ISSUE NO. 70 10/31/12

Cameras mounted unobtrusively in the center store identified opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to increase sales, according to research from VideoMining Corporation. Though three-quarters of sales and 77% of profits are made from center store sales, the department still experiences "shopper leakage," a term for those shoppers who browse and think about a purchase but ultimately don't buy. The Center Store MegaStudy, which studied 2 million individual shopping trips from data collected by up to 150 cameras per store, found that many as a quarter of shoppers walk through the center store on a typical shopping trip, but don't buy anything. The study also identified the comparatively short time shoppers spend in the center store: of the 13 minutes spent in the store on a typical shopping trip, only 2 minutes are spent in the center store. Interestingly, there was little difference in the time spent by those who did buy and those who didn't buy.

Some categories within the center store perform more efficiently, with alcoholic beverages, pet, coffee and tea, baby and frozen food generating significantly more sales per minute of shopper time. On the other hand, the categories that show more shopper leakage are soup, beauty, personal care and snacks, thus indicating a need to improve the shopper experience in order to convert non-buyers. Better signage, navigation cues, displays and shelf layouts should be considered for these underperforming categories, according to the study.
"Although grocery retailers need new, creative ways that differentiate the shopping experience, our research shows that their biggest growth opportunity by far is increasing conversion by shoppers already in their store," said Tom Sullivan, president of VideoMining, State College, Pa. "Understanding ‘shopper leakage,' which is when shoppers stop, engage, and contemplate a purchase but walk away empty-handed, represents huge growth potential. In many categories, shopper leakage is greater than shopper conversion."

By quantifying the amount of time a shopper spends in a category and comparing that to actual spending, this research brings a valuable perspective to how shoppers are spending their time in the center store. Marketers will be able to identify specific barriers to purchase and to address them with tactics precisely crafted to appeal to the shopper. It is especially intriguing that some categories underperform relative to others, which points to a need for better marketing and messaging in those category aisles. For example, the soup aisle is notoriously crowded with many brands, many varieties and many choices to make. In-store navigational cues, like "low sodium" tags, or useful signage with facts about moderating sodium intake could be useful to the shopper looking to eat more healthfully but doesn't know where to start.

Was this helpful?

"New Opportunities for Sales Growth in Grocery Center Store," CPG Matters, June 2012

center store, shopper leakage, shopper research, shopping behavior

Leave a comment
Name *
Email (will not be published)
Comment *