- The Convenience Aisle aggregates microwaveable meals that previously were located in multiple areas around the store
- Meals are organized into subcategories based on who uses them (gender, age) and when (meal, snacks)
- Began testing solution in Kroger in June 2010
- Will roll out to grocery, mass, and discount retailers
Thought starters: Could a similar organizational system be used for your client's products? How can we position products on the shelf in a way that makes more sense to shoppers?
(In Store Marketer, May 2011)
ConAgra Foods is seeing a sales lift in the 12-15% range for the single-serve microwaveable meals it is locating on a new shelf set designed specifically for those items, says John Kastenholz, vice president of category leadership for ConAgra. The shelf set brings together "meal solutions" that had been distributed previously in five to eight different places around the store.
Kastenholz expects that by June, a year after distribution began, the shelf sets will be set up in more than 500 stores. "We've taken products that are easy to make and easy to eat, and now we've made them easy to shop for," he says. "We felt it was an opportunity to bring these items together, and organize them in a way that made it easier for the shopper to find what they wanted."
ConAgra conducted shopper research that included analysis of shopper-card data and in-store shopalong interviews prior to construction of the units, which were developed by Launch Creative Marketing, Chicago, and built by Applied Merchandising Concepts, New Rochelle, N.Y. That enabled ConAgra to fine-tune the concepts of how the shelf set might work, Kastenholz says.
The products are organized into subcategories based on who uses them and when – meals vs. snacks, and men vs. women vs. kids and teens. "We set out to organize the set by those principles," he says. On the left side are healthier and more premium items that tend to appeal to health-conscious and affluent customers. In the middle are family meals. And to the right are heartier items that appeal to men and the budget-conscious.
While signage on the shelf set labels the subcategories, additional in-store signage directs customers to the shelf set from the previous locations where these single-serve meals were stocked.
The program has not included social media or event components, says Kastenholz, who declined to name participating retailers except to say they have or will include grocery, mass and discounts. Based on information presented publicly by ConAgra and in-store observations, the In-Store Marketing Institute determined that the concept was tested at Kroger.
Kastenholz says ConAgra is encouraged by the double-digit sales lift thus far. "That would make this faster growing than virtually any other shelf-stable section in the store," he says. "It's not driven by any new products. It's simply driven by putting items on-shelf in a way that makes sense to the shopper. For the retailer, this is a great way to drive volume."