The shelf space advantage
In just a few decades, private brands have revolutionized the market and gained important market share against national brands. With sales figures being the only relevant measurement of real brand strength, power brands are becoming a thing of the past.
Still, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, which boast deep pockets, can leave store brands struggling to grab attention on the shelves. But retailers have some natural advantages they can leverage easily and cost-effectively to capture sales, loyalty and a larger piece of share.
The customer connection
Never underestimate the power to leverage and own the connection with shoppers. Due to a recessionary mindset now in its third consecutive year, retailers customers are more cautious in their spending.
And while customers have grown more frugal, theyve also become more resourceful. They expect a retail experience that enables them to get the most value for their dollar – one that keeps them informed and ahead of the curve, and aids them in making decisions that enhance their day-to-day lives. To deliver that type of experience and drive shoppers to select store brand products instead of their national brand counterparts, retailers must offer more than just aisles of unlimited choices on static shelves.
The key to doing so could be in the palm of a shoppers hand.
Phone it in
More than half of U.S. consumers own a smartphone, with more than 40 percent of these owners using or wanting to use these devices for in-store digital content delivery, according to a report based on a 2012 in-store survey from San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems Inc. The report also explains that 30 percent use online videos to help them select the right product. But its still up to retailers to remind and reinforce that decision by re-engaging the consumer once he or she enters the store.
The study concludes that retailers need to respond to technology-savvy consumers by creating digitally rich and easy-to-use technology-based experiences in the store. Retailers have the ability to give their store brands an edge over the national brands. They own the space where their customers shop. They need to leverage it!
All signs point to more sales
The recent "Global New Products Report" from New York-based Nielsen shows that 72 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they learn about it in store. Therefore, retailers should take advantage of their space to give these shoppers all the information they seek. Standees, product displays and aisle violators and other signage can be used to deliver a brands message, and a downloadable mobile app can link to pertinent information about store brand products.
With this in mind, retailers should consider:
- Using unusual substrates, sizes, shapes and bright colors, which could help stop shoppers in their tracks.
- In terms of messaging, using signage to point out unique values such as nutritional value, special dietary needs, recipes or history of the brand. Retailers always should remember: Consumers want information that relates to their needs – not promotional fluff!
- Creating a rich interactive experience with their brand and store through a mobile link. For example, if a retailer sells groceries, then it could intrigue with signage that features a tantalizing meal. Next, it could provide access through a mobile app to not only recipes and a list of essential ingredients (including store brand products), but also an overlay of the store that indicates where the products can be found. The experience continues after leaving the store with access to how-to videos of the preparation process. This increases not only sales, but also loyalty.
Consumers are busy, so they dont want to spend excess time searching for a product that meets their specific needs. They rely heavily on properly placed, described and priced goods.
According to the Cisco study, when asked what information they wanted displayed at shelf level:
- Forty-three percent of respondents noted that they want to compare products and prices.
- Thirty-one percent of respondents said they want detailed product specifications.
- Thirty percent of respondents explained that they want a guide for selecting the best products.
Once again, making sure interactive technology works hand in hand with retailers shelf-level signage is key to differentiating a store brand. By scanning QR codes or using image-recognition apps, shoppers have to only point and shoot to pull up information (nutritional, price comparisons and more) about a particular store brand product, while they might not be able to do the same to get information on the adjacent national brand product.
Retailers should supplement this capability with intriguing special shelving, displays and aisle violators designed to set their brand apart from the rest. Their choice of suppliers for merchandising materials is critical to optimizing their shelf power. They should look for partners that understand the technology and how to incorporate it into signage, strips and displays – as well as how to help their retailer partners ensure a consistent brand experience throughout the store.
In their ongoing quest for more information and the best value, shoppers today tend to closely scrutinize more products on the shelf before making that final decision. If a retailers package isnt helping to sell the product and brand on the shelf, then that retailer is not maximizing the packages role as a marketing tool.
With an unwavering eye to maintaining their brand, retailers need to consider incorporating decorative treatments such as embossing/debossing, UV varnishes, foils, die cuts and/or unique substrates. Elements that make a shopper reach out and touch a package also can get the product into the shopping cart.
Retailers have the flexibility to address customers on a more personal level because they live where the shoppers live. The advent of high-speed digital presses means retailers can create aisle signage, displays and other promotional elements quickly and cost-effectively.
This reality enables retailers to proactively support their communitys local events or sports activities. Retailers could brand products with seasonal displays or recipe suggestions for local ethnicities. Or they could react quickly to price changes or sales from a nearby competitor. Obviously, a close alignment with vendors is essential for quick response and turnaround.
Retailers have the advantage
Retailers are in control – in control of the store, the decision pathway and product information that can connect emotionally and rationally with their shoppers. They can create a store environment that furthers their store brand proposition and generates more sales.
Retailers might not have the spending power that many CPG manufacturers have, but those manufacturers dont have the power to get as close to customers as retailers do. Done effectively, interactive signage and a rich, informative store experience will win shoppers to a retailers brand and store – and keep them loyal.
Mike Draver is president of New Berlin, Wis.-based Tempt In-Store Productions, a Quad/Graphics company that provides in-store marketing materials and programs for many of the nations leading retailers and brand marketers. He can be reached at 262-432-6321 or [email protected].