New technology pushes battery category to change

Drug chains use extra battery displays in aisles with battery-operated products to anticipate buyers’ needs.

The holidays prompted many drug chains to link batteries with seasonal and emerging product categories, but taking advantage of those opportunities throughout the year may require more expansive merchandising.

Battery centers remain the real focal point of battery merchandising. Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger noted that the company provides a specific place where consumers can go and conveniently find exactly the battery they need. “The space allotted has grown, but it’s all centralized and labeled well in the battery center,” Elfinger said.

Yet, as the battery category changes, drug chains are reconsidering their presentations. Rite Aid has reworked planograms as consumer preferences have evolved, developing secondary displays and considering ways to accommodate emerging product preferences for such items as environmentally friendly batteries.

Duracell, for one, supports seasonal sales in a multifaceted promotional approach. “We think it’s important to drive consistent touch points that the consumer will recognize through TV, media and PR events,” said brand spokesman Kurt Iverson. “Our point-of-sale information, on-pack tags and sweepstakes opportunities in-pack help the retailer play a part in the excitement.”

The holidays provide a kind of template for seasonal battery promotions going forward, Iverson said. “It’s great to have extra battery displays near the items where batteries are the heart of the device. Making batteries visible at the check-out also can jog the consumer’s memory.”

Energizer emphasizes end-cap sets as the best place to remind consumers of their battery needs. “Energizer Batteries are a prompted purchase, meaning shoppers are reminded of their need for them when they see the product or the product cues like the Energizer Bunny,” said Lou Martire, VP trade development.

The battery market has changed as rechargeable devices such as the iPod have eclipsed some high-drain devices, such as the Walkman.

“As items become more and more high-tech, consumers require more batteries. This is why our brand and messaging about delivering ‘More Power for Your Money’ has been so successful,” said Rayovac spokeswoman Melissa Layton.

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