Successful stores are those that maximise their communication channels, writes Danielle Pinnington
As any consumer will tell you, they shop with their eyes. This means every aspect of layout, range, merchandising and packaging communicates something to shoppers who choose to visit the store. Unfortunately, this fact is often overlooked by businesses that operate in the retail space.
Each time a shopper makes a purchase, they have potentially been exposed to a series of triggers or barriers to purchase. The aim of a good retailer, or a brand owner operating in retail, is to create as many triggers to purchase as possible, and reduce the barriers that exist in-store or at the category. All too often, however, the decisions affecting the store environment are made from a business perspective, with little if any consideration of shopper needs:
– Easier and quicker shelf replenishment was the start point for the development of RRP, yet if a shopper sees RRP that is basic brown cardboard they are likely to assume the company can’t be bothered to make an effort with decent design work. And if the company can’t be bothered to make an effort for their brand, why would the shopper bother to make the effort to buy it?
– Using consistent packaging across quite different product formats might save production costs, but could confuse the shopper and lead them to pick up completely the wrong product… How many times have you bought conditioner when you thought it was shampoo? And how irritated did it make you?!
Without a basic understanding of the shopper perspective, there’s a strong possibility that those decisions will at best miss an opportunity to positively influence the shopper, and at worst risk communicating negatively with the shopper. In simplistic terms there are three communication roles that the materials you place in-store can play within the shopping process:
– Navigation: to locate the category, appropriate segment or individual product
– Attraction: to remind or prompt, to inform or inspire
– Persuasion: to convince the shopper – turning consideration into purchase
If these factors are incorporated in the design process, then the resulting materials are more likely to resonate with and therefore influence shoppers, to the benefit of your brand. Although, you’ll need a clear view of the shopper needs specific to your category, and channel, in order to make the most of the opportunity. For example:
– If the category currently suffers from navigational issues, then think about how the packaging or POS can be designed to highlight key segments within a range, so that shoppers can easily identify the correct area of the fixture, or their intended purchase
– If the brand suffers from lack of standout on shelf, then POS could deliver a short term fix
– If the category or brand needs to highlight the differences within the range to encourage purchase consideration, then showing the core benefit on front of pack, RRP or POS will better influence shoppers
All the materials within the store environment offer businesses an opportunity to engage with shoppers in-store at the moment of truth. But in order to maximise that communication opportunity, businesses need to understand how their message will be received and responded to. That is why it is important to use shopper insight to, better recognise how people shop, not simply just what they buy. Such a level of understanding will identify the role that packaging, POS, display units and theatre can play in creating a positive purchase environment, and facilitating successful purchase journeys. As a result, business building KPIs can be incorporated into the design briefs to ensure the best ROI.