I think it’s fair to say that traditional print media is not going to vanish for a long while yet. Tablet computing while a great consumption device has failed to dint the magazine sector in reality. The cost of re-creating the content on a digital platform spanning a number of devices does not reflect in the subscription numbers. There are some exceptions to the rule but not many.

So that has got me thinking about the placement of products on physical shelves again. A few chats with various folk during CultureTech had my mind firing quite a lot. Last night in Foyleside in Derry I started paying a lot more attention about product, price and placement.

Placement is everything.

Consider the magazine stand. One “block” contains 10 rows of 4 columns of magazines of a number of copies of each, for arguments sake lets call it 5. So this block contains 200 pieces of stock with a retail value of ??790 (200 x ??3.95) as a guide.

The Golden Zone of Viewing
Everything at eye level is golden. The chances of a customer purchasing are far greater here than at any other level. So much so that publishers will pay for placement here. So it should come as no surprise that Elle, Marie Clare, Vogue and Cosmo are all on this eye line and two deep.  The choice is very concentrated with only four titles. In real estate terms this is a very desirable place to live.

Mag_level1

The Not-so-golden-zone
Naturally your eyes glance upwards, there’s less strain on your neck at that point. One thing I did notice is the cover price on the top shelf fashion publications was less. Payment for placement, probably not but still a better place to be than below.

Below the eye line takes effort to look at. It shares the same amount of importance as the top shelf though as it’s in that secondary zone. Another block of repeat publications too. 

Magaz_level2

The deadzone
It’s five rows of the third line stuff that people have to look for, i.e. it take effort to get what you want.  Ideally as a retailer you want products in the “don’t make me think” category. Maximum value and easy to see. 

There’s a single row which is the deadzone, when you’re close to the shelf you can’t actually see the sixth row down at all, it’s invisible to your eye.  Even from a distance a publisher would hate to be here as, shown in the image below highlighted, only 15-20% of your product is actually visible. The magazine trade is driven by cover imagery and something that will grab your attention. The deadzone won’t grab your attention as you can’t see it. 

Magaz_deadzone

Watching customers in the shop yesterday the effects were quite simple to see. About 70% of the magazines picked up were from the golden zone, the secondary space about 20% and the remaining 10% were people looking at the lower five rows of the shelf. 

The 70/20/10 rule played itself out rather nicely here.  There is a very large lesson in where to place your products if you can exercise that sort of control though. And it’s something that mobile misses out on. Even in e-commerce stores too much choice and badly laid out stores can put off customers from buying anything, abandoned cart syndrome is pretty high.  Perhaps the 70/20/10 rule could apply online?  Feel free to comment if you have any observations or ideas.
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