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With retail floorspace at a premium nowadays, ambient shelving has been a popular solution.

“Ambient shelving”, in a retail capacity, refers to any shelving that exists outside of the usual walls-and-aisles layout. Think about the last time you visited a grocery store or supermarket – you probably passed by a display of produce in the center of the floor, or a few carefully-positioned endcaps here and there that didn’t quite match the layout of the aisleways.

These shelves are often used for grabbing shoppers’ attention, stocking items that don’t quite fit anywhere else, or maybe a little of both. As a result, ambient shelving can be a perfect way to draw eyes to any product you want to highlight, or anything that doesn’t quite fit in on the rest of your retail shelving units – so long as you have the room to spare!


Ambient Retail Shelving Ideas


If you’re considering adding more ambient shelving to your retail layout, the first step is to figure out what to keep on there.

Typically, ambient retail shelving lends itself more to either items you specifically want to highlight, or anything that doesn’t quite fit on your wall/aisle shelving. If you deal in groceries, for example, you may be better off using ambient shelving for things like fresh produce (bananas, squash, potatoes) that are harder to fit on a typical shelving grid. This could achieve the dual benefits of arranging these hard-to-store items, and making them a little more appealing to the customer.


From there, you’ll need to find a place for the shelves. This will tie in with the decisions you made in the previous step – going back to the produce example, you’ll want to keep them close enough to the rest of the groceries to keep them easy for your customers to find.

However, a big goal of ambient shelving is to draw attention to items that might not get looked over as often, or that could be highlighted for seasonality. You may want to consider putting them in a more eye-catching place, such as near the entrance or by the register to help draw more eyes to these goods while they’re still around.


And after your location is picked, it’s time to figure out what shelves you need. Typically, ambient retail shelving is created by using gondola island starter shelves for hanging goods, or floor-mounted units for things like produce. Any retail shelf that can stand on its own and easily display products on both sides is ideal here – but it will depend on how much room you have.

If you can answer these questions, it sounds like your store – and customers – might benefit from some ambient shelving!

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