Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Shelf-stackers in the intranet supermarket

6 November, 2010 – Luke Oatham

The job of the shelf-stacker is to fill the intranet shelves with junk. It’s a fairly easy job. They don’t have to think too much. It’s not difficult to shove something on a shelf. They might stack it next to something similar, but it’s not so important to them where it goes. Some of the shelf-stackers don’t stack items with the labels facing the right way. As long as it’s on a shelf.


They’re not bothered whether a customer takes an item off a shelf, has a little look, or not. They don’t mind if something has been sitting on a shelf for months and is out of date. That’s not their job. Sales figures don’t interest them. Top sellers? Supply and demand? Nah. In fact, most of the time, they don’t even bother looking at what it is that they put up on the shelves. Someone gives them something to stack, and off they go. Job done. Box ticked.

Shelf-stackers continue to fill the shelves. Some aisles become so cluttered with piles of junk that customers often complain that they can’t find what they want on the shelves. And when they give up looking and ask the shelf-stacker to help find something, it is a fruitless search. Some of the keener shelf-stackers may realise that customers aren’t visiting certain aisles. So they hang flashing signs above the aisle in the hope of enticing the customers. The customers learned long ago to avoid these aisles.

In the intranet supermarket, we need more than just shelf-stackers. We need intelligent people who care about their customers. Who realise that what they are stacking is ultimately for consumption by customers. Who understand that simple stacking alone does not tick the box. We need them to have an interest in the shelf life of their products, keen to find out if customers can find products easily. We need people with the good business sense to only stock what the customers want, eager and ready to tidy up messy aisles and to be more questioning about stacking whatever they are given, wherever they fancy.

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