Anatomy of a Planogram: How to Merchandise Like a Pro!

by Sara Naumann

Remember just a few short years ago, when lumpy pages were the biggest fad in scrapbooking? Guess whatmaking lumpy pages was no fleeting fad! In fact, using three-dimensional embellishments has transformed from trendy to a staple scrapbooking technique. Even better, Hot Off The Press is now releasing a brand-new line of 45 scrapbooking embellishments.

Great! you might thinkclosely followed by, But I dont know where to fit them all into my store!

Buying the latest trends is fun. But merchandising them can be tough. And you want embellishments to make an impact on customersnot to get lost among all the other product on your shelves. Theres definitely a science to merchandising! says Paulette Jarvey, President of Hot Off The Press. Its also an artone that every major manufacturer studiesand one that every retailer can learn!

The Science of Merchandising
There are nine different themes in our Attachments line, resulting in 45 SKUs, Paulette says. From the very first product development meeting, we had to decide not only what type of product to have, but how to package and merchandise it to fit the retailers needs.

The answer lays with your customers. Scrapbookers shop by theme. When a customer enters your store, she has an idea in her mind of what type of project shes working on: Christmas, Heritage, her sons football game or her daughters Halloween party. Savvy retailers know the best question to ask a customer isnt How are you? but rather What are you working on?

The Product Development team first decided on the most popular scrapbooking themes. With a team of eight experienced scrapbookers, consensus came quickly. Each team member brought her own opinions and information, based upon the companys current top-selling themes, marketing data, consumer feedback from classes and an overview of product themes on the market. After choosing the top nine scrapbooking themes, the team was ready to choose the products.

Choosing the Products
With embellishments becoming a staple product, the Product Development team was charged with the task of finding new and unique items to bring to the market.

The team looked at market trends, with ribbon playing a major role in scrapbooking trends for 2005. Ribbon is the new fiber, Paulette comments. Do we need two different types of ribbon", we wondered. But then we found that the printed definitions grosgrain ribbon would be perfect as a border, while the narrower matching patterned ribbons would make perfect accents. Our surveys showed consumers would buy both.

Thefabric pockets were developed in response to the current fabric trend. The companys fabric stickers line is extremely popular, so choosing an embellishment in that material was a natural. And the vinyl tag? Inspired by an eye-catching tag on a pair of jeans, the vinyl tag fits the transparency trend prevalent in scrapbooking, and can be used as a whole piece or cut into pieces for maximum use.

The frames were designed based upon the popularity of the companys slide mounts. Nested frames offer a fun twist on the standard slide mountprinted with words, they coordinate perfectly with the other elements in the line. And coordination is very important to any Hot Off The Press line, Paulette explains. The colors, words and overall style have to coordinate with each other, and match our papers.

About Endcaps
Why nine themes? Retailers know how important it is to merchandise their endcapsyou know, that space at the end of an aisle, says Paulette. Your endcaps are prime retail space and the best location for smaller items, to ensure they wont get lost among other product. With five items per theme, nine themes fit perfectly on a 2.5-wide endcap,

What Goes Where?
Merchandising requires more than simply hanging up the product. This is where a planogram becomes invaluable. Why?

A planogram is a blueprint illustrating exactly where each item should go. Rather than opening a box of Attachments and trying to figure out the best way to merchandise them (taking up time and creating quite a mess as customers try to shop around you) a planogram is a great shortcut. Its also part of the art of merchandising.

The Art of Merchandising
Good merchandising makes an impact on the customer. It makes a statement. When your customer opens the door and sees an entire endcap or aisle section dedicated to a single lineits an amazing visual impact. It says that you are the source for this brand, says Paulette. And retailers in every industry, from toys to grocery stores, live by it.

Take the Attachments line, for example. From packaging to color, size to placement, the art behind this planogram is carefully designed to sell product. And not just one product from the line, eitherthe Attachments planogram is intended to capitalize on the impulse purchase as well.

Packaging, Color & Size
Packaging plays a huge role in brand merchandising. Look at the planogram for the Attachments line: Notice how the package design and size are uniform? Theres a reason for thatwhen manufacturers design a product, packaging is designed to accommodate it within a specific amount of space. And every manufacturer and retailer wants to maximize space by fitting in as many SKUs as possible in the smallest amount of space.

Consistency in Packaging
The Attachments package headers are visually consistent, with a different color for each theme, yet with the same font and graphic. Notice how each row reads from left to right, so the consumer sees all the items for Boy, Girl, School and more. She immediately understands that this collection of product goes together.

Capturing Impulse Sales
Our Attachments line was designed to take advantage of the impulse nature of embellishments, says Paulette. We know scrappers generally shop by theme. As they shop, theyre thinking, hmmmIm working on school pages, so I need some school-themed supplies. If she sees one item, shell buy it. But if she sees five items, theres a much better chance shell buy more than one. By merchandising the themes together, the customer has her choices in front of her.

Similarly, the vertical arrangement inspires whats called adjacency buying. If a customer falls in love with the vinyl tags, shell buy more when she sees the nine different themes available. Similarly, if shes inspired by the idea of adding fabric pockets to her pages, she has an array of different colors and styles to choose from.

What If I Cant Spare an Endcap?
While the planogram is best on an endcap, it can also be fitted into a section of an aisle of product, still keeping it at a 2.5-wide space. But what if you cant spare 2.5in any one location in your store?

We understand retail space is at a premium, says Paulette, who advises space-strapped retailers to follow the adage of buy wide and buy shallow.

Take as many of the different themes as possible, she says. Buy as many as you can afford. Hot Off The Press minimum is three packages per product, so you could buy three each of a few different themes.

You still want to make a statement with your product selectionand if you carry Boy Attachments you can be certain your customers will ask if you also have Girl Attachments too. To maximize the potential, merchandise the product within the themed areas of your store, placing School Attachments with your school papers and stickers. Be sure you place all five of the embellishments in that theme together. While this lacks the powerful statement of an endcap, it still directs your customer by theme, Paulette says.

The biggest mistake a retailer can make? Mixing and matching different vendorscarrying only one or two items from ten different vendors and trying to fit them together in one space. The result is a messy, mismatched collection of different colors, sizes and prices. Paulette cautions: All the vendors loseand so does the retailer, who wont reap the rewards of impulse and adjacency buying.

Knowledge is Power
So now that you know the power of planograms, how can you access them? Hot Off The Press develops planograms for every major product linefind them online at their independents-only Business to Business website ( along with marketing, sales and trend information. Its free to all independent retailers.

Want one-on-one assistance? Then contact Hot Off The Press at 800-227-9595 and ask for one of our non-commissioned Retail Specialists.