Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

The Consumer Lab is the consumer insights and brand strategy group at Alcone Marketing Group, a consumer activation company.

Sampling, Coupons Influential in Cereal Shopping: Survey

The survey, “Marketing
Communications Last Frontier: Reaching the Shopper at Retail,” by TNS Brand and
Communications, found that in-store flyers, end aisle displays and display
racks also ranked in the top quartile as having the most impact.


Sampling, Coupons Influential in Cereal Shopping: Survey
When it comes to reaching shoppers, in-store samples, package ads and coupons are influential, according to a recent survey.


Filed under: Consumer, CPG, In Store, sampling

Wal-Mart says company winning more affluent shoppers

Wal-Mart’s emphasis
on low prices is keeping lower-income customers loyal and attracting more
affluent shoppers who usually spend elsewhere, according to Eduardo
Castro-Wright, CEO of the retailer’s U.S. division. He hopes to keep those
customers once the economy turns around by capturing their imagination with the
“store experience.”


Wal-Mart says company winning more affluent shoppers –
More affluent customers are shopping at Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) during the economic slump and a company executive said Tuesday that the retailer is in position to keep those shoppers when the economy improves.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, told a New York gathering of analysts at a Lehman Bros. retail conference that the company’s emphasis on low prices is keeping lower-income customers loyal and attracting more affluent shoppers who usually spend elsewhere.

Filed under: Consumer, economy, In Store, shopping

Loving Leftovers: Food Prices Change The Way Americans Eat

Everything seems to be getting more expensive these days. People are cutting back on driving to save on gas, people are eating out and shopping less. Another way the slowing economy is changing consumer behavior is in the way they eat. A recent study from the NPD Group shows that consumers are eating leftovers more often – especially people who are feeling the financial crunch.

Loving Leftovers: Food Prices Change The Way Americans Eat – 04/18/2008

Bring on the casseroles and the leftovers. It turns out that the steep increases in food prices are changing the way Americans shop, cook and eat.

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Filed under: Consumer, diet, economy, food, In Store

Couch to Supermarket: Connecting Dots –

Websites have done a lot with tracking people’s interests with the sites they visit and the purchases they make. Because of this fact, they have quite a leg up in the information sector when compared to TV advertising. Now, a new media research company – TRA is attempting to solve this issue with cable boxes that measure viewership and matching that data with purchase data from grocery-store chains.

Couch to Supermarket: Connecting Dots –

Web marketers can easily tell whether a particular consumer visited a specific site, when she visited, and whether she bought something. But despite a decades-long head start, television advertisers haven’t been as successful connecting the shows people watch to the products they buy.

Now a new media research company, TRA — for “True ROI Accountability for Media” — is taking another crack at the problem. It merges data from people’s cable set-top boxes with consumer-purchase databases, such as the information stores gather from frequent-shopper cards. For instance, a company could see whether households that watched an ad for its toothpaste later bought that brand of toothpaste.

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Filed under: CPG, In Store, Media, shopping

No More Plastic Shopping Bags for Whole Foods

Plastic bags reek havoc on the environment, and current trends show that consumers are ready to curb their use of the super convenient petroleum guzzlers.
Whole Foods store have recently announced that they will discontinue using plastic bags this year. While they will continue to distribute recycled paper bags, they will strongly encourage consumers to purchase their own reusable bags.

GreenBiz News | No More Plastic Shopping Bags for Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market plans to completely phase out plastic grocery bags across the company by late April.

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Filed under: eco-friendly, environment, In Store

Higher Food Prices Start to Pinch Consumers

The biggest jump in food prices in 17 years has forced shoppers to find creative ways to save money.


Higher Food Prices Start to Pinch Consumers –
With the rising cost of milk, eggs, meat and produce contributing to the biggest jump in food prices in 17 years, consumers are starting to feel the pinch.

Some shoppers, already dealing with falling home values and rising fuel costs, are finding creative ways to save, opting for cheaper ingredients and private-label goods and leaning more heavily on discount grocers. And restaurant diners, who have been eating out less frequently, will likely face even higher prices on menus.

Filed under: Consumer, CPG, In Store, living target

Consumer Companies Look For Insights On Shoppers’ Behavior

Nielsen will be teaming up with some big CPG companies on a new project, PRISM – Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric. The project is designed to gain insight into consumer shopping patterns. The study will use infrared sensors and manual counting to understand which areas of a store are most populated and the affects of in-store marketing.
Once the research and analysis are complete, Nielsen will syndicate the data to marketers who want to understand how to better reach consumers in-store. Nielsen intends this research to help develpoers determine how new stores are built.

Consumer Companies Look For Insights On Shoppers’ Behavior

Predicting the number of shoppers likely to pass through the shampoo aisle of a store on a Sunday afternoon isn’t easy.

But a group of consumer suppliers and retailers think they’ve come up with some answers. In the next month or so, a consortium of companies working with Nielsen Co. expect to get their first major chunk of data that measures store traffic.

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Filed under: Consumer, In Store, research

Scent Noses Its Way Into More Ad Efforts

Traditional advertising is no longer enough to get the attention of consumers. In a attempt to lure consumers marketers are trying to catch their attention through sight, sound, and now smell. Scents have been coming out of magazines for as long as I can remember, but now you can run into scent marketing in grocery stores and department stores.

Scent Noses Its Way Into More Ad Efforts –

Starting today, pedestrians on the crowded sidewalks adjacent to Bloomingdale’s New York flagship store may notice a certain fragrance in the air. It won’t be their imagination: to promote Donna Karan’s new perfume DKNY Delicious Night, the retailer will be spraying it into the air.

The effort is an extreme example of a broader marketing trend. After years of bombarding consumers with ads aimed at their eyes and their ears, advertisers are focusing more on the nose — with ads that rely on smell to get attention. Spraying a fragrance into the air isn’t practical for most advertisers. Instead, a growing array of companies — including food and beverage makers and even TV networks — are adopting a technique once reserved for perfume companies: sniff ads in magazines.

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Filed under: Consumer, Fragrance, In Store, sensory marketing

A Virtual View of the Store Aisle

Kimberly-Clark and Others
Track Shoppers in New Ways;
Finding Huggies on the Shelf

October 3, 2007; Page B1

Using a new tool developed by Kimberly-Clark Corp., a woman stood surrounded by three screens showing a store aisle, a retina-tracking device recording her every glance.

Asked by a Kimberly-Clark researcher to find a “big box” of Huggies Natural Fit diapers in size three, she pushed forward on a handle like that of a shopping cart, and the video simulated her progress down the aisle. Spotting Huggies’ red packages, she turned the handle to the right to face a dizzying array of diapers. After pushing a button to get a kneeling view of the shelves, she reached forward and tapped the screen to put the box she wanted in her virtual cart.

A wrap-around screen in Kimberly-Clark’s new studio shows how products look on retailers’ shelves.

Kimberly-Clark hopes these virtual shopping aisles will help it better understand consumer behavior and make the testing of new products faster, more convenient and more precise. The mobile testing unit is usually based in a new high-tech studio that Kimberly-Clark completed in May in the basement of a nondescript office building in Appleton, Wis. The cavernous room also features a U-shaped floor-to-ceiling screen that re-creates in vivid detail interiors of the big retailers that sell the company’s products — a tool that the company will use in presentations to executives in bids to win shelf space. A separate area is reserved for real replicas of store interiors, which can be customized to match the flooring, light fixtures and shelves of retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

As the fragmented television market raises doubts about the effectiveness of traditional ads and competition for shelf space increases, manufacturers and retailers are intensifying their focus on ways to get consumers’ attention while they are in the store.

The efforts go well beyond the usual cardboard displays and sample handouts. Last week, a group including manufacturers Procter & Gamble Co., Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills Inc., and retailers Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart announced the results of a test that tracked shoppers’ movement in stores using a combination of infrared beams and human observation. Next year, Nielsen Co. plans to syndicate such data and sell it to clients, much as it does with television ratings.

A consumer takes a virtual tour down a store aisle.

Procter & Gamble also has invested “significant resources in harnessing the potential of virtual reality to improve the shopping experience,” a company spokesman says. While declining to go into specific applications, the company says it’s using virtual modeling to bring innovation to market more quickly and cost effectively.

Kimberly-Clark says its studio allows researchers and designers to get a fast read on new product designs and displays without having to stage real-life tests in the early stages of development. Doing the research in a windowless basement, rather than an actual test market, also avoids tipping off competitors early in the development process.

“We’re trying to test ideas faster, cheaper and better,” says Ramin Eivaz, a vice president at Kimberly-Clark focusing on strategy. Before, new product testing typically took eight months to two years. Now, that time is cut in half, he says. Projects that test well with the virtual-reality tools will be fast-tracked to real-store trials, Mr. Eivaz says.

Once product-design options have been determined, Kimberly-Clark brings retail executives into the studio so they can see how the new product would actually look on the shelf and fit in with the existing assortment — an important factor in decisions the retailers make on space.

The company declined to reveal how much it spent to build the Appleton studio. “We made a significant investment in the studio and expect it will yield a positive return with our customers in the future,” a spokesman says.

The battle for shelf space is accelerating as consumer-products companies have introduced ever-more new products. Meanwhile, retailers are churning out more of their own private-label products. The rate of new-product launches has grown steadily since 2000, with more than 40,000 new packaged-goods introductions last year, says Tom Vierhile, director of Productscan Online, market-research firm Datamonitor’s database of new products.

To sell retailers on new products, manufacturers are revealing more about their product pipelines to drum up interest early on. Over the past several months, Kimberly-Clark says it has brought in executives from major chains, including Target, Wal-Mart and Kroger, to see the Appleton facility. Kimberly-Clark uses the data from its virtual-reality tests with consumers to tout how products in development perform.

A consumer selects a product after taking a virtual tour of a store aisle.

“It no longer works to show up on a retailer’s doorstep with your new product and say, ‘Isn’t this pretty?'” Mr. Eivaz says. “We need to be an indispensable partner to our retailers and show we can do more for them.”

When grocery chain Safeway Inc. asked its major manufacturers for display suggestions to lift traffic through its center aisles in late 2005, Kimberly-Clark used an early version of the virtual-reality modeling technology it was developing for the new studio to pitch for more room for its Huggies diapers and other baby products. The company created three-dimensional models of a store display that resembled a nursery, complete with a giant, colorful bathtub. The company had consumers navigate the store virtually, testing how easily they could find certain items in the area.

“We hadn’t seen that type of technology applied to that type of traditional merchandising and store decor before,” says Michael Minasi, Safeway’s president of marketing. When it tested the display inside its stores, sales of items in that section increased. Nevertheless, in the end, reality set limits. “Some of the decor and decoration components were easier to do virtually than they were to do in the real world, mostly from a cost and implementation standpoint,” Mr. Minasi says. However, a version of Kimberly-Clark’s concept was put in place at a handful of Safeway stores.

In the store-model section of its new studio, Kimberly-Clark goes to elaborate lengths with its re-creations aimed to impress retail executives. In August, the company readied the studio for visitors from Target. The store’s branded shopping carts were lined up at the doorway, next to a stand holding recent Target sales fliers and a faux ATM. Standing behind a pharmacy counter was a Kimberly-Clark employee outfitted in a lab coat with a Target logo. Target’s standard white tiles covered the floor, its beige light fixtures hung above, and Target store shelves were fully stocked with diapers and other baby products made by Kimberly-Clark and its competitors.

“What if you just spent a lot of money on a package’s shade of red but it doesn’t look good in their store?” says Don Quigley, president of Kimberly-Clark’s consumer sales and customer development, North America. “This is where you can spot that, before you ship a single case of product.”

Price!ess Pricepoints

Filed under: In Store, interactive, pricepoints

At Starbucks, Songs of Instant Gratification

New technology that allows coffee patrons to download the music playing
in Starbucks stores to their iPhones is just the beginning of a wave of
options for impulse purchases.

With this new technology bringing music as an impulse purchase to the coffee-drinking masses, what kinds of other technology-based impulse purchases are on the horizon? What brands would benefit from having this as an option?


At Starbucks, Songs of Instant Gratification – New York Times
Like that song you hear playing at Starbucks, but just cannot wait until you get to a computer to download the song?

Starting tomorrow at certain Starbucks stores, a person with an iPhone
or iTunes software loaded onto a laptop can download the songs they
hear over the speakers directly onto those devices. The price will be
99 cents a song, a small price, Starbucks says, to satisfy an immediate

“For the customer it’s an instant gratification,” said Ken
Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment. “You’ll hear the song,
be able to identify what it is and download to the device.”

Filed under: Consumer, digital, downloads, entertainment, experiential, gadgets, In Store, living target, Mobile, trends

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