Business Objective: Teams from both a large snack foods manufacturer and a national retailer wanted to plan and execute a successful snacks category reset. But they needed a strategy that would allow them to efficiently collaborate and iterate on concepts, saving time and reducing unnecessary costs before going to market.  Dollar_General_snack_center

Business Functions Impacted:
Category Management
Merchandising
Space Planning
Buyer

Business Situation: A major snack foods manufacturer and a large national retailer wanted to execute a category reset, but were looking for a better way to learn how different arrangements would resonate with shoppers. They needed to be able to seamlessly communicate new ideas and collaborate on the execution.

They turned to InContext Solutions' enterprise mixed reality platform, ShopperMX™, to help in the planning and activation of the reset, allowing them to work faster, visualize new ideas and gain better insights all before investing in any physical store changes. Using ShopperMX™ Indicators, the manufacturer and the retailer were able to test the impact of two different shelf concepts on real shoppers, to get a quick read before taking anything to market—mitigating risk and improving collaboration between merchant, vendor and space management teams.

ShopperMX™ Approach & Analysis

The teams were able to simultaneously visualize new concepts in the context of a virtual store using ShopperMX™, before committing to testing. By leveraging the cloud-based platform, both the manufacturer and retailer could make changes to concepts in real time and see them reflected in the virtual mockups.

They decided on two different winning arrangements to evaluate. For each of the two different category reset concepts, the brand and retailer leveraged ShopperMX™ Indicators to test:

  • Sales Impact – including impact on category, manufacturer, brand and product performance in terms of units, dollars, penetration and buy-rate.
  • Shopper Impact – including reporting satisfaction, likeability and preference to shop.

Through these quick, iterative virtual tests, the teams were able to learn that one set performed determinedly better in terms of driving a higher buy rate at both the category and sub-category level. Satisfaction, likeability and preference-to-shop feedback also aligned well with the behavioral performance, strengthening the recommendation to move forward with that set. 

Customer ROI & Best Practice

With ShopperMX™, the merchant, vendor and space management teams were able to seamlessly collaborate and iterate on the planning and testing of new category reset concepts. ShopperMX™ eliminated the typical back and forth process, and created a virtual space where everyone’s ideas were heard and communication was simple and efficient—resulting in a winning category reset that benefited both retailer and manufacturer.

The overall results supported previous category analysis, providing validation for virtual testing and confidence around future in market results. In addition to identifying the optimal layout overall, the manufacturer identified the layout, as well as packages and brands, that resonated best with a key shopper segment, confirming that results with the target shopper were consistent with total respondents.

Additionally, testing was completed in just 5 business days through the use of ShopperMX™ Indicators, saving the teams nearly six months of additional time, labor and cost that would normally go into a traditional research study. By testing with real shoppers before investing in store changes for quantitative and subjective decisions, they mitigated risk and learned valuable insights for future concept iterations.