Definition of a Planogram

A planogram is a diagram used by retail chains to determine the layout of a store. The overall goal is to provide customers with the best-selling merchandise and to guide the customer through the store in a way that produces the largest sales volume for the retailer. A planogram contains a visual schematic as well as a product listing, which is used by a merchandiser to place the products on the shelf. They are normally designed with the aid of computerized shelf management programs which are updated frequently to keep up with the ever-changing marketplace.


The planogram provides the set-up person, known as a merchandiser, with a guide as to how the store should be laid out and the proper space allocation for each section. For example, a grocery store usually contains a series of 4-foot shelving units known as gondolas and may allow 20 feet of shelf space for canned goods, 24 feet for prepared dinners such as canned pasta or 32 feet for condiments. The planogram will also tell the merchandiser where each particular item needs to be placed on the shelf and in what quantity.


Typically, there are three main components to the planogram: the cover page, the schematic and the stock keeping unit (SKU) listing with accompanying Universal Product Codes (UPC). The cover page includes general information and instructions. The schematic shows the overall layout of each section along with the number of shelves needed and the proper shelf heights. The SKU listing and UPC codes tell the merchandiser the correct placement of each item and the proper number of facings, or number of shelf positions, each product is to receive.


It used to be that planograms were drawn by hand with the use of a mechanical pencil, a ruler and graph paper. These days, larger retail chains use computerized space management software to lay out a store set. The program makes use of information such as the size of the product and how fast it typically sells to determine proper shelf positioning.


Store sets are usually carried out by a team of professional merchandisers or by store employees. If possible, store resets are conducted while the store is closed, although it is not uncommon to perform them during shopping hours. The merchandisers normally work in teams, with each member possessing a copy of the planogram for the section being set.

Follow Up

Planograms are not static. As new products enter the market and old ones are discontinued by the manufacturer, there is a need to update the planograms both at the home office and in the store. The use of an effective space management program can make changes easier to manage for both headquarters personnel and the merchandisers.