Gondola ends are prime real estate within the layout of a store, often the first thing customers see upon entering the store and also standing out from the aisles and the products in them. This presents a fantastic opportunity for retailers to place and promote eye-catching products they want to sell. 

There are several things retailers need to consider when they are assembling their gondola ends. Is it seasonally appropriate? Does it grab the customer’s attention? Is it easy to understand? 

“You have to keep it clean, keep it simple and make sure everything is priced clearly,” says Paresh Vyas, from JND Stores in Ashton-under- Lyne, Greater Manchester. “And don’t leave things hanging around there for too long otherwise people lose interest. We usually run things on a four-week period, depending on what the occasion is. Double face things where you can as well.” 

Keeping the gondola end fresh is key to prevent customers from losing interest and walking past. Using seasons and big events – such as Easter, Christmas, sporting occasions and other celebrations – not only enables you to keep changing the gondola end, but prompts the use of in-store PoS you can use to draw the eye. 

Read more: How to pick the right EPoS system for your store

As well as acting as a signpost for your store itself, there is a considerable impulse opportunity inherent in your gondola ends, which you can make use of with products like sweets and chocolates. “If they keep it full of sweets and chocolates, gondolas are very effective,” says Nirav Modhvadiya, from Desford Shop & Post Office in Leicestershire. “Everybody, especially kids, but also adults, all love chocolate, and if we keep different sweets and chocolate on there, they always sell.” 

While products like chocolate will no longer be possible for larger stores once HFSS comes into play, the gondola end will be a great place to try out other potential impulse purchases. 

Make it look great

Paresh Vyas, from JND Stores in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, puts whatever Premier has on promotion up on his gondola ends, as well as discontinued lines and seasonal products. He uses the PoS that Premier provides to make the displays look spectacular because the gondola end “is like a theatre”, according to him. 

“It has to look fantastic,” he says. “Whatever the theme – Mother’s Day, for example – it has to hit you as you walk in with chocolate, flowers and Mother’s Day cards. In the beginning it can take half a day to set it up, but after that it’s just a case of keeping it smart and making sure there are no empty gaps on there. When there are empty gaps, we just double the facings.” 

After Mother’s Day, he moves onto summer sports such as football and tennis, selling balls, rackets, strawberries and Robinson’s cordials to link up with Wimbledon. 

Higher-value options

For Jonathan Cobb, whose 360sq ft Miserden Stores & Post Office in Gloucestershire only has one gondola end to play with, higher value products, such as truffles and premium chocolates, are the mainstays outside of big seasonal events such as Easter and Christmas. 

“They’re generally there all year round unless there’s an event coming up for which we’ve bought specific stock, in which case we’ll move them out,” he says. 

Opposite the gondola end, Cobb has a card wall that links with premium chocolate to create a kind of gift aisle near the door. “It’s about creating impulse sales. If they’re buying a card, they can see the nice chocolate and feel they should buy some of that as well,” he adds. 

His gondola end is also near the window, so these products act as a promotional display for the store itself, with any marketing material going up there. 

Keep things changing

At Jay’s Budgens in Crofton Park, south London, Pratik Patel has the space to devote different ends to different themes. “We have a couple for promotions or value-for-money purchases, then the others change with new products or with the seasons. At the moment, because of the good weather we have summer toys for kids,” he says. 

Fluidity of purpose is vital to keep the store feeling fresh. Promotions change frequently, while changing ends to keep up with new seasons reminds shoppers of upcoming events. “At the end of the day, remerchandising is just as effective as putting in a new unit so long as you’re doing it well,” he says. 

He’s fortunate to contend with more space than most other retailers, so recommends smaller shops focus on the economic climate when arranging their gondola ends: “Wherever you are, value for money is something you should definitely highlight.” 

Impulse opportunities

Nirav Modhvadiya, from Desford Shop & Post Office in Leicestershire, uses all of his gondola ends to promote products, with seasonal options on gondolas by the door to capture customers as they come in and post office-related impulse purchases near the post office. 

“While customers are queuing at the post office, they can see tape and padded envelopes that make packages more secure and mail bags they can use to return clothes they’ve bought online. 

“All of these things encourage them to buy it and creates that extra buying opportunity,” he says. 

On another gondola end, he has placed £1 bags of Haribo, clearly marked, or has Easter eggs or Christmas confectionery for further impulse sales. “Most people have a pound in their pocket and they’ll be happy to buy Wine Gums to have at home when they’re watching TV,” he adds.