Archive for January, 2015

How to optimise gondola ends

Gondola ends are the most lucrative location in a store for our brands right?

Well this maybe so…. but it doesn’t mean that we are maximizing their sales potential. We need to get much smarter about how we execute at gondola ends to optimise the available green shoots there. The question is HOW do we do this? The answers lie with understanding your shoppers better …

Here are our four top tips to get you started:

Tip One – Consider mission and mindset when choosing where to buy gondola space

Store layouts haven’t fundamentally changed in 60 years, but how we use the space has. With a greater emphasis on smaller basket missions, gone are the days when shoppers trawl up and down every aisle, having the opportunity to see all of our product offers and gondola ends. Shoppers are focused in their movement around store; following a learnt cognitive map for their specific mission today.
Having good visibility for our gondola ends means being in the parts of the store where the key shopping missions DO visit. Some of the obvious store zones with high footfall will be near to categories such as fresh, chilled and bread. But all brands will be clambering to get into this space, meaning we need a better understanding of missions and store usage if we want to find some alternative locations.
Missions should also influence WHAT we promote on the gondolas. If the majority of shoppers are carrying a basket, then a BOGOF on heavy 2 litre soft drinks is probably not the best idea!Shopper mindset will also influence the performance of our gondola ends in different locations. During the early part of their trip, shoppers will understandably have higher energy levels; making them more receptive to deals and offers. The further into the shop they go, the more fatigued they become. Coupled with feeling tired, shoppers are increasingly aware of how much they have already spent; meaning they may think twice about that deal on the end. Not to mention the more practical considerations such as “do I really want that heavy box of beer squashing my bread and vegetables?”Therefore, understanding how stores are used, what missions people are generally completing and their mindset in each store zone should be influencing where in store we invest in gondola space.Tip Two – Passing doesn’t mean noticing

We all know what it’s like when we go shopping….it’s so routine that we often switch off. Therefore we become blinkered. This means that we miss things, and gondola ends are no exception. Ok … they might sell WELL, but they could sell MORE if we could only convert a fraction more of those shoppers passing our display. Increased conversion can be achieved through better VISIBILITY for the deal and product we are promoting – making more passing shoppers SEE your gondola.

Generating optimum stand out will result from better understanding shoppers. If we consider how shoppers use a store and therefore approach a gondola end, they will typically view the gondola end from the power aisle or whilst entering or exiting an aisle.

Yet, with a typical gondola end, the communication and display is least visible from both these angles.

This means that many shoppers are not going to SEE your offer and therefore won’t consider or buy it – a wasted sales opportunity.

Many retailers are already on the way to solving this by executing things like off-set aisles – where you are able to see the gondola head on when you walk down an aisle, rather than seeing another aisle. Angled gondolas and communication facing the traffic flow are other popular tactics that really help to increase gondola end visibility.

Tip Three – consider the ROLE of the gondola end

The primary objective for brands buying gondola space will be to shift extra product. However, in most cases, branded gondola offers will also be sold in the main aisle. This begs the question of where the brand uplift has been generated from – the gondola or the aisle? Do shoppers buying from the end also enter the aisle or do they walk away? Do shoppers buying the brand from the main aisle also engage with the gondola display? If we can’t answer these questions, we won’t know what the true ROLE is for that gondola end. Are we selling stock on deal to people who would have purchased anyway? Are we encouraging shoppers to avoid the main aisle by putting key brands on the end? Or is the gondola end acting as a prompt for shoppers to visit the main aisle? Answers to these questions help us to understand what we put on the gondola end (e.g. best selling brands or NPD) and whether it’s essential for the display to be adjacent to the main associated aisle. The answers will come from observing your shoppers and their behaviours in the store.

Tip four- keep it simple!

The fourth and final tip today is one that runs throughout all our recommendations when it comes to shoppers – keep it simple!

We can only process a limited amount of information when shopping, so the simpler the message and the offer, the easier it will be for shoppers to decode and make decisions. This could be a visual of the product on the side of the gondola, with a simple price message (as per the example above).

In summary, gondola ends are a valuable sales vehicle for us. Shoppers have learnt that deals are often located here and more often than not, we see an uplift when our brands are on the end. However, more could be done to optimise our investment here by:

• Understanding WHERE to buy space through better understanding missions and mindset

• Making product and offer more VISIBLE to passing traffic

• Understanding the ROLE for the gondola end

• Keeping the message and offer SIMPLE!

How convenience stores are meeting shopper needs

Living in a remote village means I am reliant on our local convenience store, as are many other residents – given the volume of people that are always in there!  And it’s not just my village store that is seeing this success – along with discounters and online, convenience stores are one of the key growth channels in the UK. This growth is demonstrated (and fuelled in part) by expansion in the channel from the major multiples. Tesco has expanded from just 100 convenience format stores in 2000 to over 1,700 Express stores today, as they respond to the desire from shoppers to make food and grocery shopping better fit in around their lives.

Convenience stores are all about servicing the local community by meeting the shopper needs for the missions they are fulfilling. In my community, there is a mixture of working professionals and families. Having spent some time snooping in people’s baskets (a pastime of mine I really must stop doing!), I would say their main missions/needs, aside from the traditional confectionery, tobacco and news mission are – the essential top up (milk and bread etc.) and meal for tonight. So what has the store done to cater for these needs?

Essential top ups are catered for very well – both milk and bread are easily accessible as soon as you enter the store. It’s a myth that putting these items at the back of the store encourages shoppers to buy more – in fact it only serves to annoy them, and as such acts a long-term barrier to attracting shoppers to the store for this type of mission. The traditional thinking was that by placing these items at the back of the store, shoppers would impulsively purchase other items on their way to buy their essentials items.  It doesn’t work that way, because shoppers don’t work that way.  When shoppers are on a task focussed mission (such as an essential top up), the blinkers are on and they filter out any unnecessary information that is not relevant to the task in hand.  Anything else is just wallpaper and is ignored.  It is therefore better to get shoppers to their essential items as efficiently as possible, and then look to influence their purchasing from that point on.  This is where the layout in my local store works very well for shoppers. The route from the essential items to the till takes shoppers past impulse items like confectionery, DVDs and key offers at the point when the blinkers are off and shoppers are much more likely to spend incrementally.

The store has recently been refurbished, and it’s very obvious that attracting and appealing to meal for tonight shoppers has been a key target. First of all, fresh fruit and veg is now the first thing you see as you enter the store (it used to be packaged cakes). Having fresh first in flow creates a good initial impression and also allows you to complete your meal building mission more easily. The store has also invested in signage and attractive displays which add to the “fresh” appeal. This addition certainly makes it more acceptable to buy your basic fresh produce from this store, overcoming a traditional fresh quality barrier for the channel.

The success of the layout continues as you move from produce to meat and into dairy – allowing you to buy the perfect pudding! They also have some clever dual sites which further enhance a mission based layout, with cooking sauces and chilled wine displayed close by as an example. Within a few minutes of entering the store, you can pick up an entire meal for tonight, parking easily outside the store and being only a few minutes away from home. What could be easier?

The range in store is not huge – but it has at least one or two key brands for everything you could need – satisfying that emergency “run out” mission, and reducing the decision time at fixture via this simplified range – a feature which has also been a key driver of success in the discount channel.

The key barrier to convenience stores is often price – which in my store can be an issue. However, with lots of clearly communicated deals on categories like crisps, chocolate and wine, you can still feel like you are getting a bargain – and end up with items in your basket you didn’t even know you needed – with most of them visible (and most importantly accessible) whilst you are queuing (which you often are!)

With the macro trend of increased “little and often” shopping, convenience stores are going to be a key channel of focus in 2015 and beyond. To win within convenience stores, understand the c-store shopper.  Consider the key missions visiting these stores.  Are your categories visible and relevant to these missions? Have you got the range specifically tailored to meet the needs of shoppers in this location? And are you overcoming the barrier of price by demonstrating value for money?  By understanding more about your shoppers within these stores, you can develop a growth driven strategy for the channel that enables you to benefit from its anticipated growth.

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