5 Challenges and Strategies for Improving the Shopper Journey

5 Challenges and Strategies for Improving the Shopper Journey

By Concept Sauce

  • article
  • Virtual Reality Research
  • Shopper Research

Bridging the gap between understanding customer preferences and effectively placing products on shelves to improve the shopper journey involves several crucial steps.

In our article below, we covered how understanding consumer desires, while an integral step, is merely the first piece of the puzzle to using planograms to optimize product placement in-store. The process of converting insights into an impactful shopping experience is filled with complexities and potential stumbling blocks – just like with any human behavior-based initiative, there are bound to be a few bumps along the way.

We recommend adapting the following 5 strategies to organize products with shoppers in mind while avoiding common roadblocks. From leveraging contextual insights to embracing new technology, these strategies aim to help category managers, retailers, and suppliers hit the nail on the head when it comes to giving shoppers the products they’re looking for.

Why Strategically Placing Products on Store Shelves Matters for the Shopper Journey

Consciously designed shelf layouts (planograms) don’t just make stores look neat; they help products sell better and simplify the shopping experience for customers. Adopting a planogram strategy that is aligned with shoppers’ needs catalyzes category growth by making sure that products most likely to resonate with customers are well-positioned and easily accessible.

Here, we break down the specific benefits of adopting a planogram strategy.

  • Strategic Product Placement: Retailers increase sales by strategically positioning products based on shopper preferences, leveraging data analytics to optimize inventory and attract customers. Studies indicate that 91% of consumers prefer brands that recognize their preferences, highlighting the importance of customer-centered retail strategies.
  • Creating Personalized Shopping Experiences: A shopper-focused planogram creates a personalized shopping experience, which enhances satisfaction and loyalty and attracts and retains customers for consistent sales. Research shows that when people feel like their shopping experience is somewhat personalized, they’re 40% more likely to spend than originally planned.
  • Increased Sales Through Relevant Offerings & Cross-Sell Opportunities: Retailers can strategically position items for upselling and cross-selling, focusing on shopper needs and interests to encourage customers to explore and purchase separate related products.
  • Addressing Evolving Consumer Needs: Shopper-focused planograms diversify stores’ customer base by meeting evolving needs and adapting to trends through tailored product placement.
3D simulation of beverage shelves in a supermarket

5 Challenges & Strategies for Improving the Shopper Journey with Shopper-Centric Planograms

Implementing strategies for shopper-centric planogramming can enhance the overall shopping experience and align product placement with evolving customer preferences. The key word here is evolving.

Previous traditional planogram methods were inherently stagnant and struggled to adapt to the fluid and dynamic nature of consumer behavior, often resulting in misalignments with evolving preferences and market trends.

Below, we review some of the more complex challenges and demands of the shopper-centric model and share 5 strategies to carefully balance flexibility, technology integration, and collaborative partnerships.

Challenge #1

Collecting extensive and accurate shopper data that reflects diverse behaviors and preferences is no easy feat. Adopting a data-driven approach can be intricate and involves the analysis of vast consumer data sets. We simplify this process through features like pack testing and range builder, which utilize advanced analytics to swiftly extract actionable insights and aid category managers and brands in making informed planogramming decisions.

Proposed Strategy: Utilize Advanced Data Analytics. The first step in implementing a shopper-centric planogram is to conduct an in-depth analysis of shopper behaviors, preferences, and buying patterns. This involves leveraging data analytics tools to gather insights from customer surveys, in-store behavior tracking, and market research.

Challenge #2

Retailers aiming for personalization must uphold operational efficiency. It’s about striking the right balance between meeting demands and keeping operations running smoothly.  This means retailers must manage inventory and supply chain logistics and ensure the long-term sustainability of their planogram strategy.

Proposed Strategy: Understand Shopper Journeys. Retailers need to map out shopper journeys within their stores, identifying key touchpoints where product placement can significantly influence purchasing decisions. It’s helpful to implement dynamic, data-driven planograms that can be adjusted in response to changing shopper behaviors and market trends. This flexibility ensures that the store layout remains relevant and engaging.

You might investigate topics like:

  • What products are gaining the most visibility, and why?
  • Which products should be included towards the end of the shopping journey vs. which products should be introduced in the very beginning?
  • Does placing certain products together encourage larger purchases? Or could certain product collaborations turn potential buyers away?

Challenge #3

Retailers must invest in real-time data monitoring and adaptive planogramming tools to stay ahead of competitors and of the curve on emerging consumer trends and purchasing patterns.

Proposed Strategy: Adopt AI and Machine Learning Solutions. Investing in AI-driven algorithms and sophisticated planogram software is vital for a successful transition. These technologies allow for more accurate predictions and efficient layout optimizations.

In fact, a Retail Drive report found that in 2024, 56% of retail and consumer packaged goods professionals are adapting artificial intelligence tools for optimized marketing, while 52% of surveyed retail marketers plan to utilize AI tools for financial forecasting.

3D product detail view of a computer mouse

Challenge #4

Efficient technology typically comes with a hefty price tag, and a shopper-centric approach frequently demands revamping current technology infrastructure and solutions. Thus, it’s best to plan for considerable resources and investment.

Proposed Strategy: Adopt Efficient Technology. Leverage advanced 2D and 3D display technologies to collect and visualize detailed shopper data and provide precise planogram solutions. We use research and planogram technology to form a comprehensive and interactive perspective of product placement to ensure accurate delivery of planograms in stores.

The goal of adopting these technologically advanced tools is to enable retailers to simulate shopper interactions with products to yield insights for optimizing planograms and enhancing the overall shopping experience.

Challenge #5

Adopting a shopper-centric approach demands a profound cultural change within an organization, including redefining team member roles, retraining staff, and instilling a customer-focused mindset at all levels.

Proposed Strategy: Continuous Adaptation and Feedback Integration. Retailers should establish mechanisms to collect and respond to internal team feedback (along with consumer feedback) regularly. This ongoing dialogue can provide valuable insights for refining planogram strategies from an employee or workplace standpoint.

Final Note

Embracing shopper-centric planogramming is not an easy, single-solution approach. It involves a multi-faceted process that integrates advanced technology, data analytics, and shopper feedback – all coming together to create personalized shopping experiences, optimize product placement, and stay ahead in retail.

For deeper insights into how shopper-centric planograms drive category growth and enhance customer satisfaction, download our complimentary ebook above today.


Abs Chamali

Abs is the CEO at ConceptSauce, a UK-based company providing an online 3D platform that delivers realistic 3D virtual store simulations for shopper insights. With over 13 years of experience in this field, he lead a global team of talented and diverse individuals who use the latest 3D web technologies…

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