CPGmatters: Who Do You Trust? Retailers Look to ConAgra
By John Karolefski
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of
a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
In 2006, ConAgra
Foods was a novice at shopper insights. Today, it is leveraging those
insights to develop in-store marketing programs with key customers and
to activate sales.
“In 2007, we
started to staff teams for shopper insights and shopper marketing. We
started building some disciplines. What are some processes we need to
do? Who do we need to work with in our key accounts? What are some things
we can be doing to increase our penetration in those key accounts?,” Tony
Washington, director of shopper insights and analytics for ConAgra, recalled
in a presentation at IRI Global Summit recently in Las Vegas.
and his colleague, Julie Oser, manager of shopper marketing, are part
of the account-specific team assigned to Safeway. ConAgra has teams dedicated
to other major grocery chains, including Publix Super Markets, Kroger,
Supervalu and Wal-Mart.
more effectively, ConAgra consolidated four departments under the umbrella
of Integrated Customer Marketing. Coming together were Shopper Marketing,
Shopper Insights, Category Leadership and In-Store Marketing. The key
principles of the department’s multi-functional teams are:
- Speed: Simplifying
everyday processes to do them more efficiently
- Collaboration: Deploying
- Accountability: Helping
Safeway are concerned about retaining shoppers, according to Mr. Washington.
He remembers telling Safeway that if they could only retain half of the
shoppers in the lower-income segment, they could realize almost $300
“We also identified
where those folks were going,” he said. “Almost 80 percent of them were
going to a combination of grocery, mass and club stores. Understanding
where shoppers are going can help develop strategies to keep those shoppers.
For instance, if you find out that you’re losing a lot of shoppers to
mass and club, then you need to think about [stocking] larger packages
that those retailers sell and you typically don’t.”
developed for Safeway involved families spending time around the table;
that is, eating more at home. ConAgra executed a meal solution at Safeway
called Stock up and Save. “Safeway needed to have [products] organized
in a way that shoppers could find them easily. Right items, right price.
All of the items you need are right there. Just by making it easier for
a shopper to shop, we saw a big increase in sales.”
executed successfully were a meal solution for Cinco de Mayo and a Nostalgia
theme throughout the store.
Ms. Oser was
quick to point out that the in-store programs involved more than just
“We want to
show Safeway something they can trust and believe in,” she said. “We
want them to see us as a consultant and partner. If we just go in with
our ConAgra hat on, we are not really helping the shopper.
with retailers,” she advised. “That is what has worked for us.”
What benefits can a vendor provide around shopper insights programs that
a retailer may not be able to? What are the challenges in making such
collaborative shopper insight research and consequential in-store programs