Planogram (also plan-o-gram) n. a diagram or model that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves in order to maximize sales.
The planogram is a marketing tool that helps retailers display products to their maximum advantage. Long used by mainstream retailers (the practice is said to have been started by discount retailer Kmart), it has been adopted by adult product manufacturers to help retailers organize their displays.
Having a good planogram is like having a silent seller in your store. It helps build brand awareness for the company and what we are offering. -Briana Honz, Visual Merchandiser, Pipedream
“Planograms have been in mainstream retail stores forever,” California Exotic Novelties Director of Public Relations Desiree Duffie told XBIZ. “It’s a way for manufacturers to let the stores know the best ways to put their products on a wall. As a manufacturer we saw that a lot of times retailers would decorate their stores and put up their displays in sections: You’d have your vibrator section, you’d have the love ring section, you’d have the lube section, you’d have everything in these categories. At CalExotics, we’re very focused on collections, and making a collection of products that speaks to a certain consumer. The planogram helps the retailer build a display that presented the entire brand.”
Cheryl Flangel, brand ambassador for Pipedream Products, points out the convenience to the retailer of using planograms.
“Planograms are inviting to the customer. It takes any guesswork out for the retailer on how to merchandise the brand properly,” Flangel said.
The convenience for the retailer also extends to reordering, according to Erica Heathman, director of marketing and public relations at Topco Sales.
“Topco’s planograms are designed with the needs of the retailer in mind,” she said. “Each planogram poster is laid out with just enough space to include each SKU within a given line. When a space is empty, the retailer knows exactly which item they should reorder to replenish that collection.”
Most planograms feature a particular line or brand from a manufacturer, and the adjacency of similar products can lead to upsells when the retailer uses a planogram to stock a similar-but-better product at a higher price point near a lower-priced item.
“They might not even realize that this rabbit vibe is much like this five-inch vibe that is part of the same collection,” Duffie said. “By showing them the collections as a whole, it gives them a guide while they’re dressing their walls. Take our Amour collection: There are six different kits within the line, and there are three different price points. This collection is targeting the guy or the girl who’s out shopping for a gift: birthday, anniversary, whatever. It’s a good introductory line. We have something lower-priced, something in the middle, and something that’s higher-end.”
Keeping similarly branded items together on a display wall helps customers as well.
“It makes the shopping experience easier for the customers by making it easy on the eyes when people come into your store,” said Briana Honz, visual merchandiser at Pipedream Products. “It adds perceived value to a product line, so that when a customer comes into your store, it’s not the visual overload of a cluttered wall. Everything is grouped together so that the customer doesn’t have to go looking for the product. Having a good planogram is like having a silent seller in your store. It helps build brand awareness for the company and what we are offering.”
Using a planogram helps retailers by providing consumers a shopping experience like a mainstream store, CalExotics’ Duffie said.
“Consumers are used to shopping in a certain way. When they go to the grocery store or the drug store, products are laid out in certain ways. This is done because of years of market research and studies. All of these techniques are tried and true in the mainstream arena. When we started adapting these techniques in the adult world, we start to see bigger profits, because that’s the way consumers are trained to shop.”
Retailers who want to start using planograms can get them automatically with the purchase of some product lines. Topco Sales includes a planogram layout with the purchase of the full Asylum, Hardware and Cake lines.
Pipedream offers base and custom planograms for retailers, according to Flangel. “We create the base planogram to include all products in a brand, but for those who don’t have enough wall space we can customize a planogram that is right for their store.”
“We go visit customers to help them customize the planograms in their stores and improve the way they are merchandising through visual displays based on the products they carry from the line and the space in their stores,” Honz added.
California Exotic Novelties offers retailers 39 different planograms, which can be used for wall displays and endcaps, as well as custom planograms.
“We would love to see everybody take every single product of ours, and lay it out exactly how we would like it, but we understand that each retailer is different,” Duffie told XBIZ. “We also have a designer, Austin Ferdinand, who will go into stores and work one-onone with retailers, identifying what their specific goals are and trying to find strategies for what works best for them. He says it’s not about putting all CalExotics on the wall, but finding the best layouts and the best plans that work for that retailer.
“If the retailer wins, then we win.”