How to Build Grocery Store Display Shelves

Grocery store display shelves are more than just for aesthetic pleasure. How you arrange them can significantly impact how many customers you attract. It can also determine how much sales you make.

This is why building grocery store display shelves the smart way is important. You’ll need to consider the color contrasts of the products sitting inside them. You’ll also need to consider the similarities between the products.

But that’s not all. In this article, we’ll be sharing some grocery store display ideas. They will help you build a great display for your store. But first, let’s help you differentiate between a grocery store display and aisles.

Grocery store display shelves vs aisles: What’s the difference?

Grocery store display shelves and aisles serve the same purpose: to showcase products. But there’s a slight difference. Grocery store aisles hold the regular products shoppers need for everyday preparations. E.g. mustard, barbecue sauce, cheeses, etc. 

Aisles in a grocery store
Grocery store aisles

On the other hand, grocery store display shelves showcase special items. These items are strategically placed together to draw the attention of shoppers. E.g. discount or sales items, rare goods, etc. Unlike regular aisles, display shelves are temporary. So you could visit that same grocery store the next day and see that the arrangement has changed.

A product display shelf containing liquor
A product display shelf

In essence, the difference between a grocery store aisle and display shelf is this; grocery store aisles are permanent, or rather, maintain the same arrangement for a long period of time. Grocery store display shelves are temporary. They are only meant to last for days, weeks, or until the special items are sold out.

How do you build a grocery store screen?

To build a grocery store display shelf or screen, follow these steps:

Step #1: Choose a color theme

Ensure that the products you stack together on your display complement each other. Even though stacking all the colors of the rainbows seems logical, it’s best to keep the color combination simple. 

Product display shelf containing coffee products in black and white packaging

Having too many colors in your display shelf can be distracting. It will also make your shelf look disorganized. So you should strive to group products with similar package colors. 

Lighting is also important. So your shelf should stand in a well-lit room. This is so that customers can see each item clearly, especially when they pick one up for closer inspection. You can opt for LED lights in your grocery store to achieve this.

Step #2: Choose a focal point

A focal point is the part of your grocery store where you want the display shelves to stand. Your focal point should be a section of the store that is clearly visible and is sure to draw attention. E.g. Around the entrance area.

Stack of products in a grocery store

The focal point of your grocery store should also be separate from the general shopping area. This is so that there would be enough space for shoppers to move freely. 

Your focal point should also be in an area where security cameras can easily capture. Employees or security personnel should also be able to see and access it easily. This will help to monitor shoplifters and prevent theft.

Step #3: Determine the size & shape of the shelves

In terms of size and shape, you should ensure that your display shelf is large enough to contain the store products. You wouldn’t want the items to look squeezed or cramped together. This could discourage shoppers from making a purchase. 

Two pyramid displays in a grocery store

One design we recommend is the “pyramid principle“. This is when you stack products at varying heights. You will need to place large volumes of products at the base. This will form a support for the other products you’re going to stack on top. So in the end, it would look like a pyramid. 

For furniture and other heavy weight products, this arrangement isn’t ideal or possible. So you’ll want to arrange chairs, tables or carpets the way it would look in the living room. This would help customers to visualize how it would look in their homes and encourage them to make a purchase.

Step #4: Group similar products together

Don’t toss random items together. The purpose of erecting a display shelf is so that you can sell out special items. These items are unique or essential to customer needs. For example, diet.

If you’d like to sell out your fresh produce, you can create a special diet stack for customers. So your display shelf will contain strictly fruits, vegetables or juices for a diet plan. E.g. broccoli, jackfruit, apple cider, etc.

Woman wearing face mask standing beside fruit product display

But if you want to attract sweet tooth customers, then you should stack candy bars and other sweets on your display shelf. The idea is to create a personalized experience for the shoppers. So it wouldn’t be sensible to place fruits alongside chocolate and liquor.

Step #5: Set up shopper-friendly signs

You can place bold and readable signs beside your grocery store display shelf. You can even place them outside or beside the entrance of the store.

Blue grocery sign

The purpose of these signs is to direct customers to the shelves. From the moment they step out of their cars or enter the store, you’ll want them to be informed. This eliminates the stress of store employees explaining or directing customers individually. 


Your grocery store display shelves can significantly impact your sales performance. It can also help you with customer retention. If your shelves are visually appealing, it can boost customer retention by 42%. Following the steps we aforementioned, you should be able to design the ideal display shelf for your store.

Overall, don’t go overboard. You might be tempted to go all out and spend money on new products or flashy signs. But you actually don’t need to break the bank to sell out your display shelf products. With strategic thinking and arrangement, you can empty your shelves in no time.

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