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The retail outlook for 2018 is impossible (or perhaps not)

The retail outlook for 2018 looks impossible

5 Must have ways to reduce costs and grow sales

Retail is transforming. Retailers need to reduce costs and increase efficiency. They need to do so in a challenging market where consumer spending is being squeezed and costs are rising. At the same time they need to invest in online, refresh core systems, and develop smarter, personalised offers in addition to rethinking the role of their stores.

Quite a challenge!

If you just take the phrases: “Reduce costs”, “Invest in online”, Refresh core systems” and “Develop…” the equation sounds impossible. And this is compounded by the fact that retailers and brands are being asked to produce more and more with ever less. Ok, I’ll be the one to say it: Something just has to give.Change in direction

How much longer can UK retail focus on saving costs, at the expense of developing sales? How long can head offices try to sit on their hands with their heads in the sand (physiologically impossible anyway)?

So here is a refreshingly new approach to both saving costs and developing retail sales (that you can do without being either double jointed or in a zero gravity atmosphere).

Reduce costs

Stop spending money on research and data that doesn’t tell you anything new, useful or that you didn’t already know. Just because you have a contract with a big data house or agency, doesn’t meant that their output is any more valuable, preferable or worthwhile.

You have research questions no doubt. But think about how to get meaningful answers that genuinely add value to your business, before lazily trotting off to the same old, same old suppliers of the same old, same old data.

Real world example: Many corprate decisions are made in silos: Without considering cause and effect from a shopper perspective. Simply adding the wrong sort of doors to chillers without thinking of the shopper can save running costs, but also did reduce sales by almost 50%.

Chiller

Invest online

I love this one! “We have to invest online”. We need systems and processes, etc. etc. But take a step back. Before you potentially increase costs by not investing online correctly, clearly define where the greatest ROI lies in this wonderful new medium. I for one have clear irrefutable evidence that online commerce is woefully out of step with how we as a species have evolved to hunt, gather, shop and acquire new things.

Before throwing more money at the consultants, only to have them ask you for the answers to those big, tricky questions. Ask yourself this. “What do shoppers really want from online?” And by really want I mean implicitly and from an evolutionary perspective. We have evolved to hunt and gather, not scroll and click. No wonder so many shoppers still prefer NOT to shop online for everything.

Real world example: Offering people browsing online a massive spreadsheet to scroll down (complete with thumbnail images) can make the site easier to create and manage. Bit doing this did reduce impulse purchasing from 26% to less than 3%.

Online

Refresh core systems

This puzzles me. Brands and retailers say they want to refresh core systems. But as a shopper expert for more than 20 years now, I don’t recall any shopper ever telling me that they wanted a retailer or brand for that matter to improve their core systems.

What I’m suggesting here is that instead of wasting potentially much more money refreshing systems, why not spend a little bit of money discovering what shoppers really want. And before you do, please remind yourself of the ‘reduce costs’ point I made earlier. You may well be surprised with just how close to shopper-oriented some existing core systems already are.

Real world example: Strategically relocating shopping baskets within a well-known High Street chain was and is an operational nightmare. But doing so did increase average transaction value by more than 40%

Develop smarter offers

So retailers and brands need to develop smarter offers? Does this mean to say that the current offers aren’t smart enough? Or is having a different promotion every ½ second in the supermarket just plain overkill?

Get ready for an alarming fact – In fmcg, as many as 80% of shoppers who buy an item that is on special offer… …would have bought it anyway.

So back to the challenge of developing smarter offers. I suggest that the easiest way to achieve this would be to simply align offers with the minds of those buying (or rejecting) the products. As a result, you’d end up with far fewer offers, but those that were in-store and online would be truly effective, both tactically and strategically.

Have you ever stopped to consider which of the following pairs of options is most effective?

Because one thing is for certain, one will always be better than the other. ‘Save 50p’ or ’Save 10% – ‘Half Price’ or ‘1/2 Price’ – ‘3 for the price of 2’ or ‘Now 1/3 off’.

Special Offer

The fact is that promotions are in one way too smart and in another, very, very dumb (from an evolutionary perspective). So instead of decreeing that you need smarter offers, why not understand how offers impact shopping behaviour and shopper psychology and then, only then, decide what is smart and what is perhaps a bit dumb (trust me, the answers will quickly become obvious).

Real world example: Changing the colours of promotional tickets in-store can shave money from the in-store SEL printing process. Bit will it really recoup the £113,000,000 it did cost in lost sales from a single category in a single aisle? Simply multiplying the number of aisles and categories up to your typical supermarket range results is a very large amount indeed.

Rethink the role of stores

For more than a century retailers have been redesigning their stores, to meet different roles. From having perfume departments at the front of store (to mask the smell of the street) in Victorian times, to the small checkouts of Piggly Wiggly stores in USA in 1930s (to reduce theft in newly self-serve environments).

Only in recent times have retailers begun to knee-jerk react to their perception that stores are too big, in the wrong places, with too much or too little range, etc. But again, start from a shopper perspective and guess what… you soon discover that people (yes that’s what we all are’) are predictably irrational. With that in mind it is relatively easy to identify what shoppers want and how to give it to them, ‘without throwing the baby out with the bathwater’.

Once again it comes down to understanding shopper needs (explicit and implicit) and only then start to work on solutions. Do not create solutions and then foist them onto shoppers (most QR codes for example).

Real world example: Changing the store location, size, design and configuration can stem falls in footfall, but simply changing the layout of products in the snacking aisle resulted in a 48% increase in traffic to that aisle: Same store, shelves, décor and even POS.

There you have it, 5 major issues facing retail today. And a single core theme that addresses each of them. Understand shoppers then adapt, as opposed to adapt and then see if shoppers understand.

Hmm, something to think about.

Drop me a note if you’d like to talk about this more.

There isn’t a magic ‘buy’ button in shopper’s minds – There’s 791 of them!

6 FREE examples of how you can activate the buy buttons in the minds of more customers

Like nearly all other shoppers, I’ve succumbed to the occasional impulse purchase.

This temporary lapse in self-control typically occurs when the system 2 part of my mind is occupied thinking about something else. But the omnipresent system 1 goes right ahead and buys that must have, impulse item for me.

To us as shoppers this is a careless slip in concentration and a realisation that we’ve been ‘had over’ by the store yet again. But to the retailers and the owners of the brands they stock, this is another sale, another step towards target and another miniscule advancement towards category superstardom.

What if you could actively switch these ‘buy’ buttons on and off at will? What if you could tap right into the system 1 mind of the shopper, leaving system 2 blissfully unaware? And what if you could activate these buy buttons at a fraction of the cost of many other in-store activation techniques? Well, sit tight and hold on, because…

…you can!

Most shopping behaviour lives in our unconscious, system 1 mind. This area of the brain is the residence of automatic skills, information processing, dreams, and emotion. And According to Psychology Today, the spontaneous urge to spend our hard-earned money is ingrained in our DNA. During my 30 years of analysing shopper and consumer behaviour and psychology, I have amassed a database of 791 (so far) fantastically powerful buy buttons that exist within the minds of shoppers. I have developed the ability to flick these switches in just about every media: From packaging to POS, above-the-line to online. And in doing so, have helped some of the most famous brands on Earth, increase their brand sales grow categories and enrich trading relationships. All from tapping into the minds of shoppers and consumers.

Here, completely FREE of charge, are 6 examples of how you can activate the buy buttons of shoppers and consumers.

Firstly, the word FREE itself. This beautiful four letter ‘buy button’ is just about as powerful as they come. Why, because it is processed almost exclusively by system 1 in the first instance. Let me explain: When we exposed consumers to a range of different special offer mechanisms whilst they lay in a £3,000,000 fMRI scanner, one of the findings was that different parts of the brain process different types of promotions. And ‘FREE’ was handled by the system 1 controlled reward centres.

You put the word free into your marketing communications and you’ve immediately built a buy button into them right there and then.

Secondly, comes laziness. As a species, humans are lazy things. At least our brains are. And this presents those in the know with another buy button. Given the choice, your system 1 brain will almost always take the easiest option, the route to purchase that involves least effort. So to apply buy button 2, simply make sure your product is easier to buy than competing items. It doesn’t matter that the vegetables in the supermarket cost a bit more than they do at the local market, they are easier to get, while you’re there on a big shop, and that’s all that matters to system 1.

Buy button number 3. If lots of other people buy and consume a product, then it must be good. Therefore, my system 1 wants it as well. This fact taps into a number of psychological nuances: From fear of missing out (FOMO), to social proof and mirror neurons.

Enough of the sciency stuff. Here’s how to use it. Whether on pack, online or in-store, communicate that lots of other people buy and consume your brand. That way, you’ll be flicking yet more buy buttons in the minds of shoppers and consumers.

Let’s now turn to numbers as we move on to buy button number 4. Specifically, although I have many, many more, let’s look at numerical anchoring. What this relates to is the fact that the first number we see influences our perception of subsequent numbers. In other words, system 1 helps convince system 2 of the meaning of a numeric value. In research, anchoring was shown not to interact with cognitive load, so the process is predominantly automatic and unconscious (System 1).

Examples of anchoring within retail include explicit slogans to buy more: “Buy 18 Snickers bars for your freezer” or “limit of 12 per person” and ‘expansion anchors’ such as “101 uses!”). In each case, the result has been an increase purchase quantities.

To activate buy button 4, you need to scientifically maximise the numbers you communicate. If your detergent promotes 60 washes, that makes £7 look relatively small as a price. But it depends where you visually put the wash quantity number in relation to the price (I can help you with that).

Buy button number 5 involves humanisation; specifically the right sort of humanisation. Suppose you have an image on your pack, POS or website. Adding a person makes this more engaging. As a species we’re hard-wired to check out any other person to determine whether they are someone to fight, run away from or find a room and mate with. Specifically, when you add the face and in particular eyes of a person to your communications, you instantly flick an ‘added attention’ buy button.

And finally, buy button number 6. This is perhaps one of the easiest buttons to apply, and yet one of the most rarely used. Choice overload. As a civilised society, we have more choice than our minds can be bothered to cope with. When you help reduce that choice you make it easier for system 1 to make a selection. Incidentally, this in one reason why the discounters are doing so well: They offer a much more manageable choice for system 1.

If there are any more than about 7 choices of which your brand forms 1, start to visually sub-divide them into more manageable chunks. For example, the ‘wall’ of garden fertilizer and chemical products is overwhelming for system 1 (and system 2). But visually splitting it down into first kill or cure, then by application (path or flower bed), then by plant type (fruit, flowers, etc.), all helps to guide system 1 down towards a manageable choice.

There you have it, 6 powerful buy buttons that you can apply to increase brand sales, grow your category and enhance your trading relationships. But remember, I have 786 more and if you’re interested in tapping into them the process couldn’t be easier:

  1. Send an image of the communications you’d like me to look at
  2. I’ll summarise how much they can be improved
  3. You commission my expertise and I’ll provide you with all the relevant buy buttons

During the last 30 years, I have advised 62% of the top 100 fmcg brands in the UK. Chances are I’ve already helped either your organisation or your competitors to achieve distinct competitive advantage using shopper/consumer psychology. So isn’t it about time you got in on the act?

Thank you for reading

Phillip Adcock

New psychology service helps you connect with more customers

Is psychology the missing link in your communications?

There are many, many designers, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t experts in psychology. Yes there is engaging and effective design, lots of it. And yes, adding psychology to your communications can dramatically boost cut through and effectiveness. But only when you bring design and psychology together do you really reap the benefits.

We are proud to announce the launch of a brand new services portfolio. A range of psychological tools to incorporate into your designs to help your communications cut through & connect.

Decision Hierarchies – Apply psychology to your decision hierarchy & consumers won’t make their decision because it is logical. They’ll buy because they perceive your brand helped them feel that it’s to their advantage to do so. Introducing a psychological category layout increased brand share by 6%

In-store promotions – With the current addiction to special offers and in-store promotions, isn’t it time you got to the science behind how and why some offers work better than others? Psychology helped us reduce the price reduction and still increase sales by 9%

Print – To optimise your communications, understand the workings of the minds of your customers.  Apply psychological levers to make your messages more resonant. Adding psychology to confectionery print increased sales by 11%

Packaging – You need to get your packaging right, right? It can make people feel excited, eager, safe or secure and persuade them to buy the products within. But your packaging can also be the reason behind why your brand isn’t selected. So don’t take chances with packaging design. A single psychological change to the pack design resulted in a 23% sales uplift

Websites – Having a well-designed website takes time, expertise and investment. But if the visitors who get to your site don’t engage and ‘behave’ as you want them to, you might as well not have a web presence at all. The introduction of added psychology doubled time on a site and cut the bounce rate by 60%

Path to Purchase – Based on 30 years of analysing psychology & behaviour. Enhanced with key learnings from leading psychologists from academia, we have an enormous database of 800+ communications insights. A single psychological lever prised open a £113,000,000 sales opportunity

POP Displays – Often, your brand has but a brief instant to grab the attention of your target consumer. We’ll make sure you maximise that vital moment in time. Incorporating psychology lead to a share of sales uplift of 350%

Photoshoots – Psychology of facial expressions: Humans can tell a posed (fake) smile from a genuine one… …in 100th of a second! Make sure your brand isn’t linked to fakery in any way. More natural imagery more than doubled consumer propensity to purchase

PowerPoint Presentations – The messages you present are important, they need to be heard. Use the latest psychological & behavioural insights to help your presentations to better connect and engage with your audience. 90% of a presentation gets often forgotten within a few hours. Psychology can reduce that to nearer 20%

There you have it, proof if it were needed of the power of psychology. If you lack the time or budget to conduct a full design review or concept research. The next best thing is Bridge 87 Analysis.

Access 30 years of psychology enhanced with key learnings from leading psychologists from around the globe. Tap into quite simply the most comprehensive database of psychological insights available.

So if you’re looking for knowledge, a rewarding adventure, and real competitive advantage, contact us today.

Path to Purchase – Which showroom is the more effective selling space?

BMW and Mercedes Benz showrooms performed poorly!

These ultimate Path to Purchase audits reveal precisely how real customers perceive real products in real ‘stores’. We compare individual brand performances against our central database of 800+ proven and validated psychological and behavioural insights compiled during the last 30 years of analysing shopper psychology and shopping behaviour. This powerful resource is further enhanced with key learnings from leading psychologists from around the globe.

This next post compares car showrooms: Specifically BMW vs. Mercedes Benz. So, how ‘retail’ are they?

BMW vs. Mercedes Benz

2 Leading car brand showrooms were compared and analysed across 12 different psychological metrics. From their ability to gain meaningful attention, through showroom design and vehicle layout, to emotional engagement and the communication of price. In summary, how well does each of these 2 leading car brands align with the psychological drivers and motivations of real people shopping for real cars?

The overall headline finding was that BMW and Mercedes Benz showrooms performed poorly! When it comes to the showrooms being psychologically effective selling spaces, both brands scored just 34%. In other words, for every psychological aspect they got right, they got a further 2 wrong.

So let’s look at the findings in a little more detail.

Attention

Firstly we analysed attention: How effectively do BMW and Mercedes Benz emotionally and instinctively grab the attention of potential customers as they enter the showroom. BMW returned a score of 41%, while Mercedes Benz scored slightly better (47%). The typical human brain processes emotional stimuli 3,000 times faster than more rational inputs, yet the modern car showroom is an area bereft of anything emotional. Rows of cars, frankly uninspiring images of cars or parts of cars and a décor that is more in keeping with an operating theatre. Based on how much most car brands spend on emotional advertising, the showrooms certainly should be more emotionally engaging, they just aren’t!

From cars to cards, toffee to coffee, How would your brand perform in this respect?

Appeal

Secondly, we turned our focus to how well each of the research brands initially appeals to shoppers as they enter the showrooms. BMW scored just 30% and Mercedes Benz, slightly better at 37%. Apart from the cars themselves, a number of visual aspects of each showroom are somewhat similar to each other: White walls, light coloured floors and exposed aluminium present a clean and clinical backdrop on which to present cars. Psychology suggests that there is an opportunity for either brand to drive appeal (pun intended) by tapping into the mirror neuronal activity of the potential car buying visitors. These cold showrooms really lack any form of meaningful humanisation: It’s all about the car, but what about the customer?

 Does your brand appeal as much as it could on in-store/in showroom?

Engagement

Next, engagement: How psychologically engaging is each brand showroom as it sits there displaying cars? With this metric, BMW (27%) was slightly less engaging that Mercedes Benz (36%). Once again, not all that impressive from a psychological perspective. Mercedes scored better because at least that marque taps into the brand heritage by effectively branding (in direct eye line) the reception desk (first point of contact a visitor has).

Incidentally, if you look at these psychological scores, you’ll see that the showrooms aren’t all that good at attracting psychological attention, they are less effective at being mentally appealing and even less effective when it comes to engaging with potential customers. But what they are is very, very similar to each other: Almost as if each is copying the other.

Ever wondered how engaging potential customers perceive your brand to be?

Layout

Moving our attention to the showroom layout, the scores were BMW (32%) and Mercedes Benz (37%). With such a naturally aesthetic range of products (cars), both brands could perform better in terms of how they present their wares to potential customers (location in showroom, graphic support, up-selling and cross-selling price logic, etc.). With such a small selection of models to choose between, there has to be an opportunity to create a more psychologically oriented layout. Such a tactic can significantly reduce cognitive load so that the purchase decision become easier.

” When a store or showroom is easier to shop, shoppers misattribute that ease with liking the products on display more”

Purchase conversion

Next is the browse to purchase conversion ability of each showroom: How well do these premises actively help in closing sales for the staff doing the selling? From a conversion from engagement to purchase, these brands were once again below what we would have expected: BMW 26% and Mercedes Benz 32%.

Psychology has identified that shoppers buying luxury products can sometimes perceive an inner feeling of guilt. Actively managing this psychological barrier can ease up selling and make closing the sales considerably easier; “Yes, you really are worth it”

Do you know the conversion rate for your brand?

Imagery

In showroom imagery: BMW scored 20% and Mercedes Benz 23%. From a psychological perspective, these showrooms provide weak emotional ‘humanisation’ making them visually functional and emotionally neither appealing nor engaging. In such retail outlets as these, is it really a selling aid to support real cars with images of… …more cars (or bits of cars)? And your journey: Don’t stop believin’.

 

Concepts that are learned by viewing pictures are more easily and frequently recalled than are concepts that are learned by viewing their written word. Is your brand imagery in-store as good as it could be?

 

 

Colours

What about the showroom and product (car) colours: BMW 70%, Mercedes Benz 50%. The first positive scores and they show a significant difference between these 2 car brands. So much white as a backdrop and so many white cars on display, at least BMW introduces some colour if only in terms of the colours of some of the cars.

Shopper attention is naturally drawn toward stimuli that are visually salient (Definition: most noticeable or important). And whenever a concept enters our mind quickly and easily, it produces a pleasant sensation in our brain. We then falsely attribute that pleasantness with our evaluation of the stimulus. So what about white cars on a white background???

What’s the best colour for your brand in-store?

 

 

Copy

In showroom product information: How well do the words presented by each of these car brands communicate with shoppers? Answer, not very! BMW 19%, Mercedes Benz 21%.

It’s well-known is psychological circles that words can be made much more impactful if they resemble what they are talking about. Angled letters to simulate speed, thin letters to signify lightweight, etc. And by increasing the surface size of text, especially emotional words (if there were any), these showrooms could definitiely enhance the impact of their (potential) customer facing copy.

What do the words your use in-store say about your brand?

Fonts

We then went on to analyse the psychological effectiveness of the fonts used on showroom customer facing communications. Both brands returned identical scores (31%). Although the fonts used are clear and easily legible, they psychologically send out messages of function without any feelings.

Psychologically, there is an opportunity for either or both of these brands to introduce more creative fonts within the showrooms. When people exert greater effort processing information, they encode the memory in greater detail. So not only would obscure fonts enhance the perceived uniqueness of each brand, but they’d also create a stronger memory of that brand.

Which brand in your category has the most effective font?

 

Pricing

Specifically looking at how the prices were communicated BMW scored 24% and Mercedes Benz 31%. The techniques these showrooms used to display car prices is frankly, poor! There are many opportunities to make the car prices psychologically more appealing and less visually ‘painful’. From the location of the price on or by the product, to how the price is written and right down to the physical colour and shape the prices message itself. For example, Human judgements of numerical differences are disproportionately anchored to the left-most digit. ‘Reduced from £31,000 to £29,000’ is psychologically perceived as being a better deal than a price cut from ‘£29,000 to £26,000’. All because of left-digit bias.

What does the way the price is communcated say about your brand?

Numbers

What about the non-price related numbers used by each of the brands? Car showrooms have plenty of numbers in them. The psychological scores were BMW 32%, Mercedes Benz 30%. Neither BMW nor Mercedes Benz appear to be strategic with locations of customer facing numbers at all. Take a look at the following (and this is the order it is presented in too. BMW 7-Series RRP: From £60,360, Dimensions: 5,098-5,248 mm L x 1,902 mm W x 1,478-1,485 mm H, Kerb weight: 1,800 to 2,255 kg, Fuel economy: 22-61 mpg combined (15-52 city, 29-67 highway), Max speed: 152.2 to 155.3 mph.

The biggest number in the spec details I’ve just shown you? The price, by some margin (not good for selling value for money). The smallest number was fuel economy related. Believe it or not, the psychological take out is a very expensive car with poor fuel economy, oh and by the way, it’s a certain size (no context) and weighs a bit too.

 

 

In summary, both could be made more appealing just by changing the way numbers are displayed on or next to the vehicles.

Can you count on the effectiveness of any numbers relating to your brand?

 

 

Promotions

What about the psychological effectiveness of the promotional messaging? BMW scored 46% and Mercedes Benz 40%. In summary, the promotional mechanics are relatively effective, but the presentation could be improved. What’s more it would be easy to improve them and give away less margin at the same time. The car retailers need to consider how offers are communicated and not just what the deal is. For example, certain numeric messages are processed by the rational parts of the brain, while others miss reason out all together and go straight to the heart of the reward centres. Or to put it another way, if you can bypass reason, you can sell the dream more easily.

So there you have it: Car showrooms analysed as psychological selling spaces. Some might say this is all ‘psycho-babble’, while others might be offended. But, what if, just what if, introducing more psychology into car showrooms is actually a massive opportunity?

These retail effectiveness audits, are designed to help brands like yours increase sales, grow categories and enrich business relationships. The recommendations have been disseminated from a database of 800+ psychological insights specifically relating to shoppers and shopping.

Access to this database of priceless human (shopper) understanding is now available from our sister OCmany SBXLto you in the form of ultimate Path to Purchase audits. If you would like to know how your brand compares with your competitors, let’s talk. Also, if there’s a specific in-store comparison you’d like us to consider making, drop us a line.

Finally, before blaming Brexit and a host of other possible reasons for under performance of your brand, consider these following questions: Are you losing sales and share because your brand communications aren’t as psychologically effective as those of the competition? Is the performance of your brand suffering because it isn’t aligned with the minds of customers? Would you like to simply and effectively increase sales, grow your brand and enrich trading relationships?

 

Path to Purchase – Which is more effective in-store, on shelf?

Shopper Psychology Applied

Are you losing sales and share because your brand isn’t as psychologically effective in-store as those of the competition? Is the in-store performance of your brand suffering because it isn’t aligned with the minds of shoppers? Would you like to simply and effectively increase sales, grow your category and enrich trading relationships?

Access 30 years of analysing shopper psychology and shopping behaviour, enhanced with key learnings from leading psychologists from around the globe. Tap into quite simply the most comprehensive database of shopper insights available. You can now access this priceless shopper understanding in the form of shopper based retail effectiveness audits. Here’s a summary example

Ariel vs. Persil

The 2 leading brands of washing detergent were compared and analysed across 11 different metrics. From their ability to gain mental attention on shelf, through pack design and category layout, to the communication of price. In summary, how well does each of the 2 leading brands align with the psychological drivers and motivations of real shoppers.

“The overall headline finding was that Ariel scored higher that Persil in almost every aspect! But neither scored well”

So let’s look at the findings in a little more detail.

Attention

Firstly we analysed attention: How effectively do Persil and Ariel emotionally and instinctively grab the attention of passing shoppers. Because both brands rely very much on rational aspects to persuade shoppers to choose one over the other, they fail to emotionally connect as well as they could. And although Persil has a degree of humanisation on pack, the imagery is hidden behind the SRP. How would your brand perform?

Appeal

Secondly, we turned our focus to how well each of the research brands initially appeals to shoppers in-store. Because many visual aspects of each brand are so similar, the appeal scores were low (Ariel 29%, Persil 25%). Psychology suggests that there is an opportunity for either brand to convey uniqueness in what is a somewhat crowded marketplace. Does your brand appeal as much as it could on shelf?

Engagement

Next, engagement: How psychologically engaging is each brand as it sits there in-store on shelf. With this metric, Ariel (47%) was significantly more engaging that Persil (27%). Neither product appears to ‘own’ any non-comparable attribute with which shoppers could benchmark other alternatives against. Also, the layout on shelf combined with the pack designs gives Ariel significant visual advantage. Ever wondered how engaging your brand is in-store?

Range & Layout

Moving our attention to the range available and the layout, the scores were almost identical. With so much visual ‘sameness’ between the research brands, neither offers any category default option. But if they did so, purchase decisions would become easier.

Why spend time choosing an option? One has already been chosen for you.”

Purchase conversion

Next is the browse to purchase conversion ability of each brand. The scores here were Ariel 29%, Persil 25%. Neither brand provides a specific tangible reason why it is better than the other. Here’s the science: Any product specialising in one attribute is perceived to be superior on that attribute relative to any all-in-one options. Do you know the conversion rate for your brand?

Imagery

On-pack imagery: Ariel scored 0% and Persil 40%. From a psychological perspective, these packs need more humanisation. Educate and inspire using images: Concepts that are learned by viewing pictures are more easily and frequently recalled than are concepts that are learned by viewing their written word from counterparts. Is your on-pack imagery as good as it could be?

Colours

What about the pack colours: Ariel 71%, Persil 78%. In a category where colour is talked about so much, both brands ranked well – Albeit very similar to each other. Shopper attention is naturally drawn toward stimuli that are visually salient. And whenever a concept enters our mind quickly and easily, it produces a pleasant sensation in our brain. We then falsely attribute that pleasantness with our evaluation of the stimulus. What’s the best colour for your brand in-store?

Copy

On pack copy: How well do the words on each of the brands communicate with shoppers: Ariel 54%, Persil 43%. Both brands rely on their name on shelf. The packs lack a distinct call to action in terms of ‘buy me’ or ‘switch to me. In addition, by increasing the surface size of text, especially emotional words (if there were any), they could enhance the emotional impact of those words. What does your pack say about your brand?

Fonts

We then went on to analyse the psychological effectiveness of the fonts used on pack: Ariel 50%, Persil 45%. The fonts used are clear and easily legible; sending out a message of function over feelings. Psychologically, there is an opportunity to introduce more creative fonts. Because, when people exert greater effort to process information, they encode the memory in greater detail. So not only would obscure fonts enhance the perceived uniqueness of a product, but they’d also create a stronger memory of that brand. Which brand in your category has the most effective font?

Pricing

Specifically looking at how the prices were communicated Ariel scored 37% and Persil 23%. It is well-known that from a psychological perspective, the way most supermarkets display prices is frankly, poor! For example, £ sign too big, price numeral too (physically) big, lack of left digit bias and no charm pricing. What does the Shelf Edge Label (SEL) say about your brand?

Numbers

What about the non-price related numbers used on each of the packs: Ariel 50%, Persil 41%. Ariel anchors shoppers to the number 1 on a 60 wash bottle, while Persil makes 60 seem small and insignificant by locating it on the bottom left of the bottle. In summary, both could easily be made more appealing just by changing the way numbers are displayed on pack. Can you count on the effectiveness of any numbers on the packs of your brand?

These retail effectiveness audits, are designed to help brands like yours increase sales, grow categories and enrich trading relationships. The recommendations have been disseminated from a database of 791 psychological insights specifically relating to shoppers and shopping.

Access to this database of priceless shopper understanding is now available to you in the form of shopper based retail effectiveness audits. If you would like to know how your brand compares to the competition, follow this link, or let’s talk.

If you think there is value in this article then please, please share it

Alternatively, are you just fascinated by how shoppers think? Or would you like to know more about how you think? Check out my books on Amazon for much more insightful, provocative and stimulating information.

Shoppology: The science of the shopping brain

Master your Brain: The science of your brain

The Presenters Handbook: The science of the PowerPoint brain