Planogram for Profit

How you sort your gift card shelves can impact your sales. 

Date:Dec. 14, 2020

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It’s no secret that most consumers want to get their shopping done as quickly as possible and get on with their busy lives. Therefore, the easier you can make it for them to buy a product in your store, the better your chances of making a sale. (And making them happy.) This holds true for just about any item on your shelves: shampoo, cereal, and especially gift cards.


“It doesn’t matter if you have the best products, it comes down to offering consumers an easy way to find them,” said Kavin Sivapalan, Vice President of Business Analytics at InComm Payments. “It’s especially important in today’s retail environment where stores are stocking their shelves with more products and consumers have more choices than ever.” 


Gift cards are a unique breed of product that require a specialized in-store presentation. They all look the same physically (like a plastic card), but each one represents a different product or service. A single rack of gift cards could house myriad categories, everything from home improvement and gaming to coffee and sports gear. (That’s a lot of categories in a small space.) So, the key is to organize and display them in a way that helps the consumer find the card they want quickly and easily. Sivapalan noted that “with more shopping online, it’s important for retailers to maximize their in-store gift card buying experience and make it seamless and positive for shoppers.” This is where planograms come in.




of gift card purchases are made from the main display or in the checkout lane.

InComm Payments survey, 2019




A Planogram is a diagram or model that indicates where products should be placed on store shelves to maximize sales. They are invaluable in helping stores present gift cards in a way that engages shoppers and compels them to buy. “There’s a wide spectrum of gift cards, so it’s really important to get in the mind of the consumer and sort items based on how they would shop the display,” Sivapalan said.


“Having a strong planogram is more relevant for gift cards because consumers often have an additional variable when they are shopping – and that’s time. Whether they know what they want or are looking for a last-minute gift, customers coming into your store want to find their gift card as quickly as possible.” 


Knowing that you need a gift card planogram and knowing how to build one are two different things. Fortunately, InComm Payments can help. The payments technology leader offers your store an end-to-end suite of profit-generating solutions which includes a standout team of planogram experts, brimming with experience and armed with state-of-the-art planogram-building technologies. 



"We don't go on gut feeling when building planograms. We have the data to support what is and isn’t working across the entire gift card industry." - Kavin Sivapalan, Vice President of Business Analytics at InComm Payments


To give you a window into the intricacies of planogram creation, Sivapalan details his team’s step-by-step process:



1. Strategize

When we first meet with a merchant, we discuss retail trends and how these may influence their gift card sales. We learn about the merchant’s internal strategy, too, which helps us align on which categories or brands to emphasize on their planogram. Merchants often provide  with us unique insights about their customers that can impact our decision-making. (Planogramming through partnership definitely leads to the best solutions.) We also use this time to gauge the merchant’s interest in new cards recently added to our portfolio.



2. Analyze 

We analyze the merchant’s current performance and see how it compares with our comprehensive gift card industry data. Having the ability to review aggregated sales across the industry enables us to identify opportunities for their cards and provide very accurate forecasts grounded in strong statistics. We then provide a product list for our partner that shows each card’s projected performance, as well as its relevant category designation – and we use all of this information to build the planogram. The benefit of working with InComm Payments is that we partner with a wide variety of merchants and can share our experiences. If you’re a new retailer coming to us, we can leverage our depth of industry knowledge to closely forecast how customers are going to shop for gift cards in your store. 



3. Create

After finalizing the product list, we work on the planogram. When determining where to place each card, we factor in three important elements:


  • Card sales performance
  • Card categorization
  • Retail trends for the brands



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High demand cards are displayed at eye level so customers can find them quickly and easily.


The cards with the highest sales potential are generally placed toward the top of the display or at eye level, and then we work our way down. But it’s more than just putting the top sellers at the top and not paying any attention to the category. We really think about how the consumer is going to shop the set. What a shopper wants to see is similar brands within a category so they can easily find their card. Lastly, we determine the right layout for the planogram, and how the brands should be presented. If we have four coffee brand cards, for example, do we position them all horizontally, vertically or in a two-by-two block? The layout not only depends on the fixture size and the number of cards available, but also on what would make the brand stand out on that specific fixture. 



4. Differentiate

It’s very rare for a merchant to have one planogram that applies to all of their stores, so we create multiple variations for them. Our retail partners often have stores in multiple states, and the customer profile is usually different in each state; therefore, the assortment needs to be different. The kinds of cards available vary across the country, so our team creates different planograms based on regional preferences.



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What plays in Peoria might not be so popular in Pensacola, so we create planograms based on regional buying behaviors.



5. Set up

Once we have completed the planogram, the InComm Payments merchandising group sends out a team to stores to set it up. They follow our direction and accurately reset the cards on the display. We take on this responsibility for the merchant – and it’s our way of making sure that the planogram is set right. 



6. Update

We typically update our partners’ planograms twice a year. There is one reset in the spring around April, and then a fall reset around October. We do this for two reasons:


  • Refresh the assortment

InComm Payments is constantly working with our merchant partners to introduce new cards, and a reset gives us the opportunity bring these cards to their displays to generate excitement and drive sales.


  • Anticipate gift-card-buying seasons

We do the spring reset to get our merchant partners ready for the bump in demand around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation. And we do another reset in October so merchants have the best card assortment for the upcoming holiday season.



7. Report

Upon request, we provide our merchant partners with a post-reset analysis about six to eight weeks after the reset. It outlines how the changes we made to their assortments have impacted their sales – and we use this information to start planning for the next reset.  



A customer standing in front of your gift card display is the moment of truth. It’s your last opportunity to influence their purchase. “Our displays are often quite large and such a wide assortment can be overwhelming,” Sivapalan remarked. “Retailers need to simplify their gift card shopping experience; a very clear and easy-to-shop display will help customers find the card they want. Price, promotions and other factors can certainly influence their decision,” he noted, “but having the right planogram in place can definitely boost your chances of making a sale.”


To learn more about InComm Payments’ planogram capabilities, contact Kavin Sivapalan at