Nabco Retail Shelving Systems


The New Space Race: How Shop Owners Can Maximise Their Shelf Space

Ryan Willis

Although this race might not conclude with a moon landing, the space race that goes on every day across the retail stores of the UK is extremely important to shopfitters, merchandise managers, store owners and retail designers.

With brands constantly battling for shelf space in supermarkets and independent stores, shop owners are faced with the constant challenge of deciding which products to stock and how much space to allocate to them.

But what are the key factors shop owners should consider when choosing which products to stock, deciding how much space to allocate to them and attempting to maximise shelf space to drive more sales? Let’s take a look…   

Which products should you stock and why?

With an endless number of products to choose from, deciding which items to stock in your store can be daunting at first. There are a wide range of factors that should inform your decision. That includes:


It goes without saying that you’ll want to select products based on what’s popular. The problem is that trends change all the time. For that reason, you should try to pick items at the beginning of their lifecycle which are just starting to grow in popularity. Factors like seasonality will also have a huge influence on the popularity of different products at particular times.


In an ideal world, every product you sell would have a high margin, but that’s not how retail stores work. Most stores stock a number of consumable, low margin products that bring customers into their stores. They are supplemented by more expensive products which achieve fewer sales but at a higher margin. Getting the right balance between the two is the key to covering your costs and ensuring a reasonable profit is achieved.  


The competition in your local area should certainly influence the type of products you choose to stock. If you sell the same products as other retailers in the area then the price will become a key differentiator. If you cannot offer the same products at lower prices than the competition then you’d be better served choosing unique products that could give you the competitive edge.

What kind of shelf space should you allocate?

Once you’ve decided which products to stock in your store, you then need to think about where they will be placed and how much space to allocate to them. Again, there are a number of factors to consider:

The importance of height

When planning the placement of products within your store, it’s essential you put yourself in the shoppers’ position. Numerous studies have shown that on average, people are more likely to make purchases of products at eye-level than at a high-level, waist-level or ankle-level position. Many stores use this to their advantage by displaying higher margin or new products at eye level, with larger, more conventional products on the bottom shelves.

A change is as good as a rest

Even if you think you have a winning formula, the chances are there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Rotating products through different displays and placement areas could yield more sales, so when it comes to product placement, don’t rest on your laurels.  

The more facings the better

If you sell high-end products then it can be the case that less is more, and putting fewer products out on the shelves creates a perception of quality and sophistication that can generate more sales. However, as a general rule, the more facings a product has, the better it will sell.

Location, location, location

The location of a product in an aisle is another factor to consider. Products don’t always need to be placed at the beginning of an aisle to be successful, but it can help. In larger stores displaying hundreds or even thousands of products, customers tend to pay more attention to displays on the perimeter of the store rather than in the centre. For that reason, well-stocked end caps can be an effective way to attract attention and boost sales.

How to maximise your shelf space and enhance product visibility

Shelf space is something you can never have enough of. The good news for retailers is that there are a number of ways to maximise shelf space and improve your product visibility. Point-of-purchase and end cap displays are an extremely simple yet effective way to increase your shelf space. They also allow you to present products in a different way and are well-suited to particular product types or even combo items and multi-packs.

A complete range of shelving solutions

At Nabco, we are the UK’s leading independent provider of retail shelving. We stock a complete range of shelving solutions to maximise shelf space and enhance the visibility of products in your store. Take a look at our shelving ranges, request a brochure or get in touch to find out more.

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