or in the fridge, can make the difference between maximising your return on investment or an uphill battle to keep the doors open and the lights turned on.

Space management is central to developing a winning strategy that meets or exceeds your customer’s expectations.


Right place, right space.

Range aligning with demand.

Shoppers are spoiled for choice with literally thousands of items available in each category making it complex for retailers to know what products to the range. Shoppers expect to find items and find them easily when they shop so it is critical to ensure that they are both visible and easily accessible. Shifting consumer preference continues at break neck speed meaning that often what was on trend 12 months ago no longer excites or engages shoppers to the same level.

As demand falls away for a particular brand or item it is critical that the space allocated is adjusted accordingly and reallocated to a brand or item that is in growth.

Space planning is central to ensuring that the right mix of product is available, in the right shelf position and apportioned aligning share of shelf to share of shopper demand. This planned approach reduces the likelihood of empty shelves resulting in lost sales particularly during peak sales times. The space management process also enhances inventory management and supply chain to vastly reduce the instance of out of stocks or unrealised revenue from access stock sitting in the store room.


Which shelf is most important?

Every shelf serves a purpose.

The approach in most off-premise liquor stores is to layout the store by category to make it easier for shoppers to navigate their way around the store depending on their particular shopper journey.

Beer shoppers tend to spend less time in-store and want a quick and easy transaction compared to a premium wine shopper who dwells longer at the fixture as they seek more information to make their purchase decision. Once the shopper has reached their in-store destination it is just as important to assist them with their evaluation of available alternatives to make their purchase decision before heading to the counter to finalise their purchase.

This is where space planning comes into its own heavily influencing the shopper’s decision.

While there is no absolute formula to guaranteeing that a brand will be purchased from a particular shelf there are some basic principles that can be adopted by space planning experts.


  • Top shelf – smaller or regional craft brands. Differentiates these brands from bigger mainstream brands with larger share helping them to attract category explorers.
  • Bulls eye – mainstream and on trend brands. Prime location, usually the second and third shelves down from the top. Big brands, higher stock turn demands more shelf space. Secondary brands seeking to benefit from the halo effect from leading brands can also be found here.
  • Bottom – fourth and fifth shelves down usually dedicated to oversize and bulk items. Depending on the retailer strategy private label brands can often be found here.



Shoppers have a choice.

Liquor shoppers have a multitude of destination stores to choose from based on their individual needs ranging from large big-box formats to small neighbourhood stores. The right mix of products and depth of range is critical to attracting and retaining regular foot traffic regardless of the size of store footprint.

Engaging with an experienced space planning team is central to achieving the optimal return on investment for your business.

Understanding customer needs and converting these to sales is contingent on making sure you have the right product, in the right space at the right time. Combined with shopper and market insight space planning ensures that you will satisfy shopper needs, reduce lost sales, out of stocks and match your offer with liquor growth trends.