Despite an incessant push to make supply chains more efficient, there is still little cohesion between consumer goods packagers, shelving systems producers, and store operations teams.
Despite an incessant push to make supply chains more efficient, there is still little cohesion between consumer goods packagers, shelving systems producers, and store operations teams. Yet it is their work that forms the structure of the selling floor and the simplicity (or complexity) shoppers encounter at the shelf.
The more collaboration, the easier the purchase decisions, the more visible brands and items become, the more productive the planograms, and the more compelling the store destinations, we believe at The Lempert Report. The family planning section is a rare example where similar package sizes by competing manufacturers conform to shelving systems at retailers’ request. Pet foods and bottled waters are headed this way too. And certain manufacturers such as Campbell’s, McCormick’s and Malt-O-Meal have designed merchandisers that suit the physical configuration of their categories seamlessly.
We’d like to stir more movement in this direction because we also see other trends that could culminate in more powerful planograms: Environmental packaging has led to water removal in detergent containers, and denser shapes in pasta and cereal boxes, for instance. SKU rationalization leads to less stocking time per category, and greater focus on the products that actually sell through. Of course, more sophisticated use of shopper insights and shopper marketing also help refine planograms and promotional displays.
The Lempert Report discussed these trends and others with Paul Waldron, director of category management, and Stephen Cole, chief marketing officer, of Gladson Interactive. “Retailers want conformance. They’re taking greater control of their shelves. And they want shelves to look full with maximum packout, because aesthetics are still a huge part of merchandising,” says Waldron.
Retailers are “very concerned about the shopping experiences in their stores, and shoppers’ ability to maximize value on each trip,” notes Cole. As a result, they have reset categories to make eating at home healthier and easier, and they play up private label and value brands, he adds: “Retailers are finding better ways to satisfy their shoppers and maximize revenues from each square foot of shelf space.”
The next trend to evolve will be store-specific planograms, agreed the two Gladson executives. This will be driven by improvements in software and analysis of each store’s sales patterns and shopper demographics. They call it “the next step up from clustering…recognizing the uniqueness within each store.”
The Lempert Report endorses these positive trends, and would like see them accelerated. There’s no substitute for a powerful presentation, and few disappointments greater than shoppers having difficulty finding what they want. Good news stories don’t happen every day, but this is one.