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Consumers Don’t Shop Trees

My relationship with Consumer Decision Trees (CDTs) is long and complicated. I’ve sold them, bought them, and applied them to business opportunities in the trenches of retail and at the nexus of sales and marketing at global manufacturers. I’ve led category management and category strategy teams where CDTs have been foundational to our shopper-centric perspective.

I’ve wasted precious time debating the differences and merits of Consumer Decision Trees vs. Market Structure (reasonable minds disagree). When others chime in with Shopper Decision Tree and Purchase Decision Hierarchy terminology, my head starts to hurt. My impatience comes from a practitioner’s point of view to focus on what these studies can do to drive the business.

And on that note I’m happy to declare with conviction that consumers don’t shop trees. Never have and never will. The evidence is overwhelming that shoppers don’t make rational, linear, multiple choice decisions to consider the full breadth of category variety and drill down to a single item selection.

400wLet’s agree that CDTs are not a model of shopper behavior with predictive power.

I’m not disavowing the importance of Decision Trees, far from it. When done well CDTs provide a clear and simple depiction of product consideration sets in a hierarchical order of distinction and inversely a guide to product substitutability. This representation of category attributes is extremely helpful in making assortment recommendations and in evaluating product development or brand positioning opportunities.

However, a Decision Tree is not a planogram, and by conflating the two, practitioners in our industry get themselves in trouble.

Many take planogram development too lightly, thinking of it as tactical, low value work. Yet people who create planograms make critical decisions about what items are carried in which stores, how much space they receive, and how they are arranged. Hardly a process of low importance; ignore it at your peril.

CDTs should exert influence on an effective planogram in two areas:

  1. Assortment: including or excluding specific items should be made with an understanding of the relevant competitive set (the lowest nodes on the CDT signifying most substitutability), and
  2. Arrangement: grouping products at shelf in building blocks corresponding to the CDT will help shoppers make sense of and navigate the selection.

Arrangement is often referred to as “shoppability” and it offers two main potential benefits. It helps the shopper find the desired product (often pre-determined), and it encourages the shopper to view and compare alternative and complementary products.

These dual potential benefits must act in harmony to realize the full potential of a category. Research shows that making it easy for shoppers to find preferred products results in emotionally happier shoppers likelier to spend more money in the time allocated and likelier to return as a shopper.

A CDT on its own is insufficient to develop a winning planogram.

Planogram arrangement must balance multiple priorities including operational imperatives (e.g., days of supply, sufficient packout), retailer strategies (e.g., corporate brands, retailer differentiation), and aesthetics (blocking similar packages types, sizes, and brands) in addition to the shoppability considerations from a CDT.

There is no singular analysis, algorithm, or software program that can lay claim to generating the perfect planogram (many have tried). But perfection should not stand in the way of excellence. We at Decision Insight have seen over and over again that planogram arrangement influences choices at the shelf.

While many aspire to be shopper-centric, keep in mind that your interpretation of a shopper-driven arrangement is likely not the same as your competitor’s. When you attempt to create greater visibility for something important to you, there may well be negative consequences somewhere else on the shelf. For all these reasons retailers maintain a cautious posture to implementing disruptive change.

Test your BIG IDEAS. Don’t roll the dice!

Many categories are in desperate need of a refresh, and bold, breakthrough solutions are often the needed prescription. Forward-looking CDTs can help you create strategic options for category reinvention. Test those big ideas so you can predict with confidence, minimize your risk, and secure the acceptance of your retail partners. Decision Insight can help.

Decision Insight’s CDT method brings the context of the store into the exercise, measures direct substitutability, and allows for the inclusion of your next generation innovation. Our virtual platform enables you to quantitatively test discrete in-store environments with alternative arrangement, signage, assortment, or pricing. Decision Insight is much more than our cutting edge methodologies. Our firm is focused on our clients to help them make better decisions and to apply them to winning retail strategies. We have a passionate, creative, and experienced team to pull it off.

 

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Packaging ­– What Your Agency Won’t Tell You

One thing your agency or design firm won’t tell you is that when changing packaging there is a greater potential to do harm than good

The first thing a new brand manager does is change the packaging. This is usually based on tracking studies suggesting that the current product is perceived as weak on key elements such as “taste” or “health.” Then, after a lengthy review process, two or three new designs are chosen internally. But, playing with packaging can be a dangerous game…

Your Package is a Hard Worker
Unfortunately, many new designs do not take into account the list of responsibilities that the package must have to be effective at the shelf:

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  • Break through the clutter - Does the package stand out on the shelf and/or easily distinguish the brand? Will shoppers find their regular brand or be drawn to a new brand?
  • Communicate benefits - Does the package communicate the product’s key point of distinction or positioning? Do shoppers get the “big idea?” (This is where “taste” and “health” attributes weigh in.)
  • Enhance product image and appeal - Does the package reinforce the desired image of the brand such as gourmet, natural, etc.?
  • Easy to use and store - Does the package meet the needs of the consumer when the product is used?

Your Package has Hard Working Conditions
It can be tough to stand out on the shelf. Just as important as evaluating the package design itself, you must evaluate the package in the context of the store. Most research ignores the fact that environment and competitive set impact what consumers buy. The following should be considered:

  • How are the products in the category laid out? How big is the competitive set?
  • Are there important sub-lines, flavors, or varieties to communicate?
  • How do consumers shop the category?

Concern
Packaging fails when it’s inconsistent with the brand or results in reduced visibility on the shelf. If you are not careful, new packaging may accomplish your goal of increasing the perception of “taste” or “health,” but at the same time fail on brand image or product visibility, which leads to a net loss.

Solution
Decision Insight’s ShopperIQ-Packaging solution was expressly developed to take into account the context of store environment when evaluating new package designs. The first measure is Sales… this is #1 in our packaging research hierarchy:

  1. Sales – Does it persuade the shopper to buy your product?
  2. Shelf Presence – Is it easily found on the shelf?
  3. Messaging & Brand Equity – Does it effectively communicate key messages?
  4. Aesthetic Appeal – Do shoppers like it?

Good packaging cannot guarantee success, but it can greatly increase the chance of success for a repositioned brand or new product launch. Tell your agency you’ve adopted a steadfast golden rule for packaging design changes, an axiom inspired by the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Consult our experts when considering a change and help your package’s hard work pay off and win at retail.

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Alex Sodek is Chief Research Officer at Decision Insight.

To learn more, contact Alex at alexs@decisioninsight.com.

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How To Win Over Buyers Who Don’t “Buy It”

Base Your Case on Shopper Behavior

Selling in a strategy or tactic today is a rigorous process that necessitates building a case supported with convincing facts.

Here’s a fact you may have already encountered: “facts” based on traditional market research are often NOT compelling enough to close the deal (i.e. buyers don’t “buy” the story you’re telling with the research, and therefore don’t buy the strategy you’re selling).

Why is traditional research data not getting the job done?

Because experienced buyers have been burned too often. What people say in a traditional survey does NOT correlate with how they actually behave in the store. Buyers need more than simple research facts

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How a Leading Public Health Association Convinces Manufacturers to Certify Key Products

A leading public health organization developed a program that certifies healthy foods for manufacturers. This special certification includes a branded icon on-pack, indicating to shoppers that a product meets strict criteria around fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, etc. They needed to more effectively support a sales strategy to prove the impact to CPG manufacturers.

To get the “health-conscious” certification, the products undergo evaluation by the organization to ensure the nutritional standards are met. Then food manufacturers pay a nominal administrative fee to the organization, which is used to cover the program’s operating expenses. In the scheme of things, it’s not a big fee… but, in this economy, ANY added costs are a big deal.

So, the association needed to demonstrate to food manufacturers that this was a worthwhile investment. They needed to prove there was a positive ROI.

Traditional research was one option. It would be easy to show respondents the “Healthy” concept and ask them how appealing it is, or even how they think it would impact their purchase intent.

The problem: we already KNOW that nearly everyone will say it is “appealing.” And, it is easy for a respondent to claim they would buy products that are certified as health-conscious.

But real-world experience has demonstrated that “claimed” intent is just not believable. What people SAY is not what they DO. And many manufacturer customers of the organization know this too!

Building a Compelling Sales Story by Proving Positive ROI 

To build a more compelling, convincing sales story, the association needed to prove two things:

One: BEHAVIOR

The association needed to prove that including the healthy-conscious certification would impact real behavior. In other words, demonstrate that products with the on-pack certification will get MORE shoppers to actually purchase more products.

Two: EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

The association also needed to prove that the “healthy” certification would have a tangible, meaningful impact on perceptions of products. Not in a “forced,” conscious manner, but at an emotional – even sub-conscious level. They needed to demonstrate that including the certification icon on-pack would result in stronger equity for a brand and its key products.

With these objectives in mind, Decision Insight created research that tested emotional response to the certification concept using a combination of virtual shopping and implicit response. Ultimately, the combination of the BEHAVIORAL measures collected from the virtual shopping research and the EMOTIONAL measures collected from the implicit research technique provided a rich and compelling case for investing in the healthy-products program.

Contact Leslie to learn more about the research outcomes and real-world implications.

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Winning the TURF War

As researchers, our job is to provide answers. “This is the packaging treatment that maximizes trial.” “Here is the optimal price.” etc. So, when we can’t identify a definitive answer, it can be frustrating. It goes against our nature!

That is why flavor sorts, or line optimization studies, can be challenging. We want so badly to say “this is the optimal line up.” Black and white, no questions asked.

When you are working from a small set of alternatives, it is more feasible to identify the “perfect set.” But, most companies are working with much larger sets, especially early in the development cycle. A recent example: A client wanted to explore which of 100 potential new flavors should be added to the line. Even if you want to find the best combination of 20 flavors, guess how many possible combinations there are?

Would you believe 536 Quintillion?

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Even if you don’t know what “quintillion” is, you know it’s “a lot.” (In case you are curious, it is: 536,000,000,000,000,000,000.) And, when you are working with a set that voluminous, it is not realistic to assume there is one “best” combination… or one hundred best, or even one thousand best.

Many researchers would immediately recommend TURF for flavor sorts or line optimization. TURF is “Total Unduplicated Reach & Frequency.” TURF essentially looks for combinations that maximize the number of people who would be “reached” by at least one of the available flavors. So, for example, if you have Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream, adding Chocolate Chip probably does not “reach” people who are not already reached by one of those flavors. But, adding Strawberry may be more effective in reaching people who don’t like Chocolate or Vanilla.

There are several potential flaws with TURF. The biggest flaw is that, for many brands, “reach” is maximized with just a handful of the top selling varieties. So, improving reach can be an unrealistic goal.

Still, the right research approach can help to sort through it.

Decision Insight has found an alternative approach that can provide substantially more value.

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Using a series of simple exercises, we can efficiently evaluate a large quantity of products (we’ve tested over 100 products at a time). The output centers around two key components.

First, we conduct “redundancy” analysis looking for statistical associations across varieties. This analysis identifies and groups varieties that are highly duplicated or, in other words, appeal to the same consumers.

This organizational structure provides a framework and one input into the recommendations: by increasing the number of “groups” represented in a recommended assortment, we are maximizing reach.

Then, within each group, all potential varieties are prioritized based on how they perform on a number of key measures. We typically include exercises that measure output such as breadth of appeal, depth of appeal, craveability, substitutability, etc. We can even take it a step further by using Shapley Value Analysis, to understand how much value each individual flavor adds to the line.

The process provides a clear framework for our clients to give every variety a “green light,” “yellow light” or “red light.” Ultimately, operational factors can be combined with the consumer insights to begin to narrow down the set.

Contact Leslie to learn more about the research outcomes and real-world implications.

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Mobil vs. Mobile. The “e” that easily explains everything.

It’s funny how the mind works – especially memory. For example, every now and then, I pause and think, “mobil” research or “mobile” research? The “e” just doesn’t look correct to me. In my mind, Mobile is a city in Alabama or a hanging artwork.

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“Mobil,” on the other hand, just feels right to me. The truth is “Mobil” had a head start and lot of marketing help. Since the 1920s Mobil without the “e” has actually been an oil company. It’s not even a real word in the English dictionary. So, why do I struggle with the spelling of “mobile” every single time I write it? Because the once ubiquitous Mobil gas station sign is etched in my memory, patiently waiting for a subtle cue to mess with me.

It doesn’t take much to mess with our minds. We picture our best selves as very observant with razor-sharp memories. But, if all of our research studies at Decision Insight have taught me anything, it’s that 1. We are NOT observant; and, 2. We do NOT have great memories.

That’s why context in research is so crucial.

Since the late 1990′s, Decision Insight has concentrated on simulating the true context of real decision-making processes, including the context of the retail environment and the context of a truly representative competitive choice set. This is why DI’s research correlates so well with actual consumer behavior.

When we created this foundation, we leveraged the technology then available on the Internet… which, hard to imagine, was in its fresh-faced infancy in the late 90′s. We opted not to just take traditional research tools and practices and put them online. Instead we rolled up our sleeves and truly leveraged the immense power of the online space and created our ShopperIQ® suite of research products, a proprietary suite of research techniques and applications specifically developed for an online platform. For DI clients that have used ShopperIQ, the business benefit has been cost-effective research results that often predict real world consumer behavior in the 90%+ range.

Today we’re entering a new research era: Mobile research.

There are two factors to consider when understanding the move to mobile research.

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First, as the population continues to migrate and jounce from desktops and laptops to tablets and smartphones, there becomes a desire and a need for mobile research to reach a representative sample of the population. This may not be entirely necessary today and likely won’t be mission critical in the very-near future, but as predictive researchers we need to be acutely aware and pragmatically prepared.

Second, it’s helpful to remember and understand that — much like the transition from traditional to online research in the ’90s — the most accurate (and likely most successful) consumer research companies will learn to leverage the specific benefits of new mobile research platforms, as opposed to simply morphing existing research approaches.

Which conveniently brings us back to the “e” in mobile that torments my mind! The potential power of mobile research is that it promises to allow us to gain insights from respondents WITHOUT the need for us to rely on their unreliable memories.

Instead, we can capture them “in the moment.”

Beyond simple experience/satisfaction questions, there are several applications that can benefit from the power of immediacy using a mobile platform. Today, DI’s MobileIQ suite includes:

  • Trip Missions: What are reasons for channel/store selection and category/brand selection?
  • Ethnography/Path to Purchase: When/How do consumers decide when/where to shop for products?
  • Ethnography/Consumption Diaries: When/How do consumers use products?
  • Findability: How easy is it for shoppers to find brands/products in the store?
  • Merchandising/POS Awareness & Evaluation: What do shoppers notice in the store? What do they like/dislike?
  • Barriers to Purchase: Why are your products not making the shopper’s basket when they are in the aisle?
  • Concept testing: How interested are shoppers in a new product concept (while they are shopping that particular product category)? What would it replace (or would it be incremental)?

For each of these applications, the ability for respondents to use pictures, video and text messaging adds potentially rich texture to the specific objective learnings. And, of course, the fact that the research is “in the moment” ultimately means that DI and our clients do not have to rely on respondents’ well-intentioned but unreliable memories!

By the way, didn’t Mobil have a blue flying unicorn in their logo, or was that a red flying horse?

Contact Leslie Downie for more information and a demonstration.

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Behavioral Economics: Understanding Your Shopper and How Price Impacts Behavior

Thinking, Fast and Slow 

In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman contends that humans have two types of mental processing: System 1 and System 2.

System 1 thinking is our fast, automatic, intuitive mode (often sub-conscious). If we ask you, “what is 2 + 2?” you are using your System 1 thinking to answer. There is no “processing.” You recognize the solution from years of experience.

On the other hand, System 2 thinking is slow, deliberate, analytical… and conscious. If we ask you, “what is 17 X 24?” you can come up with the correct response. But, you need to use System 2 thinking to get there.

Kahneman posits that humans default to System 1 thinking. We don’t like to make our brains work!

When people shop, Kahneman’s theory helps to explain many dynamics.

Shopping, Fast & Slow 

As marketers, we would like to believe that shoppers are heavily “invested” in our brands. We picture them standing at the aisle, reading all of our compelling copy on the package and thoughtfully processing each of our benefits relative to competitive choices.

But, shoppers don’t want to work that hard. Instead, they look for simple cues that bring associations to their mind. And, often, this is done sub-consciously (via System 1 thinking).

That is why branding and packaging is so important. A brand will bring up sub-conscious associations… hopefully, positive associations driven by either past usage or a TV spot they saw or recognition that this is a product that someone in their life has previously used/enjoyed.

Price As a Cue/Association

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Beyond branding and packaging, price plays a key role in offering cues to shoppers. Price promotions work because shoppers want to believe they are getting a deal.

This is often true even when the “deal” price is not the best choice from a value perspective. The fact is shoppers don’t use their System 2 thinking to do the math. Their System 1 thinking associates “promotion” with “bargain,” whether the bargain is real or perceived.

There are many examples that support this:

    • Club stores succeed largely based on the premise that shoppers associate “bulk” buying with “bargain” shopping. If they did the math, shoppers would realize that Club prices are often NOT the best deal. The ideas of “treasure hunting” and convenience certainly play a role in Club, but most Club shoppers would likely be surprised to find out the prices they are paying are not always a better value relative to other channels.
    • JC Penney eschewed price promotions for an everyday low price strategy. Shoppers left, very likely because they didn’t feel they were getting “deals.” Even if the prices were legitimately lower than competitors, shoppers don’t want to take the time to do that math. They want to recognize, with their System 1 processing, that they are getting a price benefit. A price promotion provides that cue/association.

Trading Shoppers Up

Shoppers want a “deal,” and price promotions clearly tell them they are getting a deal without having to do “math.” System 1 thinking generally convinces shoppers that the bargain is there.

One of the advantages for manufacturers (and retailers) is that price promoting LARGER sizes is often just as effective (in terms of converting shoppers) as price-promoting smaller sizes. This means more dollar volume for the brand on deal and the category!

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Using Non-Promoted Price as a Cue

Clearly, price promotions work. But, can you reduce trade spend and still use price as a lever to increase sales?

By tying price with SIZE, brands can communicate several positive messages.

For example, brands can reduce size to allow for a lower absolute price point. When brands are not on deal, the lowest absolute price point can incent purchase.

Or, brands can often sustain a price increase when it is tied to a weight up… as long as the benefit of a “now larger size” is clearly communicated. Just like a price promotion signifies a “deal,” so does a tangible benefit like a larger size.

For many clients, we are testing multiple variations of pack size and price to identify the combination that maximizes penetration and dollar volume. The key is that these alternatives are tested in a virtual shopping platform that simulates the context of channel and competitive set. This allows us to identify the impact of variations on actual behavior… NOT stated intent that forces respondents to use System 2 thinking (when we know that in real life, they are using System 1 thinking!).

You can read more about our process here or contact us to learn more! leslie@decisioninsight.com.

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Today’s Retail Conundrum

If you are developing retail strategies, you are facing a frightening conundrum:

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If you don’t listen to your shoppers…
you are doomed to fail!

If you do listen to your shoppers…
you are doomed to fail!

“Doomed to fail” means: you haven’t simplified the shopping experience for shoppers and/or you haven’t optimized sales for the retailer or your key brands.

If you DON’T listen to your shoppers…

You might be developing solutions based largely on market structure data. Market structure data typically looks at product characteristics (e.g. brand, form, flavor/variety) that shoppers purchase together. Market structure models assume relationships based on co-purchases of products over time.

While this input can be valuable, it is product-driven… not shopper-driven. Often, products may be purchased by the same household, but they meet very different needs. Without explicit shopper feedback, there is no way to be sure product-driven market structures can generate category solutions that actually simplify the shopping experience.

Even worse… you may be developing retail solutions based purely on gut feel without any shopper feedback OR supporting data.

If you DO listen to your shoppers…

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You might be developing solutions based on what shoppers claim they want. The notion of (and the benefits of) listening to your shoppers/consumers has been firmly ingrained in our collective psyche since our introductory marketing courses. And, we just described the danger in NOT listening to your shoppers when developing retail solutions.

But, what the shopper WANTS is not always what is best for the retailer or for the manufacturer. There are many examples of retail solutions that maximize shopper satisfaction at the expense of category and brand sales.

Integrating the needs of the shopper, the manufacturer and the retailer

The trick is finding the balance between shopper needs and brand/category needs. Finding a solution that simplifies the shopping experience AND optimizes category sales. That starts with developing potential solutions that are SHOPPER-driven… not just product-driven. Solutions then need to be tested before going to market. DI regularly helps clients measure the behavioral impact of these strategies to optimize shopper perceptions, satisfaction, shoppability, AND sales.

Using shopper insights to develop arrangement and assortment solutions: Decision Insight’s CDT Solution

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Again, market structures can inform product affinities/relationships based on scanner data. But, it is important to get beyond the shoppers’ basket, and into their minds! In other words, don’t just assume implicit brand and product relationships based on basket analysis. Instead, ask shoppers explicitly to develop their own definition of brand/product relationships and delve into their decision-making process.

Decision Insight’s CDT process:

  • Captures data at the "moment of truth" within the context of a shopping experience
  • Asks shoppers for their own interpretation of brand and product relationships
  • Asks shoppers what products are substitutable with each other
  • Combines quantitative learnings with qualitative support
  • The process provides strong direction on arrangement, assortment, and white space opportunities.

    Closing the loop: ensuring the solutions benefit the shopper, the manufacturer and the retailer

    It is imperative that retailers make the shopping experience easy and enjoyable. Aisle assortments and arrangements based on CDTs or other shopper-driven processes can accomplish that goal. But, that cannot come at the expense of sales for the retailer or key manufacturers. Our experience is that many shopper-preferred aisle solutions unintentionally damage sales.

    So, it is critical to test aisle solutions to understand the behavioral impact before implementing in the marketplace.

    This can be done quickly and cost efficiently with Decision Insight’s ShopperIQ suite of virtual shopping research solutions. This allows you to identify solutions that satisfy shoppers while also maximizing sales.

    Want to learn more or discuss your business issue? Please contact Leslie Downie at leslie@decisioninsight.com or call 800-800-2124 x215.

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    Join us at the Insight Innovation Exchange North America conference in Philadelphia, June 17-19, 2013. With the insight function changing so fast, this show presented by Greenbook should be exciting!We’re exhibiting and Cathy will be speaking in the expert panel session below.

    EXPERT PANEL: AGILE INNOVATION AS A BUSINESS IMPERATIVE by Rachel Dreyfus, Cathy Allin, Bryan Dorsey, Jennifer Salkeld Nelson

    The pace of change is accelerating. Moore’s Law seems to apply across the board, and the curve is getting steeper. Agile innovation is the way to move quickly to not just adapt, but to get ahead of the curve. It’s not an option; it’s a survival imperative. This panel of experts will discuss how they have built agile innovation into their organizational structure, and how they leverage the ability to quickly adapt and respond to competitive advantage.

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    Shopper Technology is Key

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    Whether your shoppers are using new technologies or not (most are!), you are falling behind your competitors if you are not leveraging technology to better understand your consumers’ shopping behavior!

    The Shopper Technology Institute can help you identify the best tools available. Their new book, The Essentials of Shopper Technology, provides an overview of what is available. And, they feature Decision Insight.

    The book provides a basic landscape of shopper and consumer research technology today, including the use of virtual environments. Using these environments, we can effectively engage consumers, identify what motivates shoppers, and better understand decision-making at the shelf. Our virtual process is featured in chapter 11: Using Virtual Environments to Measure Shopper Behavior.

    From our chapter, “Virtual shopping research is effective because it is based on observing shopper behavior rather than asking shoppers what they would do. People often do not do what they say they would do. This behaviorally-based approach relies on providing the appropriate context (the retail store) so the results replicate what happens in market. Validation studies prove it: virtual shopping shares correlate very highly with in-market shares. Because of this, many retailers readily accept virtual shopping results and implement new programs without needing an in-store test.”

    Preview the chapter here. The book is available for order online.

    Decision Insight has created ShopperIQ®, our suite of virtual-shopper research solutions, to help address important in-store questions. In a nutshell, ShopperIQ helps create the right shopper experience, the right mix of products, at the right price, at the right time, and at the right place. Whether it’s arrangement, assortment, pricing, packaging or in-store communications, ShopperIQ is a proven way to predict the impact of shopper marketing programs at retail. Want to learn more or discuss your business issue? Please contact Leslie Downie at leslie@decisioninsight.com.

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    The Shopper Technology Institute is the only trade organization focused on strategies, tactics, technologies and solutions that engage shoppers, analyze their behavior, and enable trading partners to improve their operations

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    When Shoppers are Engaged, Retailers Win

    Anheuser-Busch InBev understands that today’s shopper is shopping multiple channels, forcing retailers to compete both within and across channels.

    For AB InBev, Decision Insight used our virtual shopper research suite, Shopper IQ®, to address these important issues:

    1

    For Grocery: Can beer be sold in an Ambient/Shelf Stable section without losing sales? When asking consumers if they want to buy beer at room-temperature, conventional wisdom would expect a resounding: “No” – which is why traditional research may have resulted in a recommendation to not sell beer in an Ambient (non-refrigerated) format. DI virtual shopping research demonstrated that although no consumer may say they want warm beer, there is no downside (and a significant sales upside) to offering it.

    2

    For Drug: AB InBev was considering merchandising options to impact beer purchase patterns, including a costly space expansion from two to five cooler doors and a secondary beer display location within the store. What was the optimal solution?
    Though AB InBev would prefer 5 doors, they found that Two-Doors + Endcap Display increases sales significantly and heightens awareness as well. This solution also has the benefit of allowing easy implementation for the retailer – avoiding costly build-out or extensive rearrangements to expand the store’s cooler door section.

    3

    For Mass: One-in-four of the Mass Merchandiser’s primary shoppers did not realize the retailer sold beer. How could signage improve this scenario?
    Through virtual shopping research, DI demonstrated that by adding signage alone, consideration of Grocery increases by 10%. Further, adding a Beer Endcap on the Carbonated Soft Drink aisle increased beer sales by 10%.

    Read more about the AB InBev virtual shopping case study by requesting it here.

    Across all channels, AB InBev found that it’s important to involve both the retail customer and the shopper. Engaging the retail customer from joint program development to communicating winning insights. Involving the shopper during program development ensures that their needs will be met, resulting in increased category growth and shopper loyalty.

    Learn how DI and our virtual shopper suite, Shopper IQ, can be put to work for you. Contact Leslie Downie at leslie@decisioninsight.com.