InContext Solutions helped a personal care client pause their move toward needs-based merchandising by highlighting execution challenges the retailer would need to address.

Our client uncovered an opportunity to make shopping more engaging by rearranging the shelf and adding navigational signage. Typically, products in this category are grouped the on shelf by brand.

he tested approach grouped products together that fulfilled the same need. Signage would be added to each “need-based” shelf section to help customers.

Study Design
InContext Solutions designed a virtual store to understand :
  • Which arrangement improved shoppability of the category?
  • Which arrangement generated the most category and key brand sales?

  • Drive category sales while avoiding any negative impact on sales of key brands.
  • Ensure optimal findability of all products on the shelf.
  • Understand overall shopper reactions to the shoppability of the new planogram layout.

Key Findings

In this virtual store study, the total category and several key brands experienced significant unit and dollar losses with the new layout. 

The need-based layout was not driving sales. Rather, the position on the shelf increased in importance, partly due to new – but confusing – signage at the top.    



As a result, our client opted to remain with the benchmark brand-blocked shelf layout, and went back to the drawing board to refine their approach to executing the need-based merchandising. 


Conducting this study as virtual over in-store research saved the client significant budget and effort, and helped them identify the need to rethink their needs-based approach to ensure its success.