The Strategy Behind Why Grocery Stores Switch Up Their Layouts

When you go to your local grocery store, you generally expect things to be in the same place they were the week before — so it can be jarring when, out of the blue, your favorite snacks or go-to produce items aren't in their usual spots. Ever wonder why grocery stores like to rearrange their products? Turns out, there's a pretty savvy reason. According to Grocery Corridor, frequently changing the store's layout is often a deliberate part of the business' sales strategy.

Put simply, changing the layout of a grocery store forces customers to spend more time looking for their items, reported the site. Rather than heading straight for your desired products, grabbing them, and checking out, you're forced to wander through the store, actively searching for the items on your list. As such, you're reportedly more likely to pay attention to other departments, aisles, and products — which, ordinarily, you'd simply pass by without a second glance.

Why do grocery stores rely on changing their store layouts?

According to, grocery stores typically have very slim profit margins — often between just 1% and 3%. In a practical sense, this means that in many cases, the store may only earn a few cents for each item sold. Rather than relying on high profit margins, grocery stores make money depending on the number of items customers buy. As such, grocery stores have an incentive to get customers to purchase more products each time they go shopping.

Per Grocery Corridor, customers who are familiar with a store's layout are more likely to grab only the items they need without adding any impulse buys to their carts. In contrast, a store with a fresh layout forces you to spend scan the shelves more thoroughly — making it more likely that a new product or item will catch your eye. This strategy helps grocery stores achieve their goal of increasing the number of items included in each transaction, giving their slim margins a boost.