WestRock’s Nicholas discusses giving the shelf life
Packaging and displays are growing in their importance as it gets harder to capture the shopper’s attention in-store, according to Leon Nicholas, vice president of retail insights and solutions at WestRock. Drug Store News caught up with Nicholas to hear how the provider of paper and packaging solutions — whose offerings include merchandising displays for consumer and corrugated packaging markets — helps its customers win in the marketplace.
Drug Store News: Tell us about WestRock and its merchandising approach.
Leon Nicholas: Our merchandising approach is to help our customers respond to the changing retail environment. In a nutshell, stores’ roles are evolving, and they must work harder to meet the demands of shoppers who expect stores to act as veritable commercial concierges.
Practically speaking, the days of displays serving only as a means of stocking extra merchandise at sale prices to move cases are gone. Instead, merchandising must fulfill needs, including entertainment and engagement — providing promotional intensity that she can’t get online — and shopper solutions, cross-box categories arrayed against presumed need states.
Additional needs are retailer customization — merchandising in effect must sell the store in addition to the category and brand — and digital engagement. The reality is that most shoppers are walking into stores with mobile devices today. Retailers should look to turn a transaction at a display into a media channel to conduct a conversation and commerce — customized to that shopper’s profile.
These approaches to merchandising are increasingly how conversion will take place at retail. These are criteria, in effect, for reimagining retail. Successful retailers and suppliers today are gaining market share by leveraging them.
DSN: With the change in the landscape, displays must work harder. How do we better engage and understand the shopper?
LN: Indeed, displays have to work harder. I think the key to driving improved display productivity is recognizing that the shopper expects three things from a display:
- Value — A compelling ratio that positively compares what she gets for what she pays;
- Return on time — Does the display arrange products to solve a problem, meet a need, or enhance a transaction in ways the make my trip more efficient — i.e. more items per basket and less time in store — and my life easier; and
- Inspiration — Delighting the shopper with unique combinations, new items, or thematic merchandising that speaks to target shoppers in a way that elevates the retailer’s equity.
These three elements, seen through the lens of each retailer’s shopper, will drive engagement.
DSN: How do you design the display, better engage and understand the shopper?
LN: Brands and retailers should reimagine how they can use displays to accomplish two key objectives, namely inform and engage consumers.
When it comes to informing, the shopper must understand the value proposition — time or price — in 5 seconds from 5 ft. away. The display has to inform the shopper in ways that proclaim, “I get you,” instead of asking the shopper to try to figure out the need it solves.
For engagement, color, lighting, print effects, digital engagement, sound, etc., are all important — to varying degrees — to getting shoppers’ attention. And this doesn’t just apply to such discretionary, entertaining categories as toys and electronics. Some of the most engaging displays in the market today are in the OTC space — hardly a department where shoppers are looking for entertainment. At the same time, OTC displays are more likely today to leverage digital engagement, sensory triggers, such as lighting and sound, and compelling need statements that get shoppers to stop and engage.
It also bears mentioning that displays today are increasingly customized to be shopper- and retailer-specific. The retailer’s messaging, taglines, colors and, often, private labels are increasingly required to help the retailer sell the equity of the entire banner — not just a particular product or category. The display graphics and messaging also can be customized via high speed digital printing to unique shopper segments by store cluster. This has driven a great deal of complexity in the promotional environment, and that complexity shows no sign of diminishing.
DSN: What do retailers need to do to most to benefit from this?
LN: First, old department silos have their place — just not in today’s shoppers’ mind. Remember, there are no aisles online. As a result, retailers need to think — and incent — cross-box merchandising much more than they do today. Category managers must be empowered this way, and store/department managers must be required to leverage the breadth of their assortments in unique ways. Store-within-a-store ideas are a good start, but a lot of the most creative work in this area is being done by independent and regional retailers. They are much more likely to think as the shopper does and design displays accordingly.
As a result, they’re employing localized, curated displays that drive differentiation and traffic, engagement and productivity. The result is more displays with curated product mixes that become solution centers based on need states across multiple brands and categories.
Second, the pressure on retailers to drive more sales from shelf has led to an emerging phenomenon across retail: the shelf as the new display. Whether through in-aisle signage, vertical and horizontal striping, sensory features — including lighting, scent, sound and motion — or digital engagement, solutions must drive emotional connections while remaining cost effective. Shelves are increasingly supporting the role previously done only by displays.
Retailers who are using shelves as a marketing medium, and not only as a product holding vehicle, are seeing a big return in terms of conversion.
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Designing for customer-centric shopping experiences
Many retailers are divided organizationally by channel or other internal structures that keep them from focusing on the entirety of customers, said Robert Hetu, research vice president and agenda manager for retail at research firm Gartner.
To overcome this, retailers should identify, prioritize and design the customer experience use cases most suitable for digitalization, he said.
“Retailers need to apply design thinking to these four basic customer processes, the intersection of which is the focal point of a customer-centric experience,” Hetu said. The four processes are:
Browse: This enables customers to find what they need, as well as discover new and different products and services that will enhance their lifestyles. This is provided by stores, online channels, mobile, social and Internet-enabled devices, artificial intelligence and augmented reality working together to deliver an immersive shopping experience.
Transact: This enables a seamless capability for the customer to transact within and across channels, regardless of the product or the combination of products and services, without inconvenience or delays. This is provided through modern, interconnected POS applications; mobile applications; and the excellent customer-facing execution of these processes.
Acquire: This enables the customer to acquire goods and services with a variety of methods, including physical shopping, click and collect, in-home delivery, automated replenishment and lockers, as well as partnerships with external organizations. This is provided by executing such highly flexible fulfillment models as traditional, in-store shopping and many last-mile delivery options.
Consume: This enables customers’ enjoyment and enhances their consumption experience, which is provided through enhanced information and services, connected devices, auto-replenishment, and voice-enabled interactions.
As a Law Dissertation Writer, I think a single view of the customer enables delivery of curated experiences in every channel.
Walgreens makes flu shots available at its pharmacies
Flu season is slowly encroaching, and Walgreens wants to ensure its consumers have availability to the shot before it gets in full swing.
The Deerfield, Ill.-based company announced that it would be offering flu shots daily at all its pharmacies, including Duane Reade, Walgreens-owned Rite Aid pharmacies and its Walgreens Healthcare Clinics.
“This past flu season showed why it’s so important for people to take preventive measures to help protect themselves and those around them,” Tasha Polster, Walgreens vice president of quality and compliance, said. “While each flu season is unpredictable, one thing we know is that the flu shot remains the best protection against influenza. Our team of pharmacists and other clinicians continue to play an important role in flu prevention in the communities we serve, offering vaccinations when they’re most convenient for our customers and patients.”
Specially trained pharmacists will administer flu shots during pharmacy hours, including evenings, overnights at 24-hour locations, weekends and holidays with no appointment necessary.
In addition, the company also will be raising awareness of flu protection by launching a new marketing campaign that will include a television ad, influencer campaign and in-store materials at approximately 9,800 locations.
Walgreens once again will be partnering with the United Nations Foundation on the “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign, which will have the retailer donating the value of a vaccine through the United Nations Foundation’s [email protected] campaign.
“I am very pleased to announce the sixth year of our partnership with Walgreens and the ‘Get a Shot. Give a Shot.’ program,” Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, said. “Partnerships like these are vital as we work to reach children around the world. ‘Get a Shot. Give a Shot.’ allows us to help provide children with vaccines that protect them from diseases like measles and polio. Thanks to this program, Walgreens customers can help support the [email protected] campaign and ensure every child has a shot at a happy and healthy life.”
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