Retail Stores: A Basic Shelving Footprint

Why one size doesn’t fit all

What does a shelving ‘footprint’ mean?

By definition, a footprint is a foot’s indentation or outline on a surface.  Footprint is also the shape and size of the area something occupies.  So how does this relate to display shelving?

The relationship is important in retail, from not only a departmental and product category perspective, but also the space a display fixture occupies on the sales floor.

Every square foot of floor space must contribute to sales performance, so make sure your display fixture is the correct size (footprint).  This is accomplished by matching the display fixture to the products to be displayed.

  • What not to do

Think before you compromise on your display shelving.

For new retailers looking to open their first store, purchasing the cheapest possible shelving is tempting.  You might consider purchasing wall or gondola shelving from a store going out of business.  The fixtures are most likely a footprint sized to fit that store’s products and floor space.

Ask yourself- is it really a ‘deal’?

If the fixture footprint does not match your products or floor space, your store can end up with ineffective merchandising and very poor use of floor space, which ultimately reduces your sales potential and profits.

How to size-up a Shelving Footprint

A fixture footprint is too large if…

  • It forces an incorrect layout, impeding traffic flow
  • Customers see more shelf or fixture surface than merchandise
  • There is not enough inventory to fill the shelves

A fixture footprint is too small if…

  • It cannot hold the products merchandised (items hang over the shelf edge)
  • Inventory levels require shelves to be filled multiple times in a short period
  • It requires an additional display fixture

A fixture footprint is just right if…

  • It holds enough inventory to easily maintain
  • Products look proportional to the shelving
  • Customers see more product than display
  • It fits easily into the floor layout, not impeding traffic flow

Get it right the first time

One size does not fit all because not all products or stores will use the same size display fixture.

Every retail store must select what combination of fixtures will fit their space and merchandising scheme. Buying display fixtures is akin to buying a car.

You would not buy a large SUV if it will not fit in the garage.

Conversely, you would not buy a smaller economy car if your whole family cannot take a trip in it.

  • Think size, space and capacity

Customers respond to displays that are not in the way, are easily shopped and that attractively present fully stocked merchandise.  The display fixture must look neither too small nor too large for the product or the space it occupies on the sales floor.

The time taken to properly match up a display fixture footprint to the products and sales floor will increase your return on investment, creating more sales per square foot while improving your customers shopping experience.

For more information about your shelving footprint and getting it right, contact Midwest Retail Services today.

Call 800-576-7577, use our convenient site link, or email us at  One of our shelving experts will be available to help you!





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About Midwest Retail Services

Midwest Retail Services provides all the store fixtures needed to start, expand, or update your retail store. We serve a wide variety of businesses including pharmacy, grocery, pet supply, party supply, book, C-Store, discount, and many other retailers. We also support POP design and fulfillment, retail designers, architects, contractors, installers, and store fixture resellers.