CPGmatters: Supervalu Boosts Brands by Re-engineering Center Store
By Dale Buss
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is
a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
it came to the crucial but outmoded center of their stores, Supervalu executives
realized that shoppers were drowning in merchandising messages, price promotions
and other communications — hurting the company’s
CPG suppliers as well as the chain’s own performance.
“We would talk to customers and they would tell us that they didn’t
think the center store was clean,” Shawne Murphy Johnson, Supervalu’s
group vice president of brand strategy and marketing, told CPGmatters. “Then
when we dug into what they meant by that, it wasn’t what you might think;
it wasn’t things like, ‘The floor didn’t look swept.’ They
were actually commenting about the amount of messaging in the center store
and telling us it was way too much, or just confusing. They were feeling ‘over-spoken
Supervalu found shoppers had gotten frustrated by increasingly
dimensional brand promotions that were attached to and hanging from shelves
and that actually made it more difficult for them to access the products themselves.
And some in-store media underperformed. For example, floor graphics would get
dirty by the end of their cycle.
As a result, brand marketers — including
Procter & Gamble and Mars — are
working with Supervalu banners as well as marketing services giant Valassis
to rationalize and reduce signage in the center aisles, emphasize promotional
pricing at the shelf, heighten the effectiveness of brand messaging at point
of purchase, and provide consumers with more relevant and useful information
about the products and how they can be used.
Supervalu worked with Valassis
to come up with three basic types of streamlining and accompanying improvements
in message efficacy.
The first involved signage. Instead of one or two or even
three-dozen different types and sizes of signage in the center store, Supervalu’s
new plan has just two essential iterations. One of them is a four-by-six-inch
sign at shelf’s
edge that communicates the brand, product attributes and key values. The second
type trumpets price.
The second manifestation of Supervalu’s streamlining
came in how it handles point-of-sale coupons. Valassis and Supervalu contrived
a new on-shelf coupon dispenser, just a few inches square, to attack this challenge.
It allows CPG brands to use miniature signage on the dispenser that shoppers
see from three sides. And the hard-plastic fixtures have clean and unobtrusive
lines. Mars, for example, “loves this fixture because it really takes
trying to do with their packaging and brings it out to the consumer by putting
the same image that’s on the packaging on the box. It’s pure branding,” said
Mike Kowalczyk, in-store general manager at Valassis.
Third, Valassis and Supervalu
overhauled how they dispense “consumer
as recipe sheets and nutritional brochures. CPG brands including Bertolli and
McCormick were interested in effectively communicating with shoppers how they
could make meals using olive oil and spices, for example. But this imparted
too much information for a mere sign, and putting a stack of flyers inside
the supermarket door wasn’t going to cut it either.
So Valassis came up
with a standardized, cardboard “Take One” dispenser,
with a changeable header, that it calls InfoPop, which can dispense recipe
sheets, coupons, sweepstakes entries, mail-in rebate forms and all variety
of important brand information to shoppers.
Overall, Ms. Murphy Johnson said, “instead
of 15 or 16 different [in-store marketing] vehicles, we’re down to just
five or six. Instead of four different sizes of things, we have one size. And
we’re not putting messaging
on the floor anymore.”
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Supervalu’s attempts to de-clutter
messaging around the center store? What move (rationalizing signage, on-shelf
coupon dispenser, “Take One” recipe dispenser, etc.) do you think
holds the most promise for improving center store performance?