uncovered and capitalized on. But the majorityof companies are still at the bottom of thelearning curve. If it’s so effective why isn’teveryone signing up for shopper science?Especially marketers?“Change is hard,” says Chidley. “It can bring up allkinds of serious issues with merchandisers, buyersand suppliers. Simplifying the process to makeshoppers happier might mean reducing SKUs or dramatically changing planograms and adjacencies,which has the potential to make buyers andsuppliers unhappy. But the quality of your datadoes the persuading. Then the challenge becomes using the data across all functions.Although retailers are keeping their resultscondential, those who’ve found signicantsuccess will tell you that when retailers dowhat’s right for the shopper, everybody wins.”According to Chidley, shopper insights promisea real path to innovation, versus relentlessincremental improvements.“Most retailers are masters at ne tuning thestatus-quo, and too often the shopper accepts thestatus-quo as an immovable reality. They haveno choice but to adapt. Employing the rightapproach to gathering and acting on shopper insights can allow a connection with your shopper by being different—better, not justdifferent for different’s sake.”working through endless permutations to arrive at optimal solutions before anyinvestment is made. Technology also provides ongoing measurement, so plans can be tested and rened periodically.“Science has provided the tools and methods, but the real breakthrough is realizingthe importance of a well understood target shopper and the impact that deepunderstanding has on store design and merchandising decisions,” says Chidley
Applied insights result in a more effective selling space
A typical before and after scenario goes like this: a retailer, say a small-format beauty supply store, has carefully segmented its customers into four categories,Sensible, Fussy, Vain and Perfect. The shelves have been set assuming they allshare a similar shopping style. As it turns out, all they have in common isconfusion at the shelf.
Appropriate behavioral research nds that the group shares two distinct shoppingstyles, not four as might be expected. Sensible and Perfect are “purposeful”shoppers after particular products. Vain and Fussy are “thrill me” shopperslooking for a reason to stop. Drilling down further reveals that once the purposeful shopper makes her selection, she switches to thrill-me mode, withno urgency to leave the store. What they both need/want is education about the benets of a new regimen or creative product combinations.With these insights, a retailer can transform its store plan. Their designers and planners can strategically position products to promote cross-selling and drivelarger baskets. They can explore roles technology might play, and innovativesampling methods.“Interactive elements capture interest, simplify decisions and bring the aisles tolife, helping build a stronger retail experience that tells the brand story and getsmore items into the cart,” says Chidley. “The ultimate goal should be to design anenvironment that provides something differentiating and intangible, while gettingthe retailer credit for meeting shopper needs.”The Internet, of course, is the cause of much of the behavior seen in stores.Because of all the online information a person can access before a shopping trip,as well as the abundance of choices, shoppers are keeping their options open later into the decision process. The vast majority of decisions are made at the shelf.“Probably one of the most exciting developments is the integration of packagingdesign with shelf principles in the store environment,” says Chidley. “Packagingcan signal you’ve arrived in the category you need. It can answer questions to driveselection and upsell. Packaging can be designed so that products can be organized by shopper need-states; for example, by the symptoms they relieve, scent choices,or the age of the family pet. Insight into shopper thinking can unify package designand category shelf principles because it informs color, materials, forms, adjacencies,navigation, all the way up to over-arching messaging opportunities.”Retailers and manufacturers have come a long way since the time they categorizedthings based on how they transacted business and managed their buying processes. Now it’s about how people shop. There are plenty of opportunities that have yet to be
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