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How Shoppable are Your Products?

Sometimes the cornucopia of plenty in American grocery and general merchandise stores can be, well, a bit monotonous. The bread aisle is a monochrome light brown (occasionally accented by, oddly enough, brown shelves), the dairy case a washed out sea of white plastic bathed in a pale fluorescent glow, the men’s undershirts an undifferentiated mass of white, brown and light gray. It’s no wonder, then, that consumers crave a little variety in packaging and presentation. It’s not just to make the scenery a little less boring; it also makes products dramatically easier to find.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Iconoculture, which tells us that a number of factors, including crunched schedules and more precise shopping habits as a result of the recession, have led to an opportunity for brands who design their products for easier identification. They’ve noted a few tactics brands are embracing to allow their products to stand out:

  • Be contrarian. Designs that stand out (or go for the understated look while others are loud) get noticed more often. Go black like Kimberly-Clark’s U by Kotex box amid the pasty pastels in the feminine care aisle. Or up when others are down, like Rain-X. With competitors literally lying down on the shelf in the typical horizontal flowpack, Rain-X stood up in a Doyen-style pouch to get their Glass Treatment and Glass Cleaner wipes noticed.
  • Have a block party. Brand blocking — when multiples of the same product work together side-by-side for overall impact — is not only easy for consumers to see, but is often hard for them to ignore. Coca-Cola’s redesign of their Minute Maid orange juice packaging, for example, repeated an image of oranges on the primary display panel of cartons and bottles to suggest the abundance and freshness of a local fruit stand.
  • Use your brand as a beacon. For years, stores have reaped the benefits of shelf-ready/retail-ready displays: faster restocking, reduced labor costs and, in some cases, automatic dispensing/resetting. Now, shelf, end-cap and point-of-purchase displays are getting more graphic, making it easier for shoppers to spot brands, and from farther away. These also give food, beverage and CPG brands the latitude to push harder on special promotions, such as the “safari jeep” display that Nestlé designed for their Choco Crossies brand in support of this summer’s World Cup.

MLC members can find more on shoppability at our newly-launched Iconoculture microsite. If you’re interested in learning more about what Iconoculture can do for your organization, please contact your account manager.

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