Although the descriptive term can also be used to describe a common type of retail display fitting, it is more likely to conjure up images of a romantic boat ride through the picturesque canals of the Adriatic port of Venice. In practice, gondola shelving derives its name from the simple fact that, when it is viewed in cross-section, its shape bears a close resemblance to that of the traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian vessel of the same name. In this case, however, it is intended to be of value to grocers rather than to gondoliers.
This is the type of display system most commonly used by both large supermarkets and small retail outlets, and it is favoured for a number of very good reasons. Undoubtedly, for the average retailer, one of the most important of these is that it enables store owners to optimise their use of the available space. When assembled in a double-sided form, with vertical shelves, gondola shelving forms a stable, free-standing unit that can then be positioned to create aisles. This arrangement allows the customers easy access to well-displayed stock items on either side, whilst also providing a thoroughfare for the trolleys of shoppers and shelf packers.
In order to ensure utilising as much of the available display space as possible, single-sided units can also be attached to the side and rear walls of a store. The walls provide the shelves with the necessary support without compromising either the visibility or accessibility of the products placed on them. When arranged in this manner, the use of gondola shelving can effectively add, up to three additional shopping aisles to a store.
No less important to retailers is the ease with which these systems can be assembled and installed quickly and with no need for either special skills or special tools. This makes it possible to complete the initial installation or any required changes to the existing layout in a matter of an hour or two whilst also avoiding the need to pay a professional shopfitter.
To accommodate items of different sizes, both the height and the depth gondola shelving can be easily adjusted. The shelves may also be angled downwards and fitted with a retaining fence in order to display items, such as magazines more effectively. Other accessories include hooks, wire baskets, hanging clips, shelf dividers, and pegboards. Together, they serve to make these units one of the most versatile display systems available to the retailer.
Compared with most other options, gondola shelving is generally less expensive and requires little maintenance. Add to this a simple DIY installation, and it becomes a highly cost-effective option.