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Grocery Store Layouts: Where is it Located and Why?



Authors as Published

Clinton Neill, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061 and Meleah Shadler, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061

Store Layouts

To increase revenue, grocery stores design their layout to encourage shopping when customers visit their stores.


Flowers are placed just inside the entrance of the store. When customers walk in, they immediately find something that is pretty and fragrant, and gives the notion of ‘fresh.’


Produce is located right past flowers and near the bakery. This communicates to the customers that the produce is fresh.


The bakery is usually in the corner beyond the store’s entrance. The smell of fresh bread is both pleasant and gets the salivary glands going, which makes customers feel hungrier and induces people to buy more.

Grab-and-Go Items

Items, such as milk, bottled water, and snacks, are placed near the entrance and front of the store to allow customers to find these items quickly and compete with the ease of convenience stores.

Endcap Displays

These displays are located at the ends of the store’s aisles. Product manufacturers pay for prominent placement in these displays to feature new and popular products.

General Merchandise, Cooking Ingredients, and Canned Goods

These products are placed in the center aisles to draw customers ‘deeper’ into the market and expose them to nonessential items along the way

Dairy Products, Eggs, Meat, and Other Staples

These products are located along the back wall of the store, farthest away from the entrance to expose customers to the maximum amount of product so they will impulsively buy other goods

Impulse Buys

This includes candies, magazines, and other goods located by the cash registers and exit. This is the most profitable area of the store, as customers are inclined to grab some of these items while they wait to check out.

From Store to Shelf

While the store layout encourages shopping and sends a message to customers, the organization of the store’s shelves is also important for promoting sales.

Top Shelf

The top shelf is where smaller brands, regional brands, and gourmet brands are stored, as these brands do not have the budget to pay for more favorable placement.

Second and Third Shelves from the Top

This is the “bulls-eye zone,” where best sellers and other leading brands are placed in the line of sight.“Big players” often must pay for this placement, so higher-priced items are normally found on these shelves.

Kids’ Eye-Level Shelf

Products with kid appeal are placed on these shelves so kids can reach out and grab the product themselves.

Bottom Shelves

The bottom shelves are where store and private label brands or oversized bulk items are placed. Customers looking for store brands are more willing to take the time to look for them. Bulk items help smaller stores compete with warehouse/club stores, but are awkward and take up more space, so they are placed on the bottom shelf.


This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2015- 49200-24228. All infographics were designed and created by Meleah Shadler.

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Publication Date

May 28, 2019