Product Placement and Impulse Buy Tips for Convenience Stores, Gas Stations, and Retail Stores in 2020


Only one third of in store purchases at gas stations, liquor stores, and convenience stores are pre-planned. This means that the placement of your products are critical to the success of your retail store. The placement of all your products have to entice the shopper to buy your products. Where you place your merchandise can make or break a business, in this article we will discuss what type of products are optimal to keep at eye level, the benefits of using a planogram, where to place your impulse products, and some other tips and strategies on product placement.

Eye level is the Buy Level

Have you noticed that most of the products you buy on impulse at a gas station, liquor store, or convenience store are at eye level. While walking around the isles, products on shelves at eye level are the first to be seen by most customers, giving these products the most potential to be bought by these customers. Much of today’s product placement is based on research that suggests the average consumer begins their shelf-shopping experience at eye level, works from left to right, and makes their purchase decision in less than 8 seconds. Having products at eye level is so beneficial that some companies actually pay to reserve a spot at eye level for their products, this specifically occurs at bigger consumer stores like Walmart.

There are two opinions on which type of products to keep at eye level. One option is to keep your most profitable products at eye level, so your gross profit can benefit from the higher potential of making a sale. The other train of thought is to put your slower selling products at eye level to give them visibility and a higher chance of selling. Personally, I have noticed that it’s better to go with the first option and keep your most profitable products at eye level. Most of your slow moving products are not selling well for a reason, either people just aren’t interested in the product or it has no demand, so there is no point in wasting precious space for a slow moving product. Overall, you want to make sure that your are taking advantage of the higher sales potential of products at eye level and put your most profitable products in these spaces. 


Determining the best positioning for all of a stores merchandise and displays can be complicated, A tool retailers use to combat this issue is planogram’s. A planogram is defined as a model or diagram that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves in order to maximize sales. The main benefit of planogram’s is to assist the retailer in the merchandising process. Basically a planogram will tell you where each product in the store should be placed. A planogram could be relatively simple or complex depending on the size of the retail store and the amount of products in it.

The reason many liquor stores, gas stations, and convenience stores use planograms is because they help with the science of product placement and increasing revenue for the business. Planogram’s are intended to maximize shelf space, inventory turnaround and profit margins. Other benefits include, improving the visual appearance of the retail store, improved inventory control and less out of stock products, utilizing every square foot of space to maximize selling potential, and easier product replenishment. Due to the hefty price tag of most planogram software, small and independent retailers often resort to using word processors or paper and pen to optimize shelf layout, so a planogram is not 100 percent necessary for your business, but even just using a pen and paper to optimize shelf layout will help your business enormously. Planogram’s are a great tool to simplify the job of positioning all of your stores inventory and displays.

Impulse Buying

Impulse buying is defined as the buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden whim or impulse. Typical items bought on impulse at retail stores are candy, gum, ice cream, and other snack items. You want to keep your impulse buy items near places where customers will see them and may spend a higher amount of time around. The most common area for impulse buy items is near the checkout at most retail stores. Customers will be waiting in line to pay and they may see a candy bar they really like, and will purchase it. Another common spot for impulse products are at the end of isles. These impulse buys are strategically placed at the end of isles, so when customers are walking around the store, getting the products they came for, they will see these impulse items and may be inclined to purchase them. You would be wise to tap into the consumer desire to buy on impulse.

Long term studies show that only one third of the purchases made in stores are, in fact, pre-planned. Capitalizing on the urge to buy impulsively, through product placement, is a natural and strategic next step for most convenience stores, liquor stores, and gas stations. One thing to note is that you want to keep your impulse products near the checkout simple. What I mean by this, is you want inexpensive, single serving items, with a clear label near the checkout. You want the customer to easily make the decision of buying your product without much thinking, so keeping the products you keep near the register simple will help you do that. To sum up, you want to keep your impulse products simple, near areas customers will pass often and near the checkout area of your retail store.

Product Placement Tips and Strategies

  1. Create a planogram using specific software or even use pen and paper.
  2. Be sure to allow sufficient walking space for customers, to accommodate traffic flow in both directions. If you have shopping carts, allow space for customers to stop near a product without disrupting traffic flow. 
  3. Checkout and customer service counters should easily be visible to your customers from the entrance.
  4. Consider spreading items that sell well throughout the store, to allow customers to browse to find what they want.
  5. Keep your most profitable items at eye level, because products at eye level have the highest chance to be seen, which gives it the highest chance to be sold.
  6. Withstand the desire to overstock merchandise, because it can overwhelm shoppers. 
  7. Be prepared to change your layout or planogram often as consumer needs and products dictate. 
  8. Aisle layout should be a horseshoe design that showcases high demand items at the start, then guides customers to the back of the store and near the exit with last minute purchase needs
  9. Keep your impulse products where customers spend the most time such as the checkout area


The placement of all your merchandise in your retail store is crucial to the success of your business. Whether you own a gas station, liquor store, or convenience store. The most important parts you need to understand about product placement is what type of products are optimal to keep at eye level, the benefits of using a planogram, where to place your impulse products, and some other tips and strategies on product placement. You have to remember that only one third of in store purchases at gas stations, liquor stores, and convenience stores are pre planned, so you have to make sure your taking advantage of this by taking advantage of the benefits of specific product placement. If you would like to learn more ways to boost revenue in your C-Store, you should read our other article How to Boost Revenue in Convenience Stores and Gas Stations in 2020.

Comments 1

  1. Really solid analysis of gas station planograms here. I only recently started spending time to understand retail design (I own a boutique), and I was thinking about gas station layout in that the same layout decisions are fairly ubiquitous. I learned a lot from this post! Thanks for it.

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