Provided by Andrew Arnold, senior insights director at Shopper Intelligence New Zealand.  

"Going to the supermarket is called many things, many of them with negative connotations – a chore, a stressful experience, a necessary evil – yet its something we all have to do. Even with the rise of online shopping, the regular pilgrimage to go and fill the fridge is still something that an overwhelming number of Kiwis do week in week out. So if we do this so often, and with many openly admitting that it's not the most enjoyable hour or so of their lives, why are we not asking for better stores, better layouts and better shopping experiences to make this time a little bit more enjoyable? Turns out, we are.

Price Is King, But Other Things Are Getting More Important

At Shopper Intelligence, we survey Kiwis on a wide range of aspects of the overall shopping experience. In amongst all the metrics that get produced is a series of importance scores. This tells us how much importance Kiwi shoppers place on things like Price, Promotions, Availability, Layouts and much more when doing their Grocery shop. What these scores are telling us is that Price is the most important factor for shoppers, but it is declining in importance over the past couple of years. What is also apparent is that in-store execution factors are becoming much more important to the shopper, and therefore much more important for the retailer to get right to satisfy their shoppers. Dissatisfied shoppers lead directly to lost sales as these shoppers seek out better shopping experiences elsewhere, so retailers need to keep on top of these trends to ensure they win the race.

Shoppers Want Ease Of Shop

This apparent trend is telling us that more than ever before, shoppers want their shopping experience to be easy. To not be frustrating. To be enjoyable. But there are a lot of factors at play here, it's not just that simple to say, “improve the in-store shopping experience and your shoppers will be happy” and voila, job done. First, you must understand what factors the shoppers are specifically asking to be improved, what categories these need to be prioritised for, and what role these categories play in the overall make-up of the store. There will also be differences between retailers – some categories will be done really well in certain retailers but maybe not in others. We can help you understand all of this and more, down to segment and even brand level, and help you develop plans of action to improve the store experience for your shoppers.

Layout Vs Location Vs Availability

There are several aspects of Instore Execution that shoppers get frustrated with, and these vary by category in terms of that level of frustration. In many categories, just finding where it is located in-store can be very difficult. Stores are generally laid out in a logical flow, but sometimes categories get lost in the mix and aren’t located where the shopper would expect to find them – for example, energy drinks are a beverage, but many times they are located away from Juices, Carbonated Soft Drinks and Water on their own. Then there is the shelf layout – this needs to reflect the way the shopper shops the category. Is brand more important, or is segment the way to go? Good/better/best? If this doesn’t match the way shoppers view the category, then you get the frustrated shopper standing in the front of the fixture trying in vain to find their product. Linked to this is the concept of availability. If the shopper can’t find the product they want, it doesn’t matter one little bit to them if the product was actually in stock or not. They couldn’t see it in a confusing shelf layout; therefore it wasn’t there – and therefore, that’s a lost sale. Our scores on availability can also point to a simple issue with OOS, but more often than you would think it’s just that a poor layout led the shopper to believe the product wasn’t there. Alleviating shopper frustration with the in-store shopping experience is hugely important and can make a massive difference to your bottom line. Drop us a line to see how we can help."

Shopper Intelligence interviews over 100,000 shoppers in Australia and over 40,000 shoppers in New Zealand across the Supermarket, P&C and Traditional Liquor channels in order to drive strategic shopper-led commercial decisions at retailer, category, segment and brand levels. If you want to understand your shoppers better, contact Andrew Arnold, Insights Director at Shopper Intelligence New Zealand at andrew.arnold@shopperintelligence.co.nz .