Have you ever walked in a store and seen a shelf like the ones below? Unless you strictly stick to online shopping, my guess is yes. A waste of space is a waste of money, plain and simple.
And here you're trying hard to get more space while these shelves sit empty. Well it turns out this photo is a flex section, and if you're savvy, smart, and have the right relationships, you might just get to put your products here until the store decides it needs the space again.
Let's start with what a 'flex' section actually is. A 'flex' section is an area in a store, most likely at the end of an aisle, that has little to no inventory or is extra space with no previously mapped out use.
These sections and areas can and should be used by retailers to help control overstock, clear out backrooms, and provide a space for clearance merchandise. Merchandise is constantly being delivered and worked to the sales floor. When shelf space isn't maximized, inventory ends up sitting in stockrooms too long, consequently causing lost sales. After every major holiday you see big retailers pushing out left over, now irrelevant, merchandise from the back marked down to insanely low prices. But quite frequently their items blow out and they empty out fast. Empty spaces equal lost profit.
'Flex' sections should follow the same rules as if in the store planogram. Keep a continuous flow throughout each aisle and always use similar or corresponding items together. For example, fishing lures next to fishing poles or wrapping paper and tape next to greeting cards. Keep the area very well organized, clearly priced, faced out, and if on sale, show the value to the customers. If you get lucky enough to have the right items to cross-merchandise into a flex section, you've hit the jackpot! It makes perfect sense to allow you to place your items there -- just make sure to get permission from the store manager first. However, even if not, something on the shelf is always better than nothing. Offer to supply the labor to fill the shelves with your product and you might just land some space.
It's a proven way to increase sales and clean up the excess stock floating around, as well as helping the store present a good impression. Customers want product and value, not empty shelves. Optimize your shelf space for maximum visibility and appeal; Products sell 100% more of the time when accessible to customers versus sitting in a stockroom.
Now, doing this in one store is great, but doing it in lots of stores is, even that much better.