Progressive Grocer

MAR 2017

Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/794415

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 90 of 117

March 2017 | progressivegrocer.com | 89 "Understanding how a shopper interacts with the store — which aisles they enter, how long they spend in different aisles, which types of products they spend time reading labels — can help retailers determine, for example, optimal placement of demos and special display locations, where to place product to encourage impulse purchases, cross-merchandising opportuni- ties, and overall flow," adds Rupani. Benefits of Tracking Julie Schlack, SVP of innovation and design at Boston- and New York-based brand adviser C Space, believes in the strategic use of shopping-path data that let grocers identify all of the discrete factors that pre- cede a product purchase. For example, video tracking and beacons can create heat maps depicting how many people are walking through each aisle, where they're pausing, how long they're spending in front of each product category, and the like. Schlack and Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer of Livonia, Mich.-based Valassis, list several benefits of tracking the paths of shoppers other than the proper placement of displays and sampling stations: Helping grocers reorganize the product layout to boost traffic in undervisited aisles Knowing where shoppers go in-store — and don't go — and how often they visit specific departments Understanding where in the store they linger ver- sus where they breeze by, which assists retailers in making layout, planogram and assortment decisions "Knowing a typical shopper's path informs the store of what shoppers want and need," says Inter- actions' Rupani. "If they're shopping the perimeter and you want to grow center store, enticing end cap displays or product demonstrations featuring center store items can help alter the shopper path to improve areas with flat or declining sales. Ad- ditionally, the knowledge of what drives shoppers — be it value, convenience, health and wellness, or luxury — must be a key part in planning any store set or refresh. ere is a positive correlation between how well a store reflects the needs and behaviors of the community it serves and its sales, shopper satisfaction and loyalty." Not everyone agrees on the use and value of sophisticated technology to track the paths of shoppers through a grocery store. Dr. Billie Blair, an organizational psychologist and president/CEO of Murrieta, Calif.-based Change Strategists, a large international management consulting firm, opts for the simple approach. "If a grocer wants to know about which store layouts are preferred by customers, then ask them," Blair says. "Don't do anything ridiculous like 'track- ing customer trips.' How could that possibly tell them anything, other than the customer is forgetful or the store layout is confusing? How could this possibly be known without asking the customer? It's a very simple matter to design a quick questionnaire for querying customers. Good grief! Why all the pseudoscience guesswork? Just ask the customers already!" While such opinions have value in the over- all discussion of tracking shopper paths, they're outliers among grocery analysts. Most of them see the value of using technology to depict how many people are walking through each aisle, where they're pausing, how long they're spending in front of each product category, and so on. "While these methods may help grocers boost category sales," says C Space's Schlack, "they're only beneficial if they enhance the overall shopper experience." PG Following the Shopper's Virtual Path One way to better understand and predict the paths of shoppers is by studying both their behaviors and attitudes, according to Rich Scamehorn, chief research officer at In- Context Solutions, a Chicago-based provider of virtual-reality solutions for trading partners. When evaluating new concepts like store layouts, packaging or point-of-purchase displays, it's important to understand both the shopper's behavior and why they made the choices they did, notes Scamehorn. He gives the example of testing new packaging, and outlines a two-step process: Observe the Shopper Reaction: Did they pass right by the new packaging, did they stop and observe the packaging but ultimately decide on a different brand, or did they see the new packaging and make the decision to purchase? Ask Follow-up Questions: Why did they make the choices they did? Were the new colors and fonts too muted so they didn't notice the brand? Was the brand not in their line of sight on the shelf set? Did they notice the new packaging, but made a selection of a different brand due to price, loyalty, personal preference, etc.? "You can evaluate these behaviors and attitudes in test- store environments, but setting up and resetting shelves can be costly and time- and labor-intensive," says Scamehorn. "By using virtual reality, you can conduct these same tests in a more ef- ficient way by setting up virtual environments, asking individuals to shop as they normally would, and then prompting them with questions to better understand their behavior afterward." There is a positive correlation between how well a store reflects the needs and behaviors of the community it serves and its sales, shopper satisfaction and loyalty." —Bharat Rupani, Interactions Marketing

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Progressive Grocer - MAR 2017