Optimizing Sales through Shelf Testing: Why and How to Test Planograms?

Andrzej Morawski
October 18, 2023

Optimizing Sales through Shelf Testing: Why and How to Test Planograms?

Planograms, visual representations of how products should be arranged on shelves or displays, play a crucial role in retail sales. In this article, we will discuss the importance of testing planograms, also known as shelf testing, to optimize sales and customer satisfaction.

Why Test Planograms?

Testing planograms provides valuable data to inform decision-making in product placement and shelf design, particularly in the following areas:

  • Improving sales
  • Enhancing customer experience
  • Optimizing supply chain

If you look at the process from the brand perspective there at least 3 reasons to do it:

  • Try out the placement of new products in separate segments or mixed within brands and see which performs better
  • Determine the optimal arrangement of a particular brand on the shelf for highest sales
  • Measure the impact of End cap displays

You can read more about this type of reasearch in our case study: 


What Kind of Companies Test Planograms?

While shelf testing is practiced across various retail sectors, large retail chains with multiple locations are particularly active in this area as well as CPG or FMCG brands and producers. Common examples of companies that engage in planogram testing include:

  • Large retailers
  • CPG Brands / FMCG companies

The latter often as part of their market research studies, do also packaging testing.

How to Test Planograms

The following are some of the key steps in the planogram testing process:

  1. Define the objectives of testing and establish a hypothesis
  2. Design planograms based on the hypothesis
  3. Do the fielding
  4. Analyze the declarative and behavioral data
  5. Identify the most effective planogram and implement it on a larger scale

Typical eye-tracking metrics

When eye tracking results, one should select their AOI (area of interest - ex. All faces of the new product package on the shelf) and analyze the following metrics:

  • time to first fixation - the amount of time that it takes participants (on average) to notice this area for the first time
  • average time spent - the amount of time that participants spent on average looking at this area,
  • number of fixations within this area (more fixation means more visual attention),
  • ratio - how many of the viewers  saw this area 
  • average fixation duration - the time that the average fixation lasted for.

Webcam vs in-lab approach

When testing planograms, retailers can choose between using:

Webcam testing allows participants to shop and see planograms from home, which can increase the number of participants and save costs. What is more, the results may be obtained within hours or days.

In the in-lab testing approach, the results may be obtained in weeks or months, depending on the number of participants.

Ultimately, choosing between webcam and in-lab testing depends on the retailer's specific goals and budget constraints.


Testing planograms is a crucial practice for companies seeking to optimize sales, improve the customer experience, and optimize their supply chain. By gathering data and making informed decisions about product placement and shelf design, companies can gain a competitive edge in the market.

Want to check it for yourself? Try us : https://www.realeye.io/features/online-webcam-eyetracking/free-eye-tracker

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