It Matters What You Measure….If You Desire Long Term Success

A recent Supermarket News article rightly touted the remarkable comparable store sales record of Kroger. Fifty consecutive quarters of positive same store sales comps (without fuel). The article went on to explain the simple but rare approach that Kroger leadership took to enable such remarkable results.   The article’s author, Liz Webber, quoted Andrew Wolf, a food retailing sector financial analyst from a conversation Wolf had with then Kroger CEO, David Dillon;

“I had a meeting with him 10 years ago or so, and he told me they were never going to make a sales or earnings number again by moving the pencil, i.e. raising prices, as long as he was CEO,” said Wolf. “So I think he had remarkable courage and a strong spine.” generic graph

Under Dillon’s leadership Kroger became amazingly disciplined and strategic. He demanded that despite likely short-term hits to their stock price and profitability, Kroger was to keep their eye on the prize, GROWTH.

As a battered veteran of many Monday morning retail meetings, I can tell you that while sales growth is almost always discussed, it is seldom given the prominence of profit and hitting a near term EBITDA number. It would be foolish to infer that profit and margin metrics are not critical numbers to track, but the question should be asked, which number drives the other. My point is that tracking EBITDA as the lead metric often results in tweaking margin rates up with the false notion that there will be little or no impact on same store sales or longer term market share.

Dillon understood that while his competition was mired in P&L calculations, he was focused on driving sales with the confidence that ultimately, his sales driven approach would produce acceptable, if not pleasing profitability. That is exactly what happened.

Certainly, there are other factors at play in the Kroger success story. For starters, their store and service improvement programs, coupled with their strategic investment in customer segmentation intelligence have been key. None of those initiatives, however would be nearly as effective without a cogent pricing strategy with an objective of constant sales growth.

It does matter what you measure and prioritize. Competitors of Kroger should take note. Short term paper profit gains often morph into longer-term negative comparable store sales and all the woes that condition carries.

brick meets click: 6 factors keeping retailers in the doldrums



There’s a lot of power in the idea that a properly defined problem is more than half solved. So: Why are so many retailers still in the doldrums 5 years after the “great recession” has ended?

Four factors are called out in a recent Fortune article, but we think there’s more to the story if you want to understand the whole situation.

Fortune’s list is a good start:

  • Death by discount
  • Too much retail space
  • The nonrecovery recovery
  • Stunted evolution

Here are two additional insights into how the marketplace has changed that complete the story.

  • Retailers no longer have a cost-effective way to connect with large numbers of shoppers. The mass communications era is over, and the ability to easily move the market is gone with it. The implication here is that most retailers will struggle with same-store sales growth until they establish digital connections with enough shoppers to impact topline sales.
  • The new normal means not only that the mix of stores will change, but also that the type and mix of products sold in the stores needs to change. The implication here is that although stores may be clearly differentiated on the basis of price reputation and value, they will not reach their full potential until they’re able to draw from a whole new set of products designed specifically for shoppers operating in each tier of the new “split-level economy.”

Retailers who build all six of these shifts into their thinking, will be much closer to turning the corner on sustainable same store sales growth.


The Bigger Picture

The issue facing food and grocery retailers is that it’s difficult to see all of the changes shoppers are making in today’s digital environment and changed economy – and even when the changes do become evident, there’s a good chance they’ll be denied. Retailers may not recognize them.

Some progressive retailers have absorbed the significance of the changes and are trying to respond, but they’re held back by two constraints that Bill Davis talks about in his recent BMC interview.

  • The challenge of transitioning from legacy systems dedicated to supporting a single sales channel to integrated, omnichannel systems that are capable of supporting multiple sales channels.
  • The scarcity of staff with the technical skills needed to make these changes happen consistent with the retailer’s go to market strategy.

Since retailers are trying to make these changes with significant resource constraints, it’s vitally important that they focus on the right problem, or they’ll overspend on the wrong one. Also, they need to find the lowest-cost transition path. Increasingly, this looks like it will involve cooperating more directly with online retailers and technology providers who’ve already moved comfortably up the learning curve. Kroger’s purchase of Vitacost is an example. Many others will need to rent the new capabilities in order to make progress affordable.

Trius Retail™ Announces Advisory Board Formation

MediaReleaseTempTrius Retail™ Announces Advisory Board Formation

October 1, 2014, Delaware: Trius Retail™ LLC, a retail technology company dedicated to improving the relationships between shoppers, retailers and consumer package goods companies, announced today the formation of its Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of six highly respected and influential individuals from various sectors of the business world who will support the Managers (Board) and Management of the Company.

“As we look at the importance of retailer relationships and the successful rollout of our technology as a fundamental part of the Trius Retail ‘Value Proposition’, we couldn’t be more delighted with the addition of these six accomplished and talented individuals to the Trius Retail family”, said Dave McGuigan, Chairman of Trius Retail.

The six member Advisory Board is led by Co-Chairpersons, Dr. Michael Kim and Douglas Dougherty. Dr. Kim, CEO of MedTrack Corporation has over thirty-five (35) years of prototype development and manufacturing experience and is regarded as having been instrumental in helping U.S.-based companies established reputable, low-cost/high quality/high volume manufacturing in China.

Dr. Kim expressed his enthusiasm about the opportunity associated with Trius Retail™ saying, “When Trius Retail™ approached me to join them in the development and manufacturing of their patented Shelf Alive!™ technology, I couldn’t resist. Trius Retail’s technology has the capability to transform the shopping environment for retailers, shoppers and consumer package goods companies alike through a single strategic investment. I’m dedicated to bringing my worldwide contacts and lifetime of manufacturing experience to this dynamic opportunity.”

Joining Dr. Kim as the Advisory Board’s Co-Chair is Douglas Dougherty. Doug’s experience in retailing, marketing and strategic planning has included senior leadership positions at Ford Motor Company, May Companies, Target and Marsh Supermarkets. “Given my extensive experience in retailing, I believe Trius Retail is uniquely positioned to be a ‘Game Changer’ for the retailing industry”, said Mr. Dougherty. “Dr. Kim and I look forward to tasking our Advisory Board, and all of our friends and associates, to make Trius Retail a huge success in the marketplace.”

The other four members who join Dr. Kim and Mr. Dougherty to comprise the Trius Retail™ Advisory Board are:

  • Richard Mader, Executive Director of the Association of Retail Technology Standards.
  • Frank Eckstein, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
  • Jill Prolman, PhD Clinical Psychologist, focusing on human behavior and decision-making.
  • Steve Galvanoni, Senior Vice President of the Supply Chain Group at Telxon Corporation.



About Trius Retail, LLC

Founded by experienced retail practitioners, Trius Retail™, LLC is a Delaware incorporated retail technology company dedicated to enriching the three way relationship between retailers, shoppers and brand marketers through the use of in-store pricing, advertising and promotion-based technologies.

For more information about Trius Retail, please contact: Mark Heckman at 1-941-807-0772.

Trius Retail™ Secures Retail Partner for its Proof of Technology



September 26, 2014. Delaware: Trius Retail™ LLC, a retail technology company dedicated to improving the relationships between shoppers, retailers and consumer package goods companies, announced today that it has secured Big Red Liquors to serve as its host retailer for the Company’s proof of its technology.

“We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about having Big Red Liquors as our partner as we validate the functionality and relational value proposition behind our Shelf Alive!™ technology”, said Mark Heckman, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Trius Retail. “We were committed to finding a rapidly growing, progressive retailer who embraces innovation for this critical first step of our evolution, and we have found one.”

Big Red Liquors is a fifty (50) store chain headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. For over 38 years, Big Red Liquors has been the leading merchant in central Indiana supplying a variety of wines, spirits and beers from all over the United States and the world. Big Red Liquors is one of he largest independently run package liquor stores chains in the Unites States and is recognized for its investments in innovative technology and its commitment to customer service.

Don Rix, CEO of Big Red Liquors, emphasized his commitment to Trius Retail™ and the Shelf Alive!™ technology. “From the moment the Trius Retail team approached us, I felt that their technology is just what every traditional retailer needs in their fight with on-line retailing. From providing shopper information and promotions at the moment of purchase decisions to generating information that allows the retailer and its package goods partners to be better at what we do, the Shelf Alive!™ technology platform fits perfectly with our needs and those within our industry. It was an easy “Yes” after we fully understood the opportunity.”

The test of Trius Retail technology at Big Red Liquors will take place in two phases, with the Shelf Alive! Shopper Engagement Network beginning on February 15th of next year and the Shelf Alive! Price Management System™ following shortly thereafter on June 1st. Five Big Red Liquors stores will be a part of the Shelf Alive!™ technology launch.


About Trius Retail, LLC

Founded by experienced retail practitioners, Trius Retail™, LLC is a Delaware incorporated retail technology company dedicated to enriching the three way relationship between retailers, shoppers and brand marketers through the use of in-store pricing, advertising and promotion-based technologies.


For more information about Trius Retail, please contact: Mark Heckman at 1-941-807-0772


Trius Retail™ Files Patent for Shelf Alive!™ Technology

MediaReleaseTempTrius Retail™ Files Patent for Shelf Alive!™ Technology


September 25, 2014. Delaware: Trius Retail™ LLC, a retail technology company dedicated to improving the relationships between shoppers, retailers and consumer package goods companies, has filed a patent for the core components of the Company’s new in-store price management system and shopper engagement network.

The Company filed its patent through the law firm Perkins Coie, LLP. Perkins Coie is regarded as a premier patent law firm for technical innovation. Among the key components of the patent are printed electronic shelf strips that convey pricing and product information to the shopper; integration of full motion, interactive touch screen video technology, and a data collection mechanism for shopper-related analytics.

“With the help of Perkins Coie, we’ve filed the primary patent behind our breakthrough Shelf Alive! Price Management System™ and our Shelf Alive! Shopper Engagement Network”, said Peter Abell, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Trius Retail. Abell continued by saying, “At the heart of the Shelf Alive! Price Management System™ are our Electronic Shelf Strips. Electronic Shelf Strips will allow retailers to have all of the upside advantages of electronic shelf labels at 1/3rd the cost. Additionally, besides significant cost savings, what truly differentiates us from every other electronic shelf label company is the space management compliance component of our Electronic Shelf Strips. Bottom line, our Shelf Alive! Price Management System™ is a game changer for the Industry, and it’s satisfying to know that our technology can be protected as we advance it into the marketplace.”

The Trius Retail patent was filed with the United State Patent and Trademark Office by Perkins Coie on behalf of Trius Retail. In addition to the Shelf Alive! Price Management System™, the patent also covers the Shelf Alive! Shopper Engagement Network™. This ‘Network’ includes full motion, interactive category information signs and tracking technology that providing increased information to the shopper and measurable product movement data to consumer package goods companies.

“Traditional retailers are losing “shopper share” to on-line players like Amazon and E-Bay, while at the same time, losing advertising, marketing & promotional dollars to companies like Google and Facebook. In order to stem this tide, traditional bricks & mortar retailers need to improve their value proposition with shoppers and consumer package goods companies alike”, said Mark Heckman, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Trius Retail. Heckman continued by asserting, “The technology behind Shelf Alive!™ provide traditional retailers with the tools to fight back and provide, measureable, enhanced relationships with both their shoppers as well as their consumer package goods partners.”

Trius Retail will be introducing both patent-pending technologies – the Shelf Alive! Price Management System™ and the Shelf Alive! Shopper Engagement Network™ in early 2015. The Company intends on filing additional patents in support of its technology platform in the 4th quarter of this year.

About Trius Retail, LLC

Founded by experienced retail practitioners, Trius Retail™, LLC is a Delaware incorporated retail technology company dedicated to enriching the three way relationship between retailers, shoppers and brand marketers through the use of in-store pricing, advertising and promotion-based technologies.

For more information about Trius Retail, please contact: Mark Heckman at 1-941-807-0770

Informationweek: Location-based Services: They Came; They Disrupted and Will Now Rule the World


Location-based services: They came; they disrupted and will now rule the world

by Vishal Singhal, Kelton Tech Solutions, September 1, 2014


InformationweekSmartphone penetration has risen to double-digit percentage of Indian mobile population and our life completely revolves around it. Harnessing this trend has never been more important for organizations seeking to capture and retain customers.

The trend of using location based concepts is not new but has evolved over a long period. A brief knowledge of how it all started will help readers in understanding how from ages, we have been using these and how they have technologically advanced over time so much that we predominantly depend on it now.

We have been using location technology since many thousands of years before Christ. From American Indians to Chinese, smoke signals were used to communicate messages and locate homes.

For centuries from early 3200BC, Celestial Navigation guided generations of people until the middle of 18th century when Chronometer was invented, and it helped sailors in determining the longitudes.

From 1000 BC onwards, Homing Pigeons came in and were used for a long time for navigation and courier services.

The Magnetic Compass came in between 1100 and 1200 AD and allowed navigators to determine where they are heading.

In early 1900s came the Radio Triangulation, which till today is used in many spheres. It worked by measurement of the strengths of radio signals, ships, aircrafts and military ground troops began to be able to estimate their coordinates from very long distances.

Satellite GPS was launched in early 1960s. A group of around 30 satellites orbiting the earth were used to triangulate the position of the receiver. Receiver sizes have been shrinking ever since 60s when GPS (Global Positioning Systems) were first tested.

Automotive GPS Navigation came in 1990s and now became a necessity in driving, commonly including maps and turn by turn directions. It has gained huge traction among consumers and is still installed in many automotive.

GPS-enabled smartphones came in 2000s.Though cell phones started carrying GPS in mid ‘00s, the debut of Apple’s iPhone brought the most notable changes to the industry, allowing a host of third-party applications to start developing programs to take advantage of the built-in satellite positioning hardware.

Also, now, Proximity and Geo-based marketing engagement allows organizations to provide its consumers the right information at the right time and the right place. This allows organizations to drive more revenue, improve customer experience, and develop deeper insights into visitors.

Location-Based Services (LBS) have essentially targeted outdoor spaces. Now accurate indoor localization technologies are also gaining traction. Most market analysts are agreeing that market of LBS (both indoor and outdoor) is set to grow in the next four years to a multi-billion dollar market, and that is what we are experts at doing at Kellton Tech.

Future of LBS in Mobility

iBeacons are one way to overcome the limitations of standard cellphone location services like GPS. They tend to be more accurate and can be deployed indoors. Besides, there are several companies that have created Wi-Fi-based location systems that can function indoors which is referred to as indoor positioning services.

Google’s Project Tango, announced earlier this year, is another technology that can be used in mapping spaces, particularly indoor spaces, where traditional location services flounder. As of now, this project is in the early stages but it could revolutionize indoor positioning and navigation in the coming years. It is worth noting that NASA will be testing it on the International Space Station later this year.

Apple’s iBeacons have gotten much press in last few months since Apple announced that it had outfitted all of its U.S. retail stores with the new technology. Besides Apple, other major retailers, shopping malls, sports stadiums, museums, convention centers, theme parks, restaurants and bars, and special events like the Consumer Electronics Show, Macworld/ iWorld, and SXSW have all featured iBeacon technology in interesting ways. The technology is also supported on Android phones running Jelly Bean or KitKat.

Apart from delivering ads and special offers, providing context to safeguarding, the technology is a next-generation location and information service.

The big advantage to iBeacons as a location service is that they are extremely inexpensive, and the setup is pretty quick and easy. Some examples of where iBeacons are being deployed are as given below:

Beacons in Hospitals: iBeacon will help the hospital minimize the usage of paper-based reports. When the doctor will reach the patient bed, iBeacon, attached to the bed, will recognize the doctor and cause the application on doctor’s phone to show-up all the reports and prescriptions for the patient. Doctor can edit the info right on his phone, and the information will sync across the devices with a central server.

iBeacons in Retail: “Get 7 percent discount on the camera in front of you!” Yes, this is possible with iBeacon. Imagine yourself walking into the camera department in your local department store. An iBeacon sensor can detect your proximity with a product that you are looking at and can offer you a coupon or discount voucher straight to your phone. Needless to say that retailers around the world are very excited about iBeacon, and many have started to implement it already (e.g. American Eagle and Macy’s).

iBeacons at Car Dealerships: It is imperative for car dealers to get more people into their dealerships. Providing a great experience to their visitors is thus an absolute must! iBeacon can get detailed information on the phone from the car.

iBeacons in large event venues like SXSW: Large event venues can place iBeacons around their venue and venue app or event app can show users exactly where they are inside the venue and provide routing on a tradeshow to any given exhibitor. Combining this technology with user profiling in apps opens up even more possibilities. A visitor on a tradeshow, with an interest in a certain product, can be sent a relevant offer straight to his phone when walking by a booth

There is a range of technologies that can enable indoor positioning; the most common are based on Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi-based indoor positioning systems triangulates location-based on the strength and proximity of Wi-Fi access points within a structure.

Configuring an indoor positioning system requires a few different steps and processes

  • Accurate maps or floor plans for the space
  • Ubiquitous Wi-Fi with enough access points at key positions
  • Footprint of the entire space recorded from a device or software
  • Compiled data to create a digital map of the space, complete with the proximity footprint

With all that data and services, a developer can incorporate indoor positioning and navigation into mobile apps.  

An indoor positioning system would allow visitors at the hospital to get-off at the appropriate floor and then use the app to get precise directions to the room of a patient. Although Wi-Fi triangulation is the most common choice for indoor positioning systems, any technology that can triangulate position based on proximity to electronic signals can theoretically be used instead. That includes Bluetooth LE signals generated by iBeacons. Using iBeacons or another technology offers an advantage over using Wi-Fi — the beacons are separate from the network infrastructure, which means a reduction in maintenance issues associated with reconfiguring Wi-Fi access points.

Other potential technologies that have been explored include LEDs, magnetic fields, RFID, and NFC.  Together these technologies will offer unprecedented value whether you are shopping, visiting someone in a hospital, finding your way through a large office complex, and in tons of other ways not yet imagined.

Location-based services (LBS) are services offered through a mobile phone and take into account the device’s geographical location. LBS typically provide information or entertainment. Because LBS are largely dependent on the mobile user’s location, the primary objective of the service provider’s system is to determine where the user is. There are many technologies to achieve this.

Some of the most common LBS applications include local news, directions, points of interest, directory assistance, fleet management, emergency, asset tracking, location-sensitive building, and local advertisement.

Read more at:


Bloomberg Businessweek: Why Apple’s iBeacon Hasn’t Taken Off-Yet

IndustryArts1bannerWhy Apple’s iBeacon Hasn’t Taken Off—Yet

– Bloomberg Businessweek 9/28/14


Hillshire Brands (HSH) sees the promise of Apple’s (AAPL) iBeacon, software that’s been embedded in iOS 7 for a year. With iBeacon, Hillshire can track a shopper wheeling through a grocery store and send his iPhone a coupon or an ad for sausages just as he approaches the right cooler. Hillshire says consumers in 10 U.S. test cities who received iBeacon messages via apps such as recipe service Epicurious have been 20 times likelier to buy its American Craft sausages. Last year, iBeacon promised Apple a new wave of consumer data and looked like a boon to retailers and advertisers trying to reverse a decline in impulse buys. Using a low-energy Bluetooth signal, the software makes an iPhone’s proximity to certain items easier to track with the help of $10 signaling devices—beacons—mounted on shelves and ceilings, each no bigger than a hockey puck.

For the most part, however, stores have yet to embrace Apple’s technology. “Retailers are just putting their toes in,” says Owen Geddes, chief executive officer of startup Appflare, which sets up iBeacon networks for merchants. He says there have been a lot of announcements by retailers that they are trying out iBeacon networks in a handful of locations, “but the reality is, very few of them have been deployed.” Less than 1 percent of the 3.6 million retail stores in the U.S. make use of iBeacon, says Mark Hung, an analyst at market researcher Gartner (IT). Apple declined to comment for this story.

The main obstacle for retailers is that iBeacon doesn’t quite do everything by itself. Shoppers need to have apps such as Epicurious or discount service Shopkick that have incorporated the tracking technology. Many consumers don’t consult shopping aids while they’re in the store, and, says Adam Silverman, an analyst at Forrester Research (FORR), “Those apps are gimmicky.” He adds, “The retailers haven’t yet deciphered what customers want.”

Another factor: Apple’s design wasn’t the first indoor location-tracking system available. Many businesses are experimenting with other technologies, includingMotorola Solutions (MSI) and Datzing beacons that use both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. “I wouldn’t say it’s a clear winner at all,” Derek Top, an analyst at Opus Research, says of iBeacon. Shopkick is among the startups that combine Apple’s system with their own ultrasound technology to increase its accuracy.

Although Apple has a lot of big names using iBeacon, most, like Hillshire, are just testing it. Macy’s (M) has set up beacons in two stores that push product recommendations and discounts to Shopkick users; Lord & Taylor (HBC:CN) is doing the same in 10 stores with coupon app SnipSnap. Starwood Hotels & Resorts(HOT) is trying out iBeacon in 30 hotels to help concierges greet arrivals by name. Clay Cowan, a vice president at Starwood, says the service may also help accelerate check-in for frequent guests or inform housekeeping when a room is occupied.

IBeacon’s biggest convert so far is Major League Baseball, which put beacons in 28 of 30 ballparks. Bill Schlough, the chief information officer for the San Francisco Giants, says check-ins by fans using the MLB’s ballpark app more than doubled this season after the app began using iBeacon to help push merchandise coupons and seat upgrades. “For us, that’s a success,” he says. The MLB app is now adding short, location-specific videos on the history of stadiums.

Some barriers to iBeacon adoption are falling away. Google (GOOG) has built more iBeacon functionality into the latest versions of Android. GE Lighting (GE) has formed a partnership with startup ByteLight to develop lightbulbs that can also help track shoppers via iBeacon, which would eliminate the need for retailers to buy separate hardware. More companies are curious. “We have half of Fortune 500 developing with us,” says Steve Cheney, a senior vice president at startup Estimote, which designs hardware and software to work with iBeacon. There is just one major group of holdouts to persuade: shoppers.

Business Wire: Electronic Shelf Labels Revenues to Reach US$2 Billion by 2019, According to ABI Research

IndustryArts1bannerElectronic Shelf Labels Revenues to Reach US$2 Billion by 2019, According to ABI Research

– Business Wire

BusinessWireLONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Over the next 5 years Electronic shelf labels (ESL) are set to grow beyond retail markets in legislated countries, with revenues increasing six fold to almost US$2 billion by 2019.

In its latest report, “Next Gen Retail: Electronic Shelf Labels”, ABI Research outlines how ESLs will be a key link in the retail technology chain, representing a great starting point when NFC or BLE is integrated. Retailer’s attention has been caught by other technologies, but the ideal scenario and end game for most will be a tightly integrated system that consists of ESL, smartphone applications, BLE beacons, indoor location, mobile payments, digital coupons/loyalty, customer analytics, and omnichannel marketing and pricing. ESLs are a perfect starting point, bringing a return on investment-based traditional brick and mortar bottlenecks, while also opening the door to next generation services and revenue opportunities.

Senior analyst Patrick Connolly commented, “ESL, in combination with NFC and/or BLE solves ongoing retailer issues like, out-of-stocks, check-out expenditure reduction, manual price coordination overheads elimination, inventory and store layout management, omnichannel consistency, and efficient price management of shrinkage/perishable goods, delivering an RoI within 18 months on these use cases alone. With integrated connectivity, it also brings future potential around dynamic pricing, positive showrooming, tightly integrated in-store advertising/redemption/loyalty, analytics, and pay-as-you-go shopping.”

“Dynamic pricing can be a controversial topic, but many of the arguments against are naïve or based on scenarios that are unlikely to occur in the brick and mortar space. The reality is it will give retailers far more control and flexibility, with the ability to reward loyal customers, dynamically match pricing to varying demand, while also meeting the needs of price sensitive customers,” added Connolly.

Pricer and SES are the two major players in this space today, dominating traditional markets. In particular, SES has shown very strong growth over the last 2 years, with the recent imagotag acquisition giving it new capabilities. Displaydata (backed by Zebra Technologies) and Samsung are the clear emerging threats, with Altierre also achieving some success in its native United States market. There are also a number of localized start-ups such as Hanshow in China that will make this a very interesting market over the next 5 years.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Technologies Market Research (

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

Shoppers are Changing, but Our Stores …Not so Much

The deliberate, time rich shopper of the past, to whom we market our stores, no longer exists. Quite the contrary, generally speaking, shoppers are time starved, distracted, and in some cases just flat out annoyed when they enter our stores. This new shopper increasingly finds ways to short-circuit the store plan, finding their items and moving on as quickly as possible, despite the retailer’s best efforts to induce the shopper into a long and deliberate visit.

Shoppers are trying to tell us something!

To amplify my point, there exists quantitative research in abundance supporting the notion that bricks and mortar stores are rapidly alienating themselves from the evolving shopper. Among several notable KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), such as Dollars per Square Foot, Same Store Sales and Customer Counts are trending in the wrong direction for all except the very few that have strategically embraced the new shopping paradigm.

Dr. Herb Sorensen, who I consider the very best source of empirical knowledge on consumer shopping behavior, stated in one of his recent publications that the relatively short time the shopper spends in a retail store is mostly devoted to moving from point “A” to point “B” and not engaged with actual shopping at all. This is particularly true in larger foot print stores of 50,000 square feet and more. In fact, only twenty percent of the entire shopping trip involves the shopper facing the shelf and engaging in the purchasing process.

The implications of this information are profound. Retailers and their marketing partners spend annually $275 billion in the U.S. on advertising, marketing, and promotion initiatives. These monies generally are regarded as less than efficiently spent, due to a variety of reasons, but chief among them is that those funds are not reaching the shopper effectively at the shelf, when and where the majority of purchased decisions are made.

Retailers and brands alike now have access to new research techniques and resulting data that can help them re-think how they lay out their stores and categories. Ultimately, each retailer should have a Visual Strategy for its bricks and mortar stores. Much the same way a web designer uses Google Analytics to build and fine tune an efficient website, physical stores must be approached in the same way.

In-Store “Real Estate Values”….Much to be Learned

Colleague and shopping pundit, Herb Sorensen (, will tell you without hesitation that there is much to be gained by enhancing store layouts, particularly those that impede fluid shopper mobility within the store. As just one example, we known from past studies on the topic that the more aisles and barriers a store has, the slower the pace of shopper spending. This is particularly important when coupled with the knowledge that shoppers do not have an infinite amount of time to navigate through a store.

In fact, after a few minutes into the trip, shoppers consistently speed up their pace, and accordingly decrease the rate in which they buy, speeding by aisles and categories that appear to be irrelevant to the shopper’s immediate needs or more commonly just represent too much time and energy to explore.

Most retailers are oblivious to these shopping tendencies. In fact they design and stock their stores with the mindset that more aisles and products mean more sales opportunities. It is just a matter of manipulating the shopper into spending more time in the store to take advantage of all of these great new products and departments. Nothing is further from the truth.

Retailers who have taken the time to track their shoppers through the store…whether it be by personal observation or by technical means, are often surprised by many of the discoveries, including the following:

1. How deep into the shopping trip, aka how long it takes for the shopper to select their first item for purchase from the time they enter the store.

2. The miniscule percentage of time shoppers actually spend “shopping” as opposed to the time they spend traversing the store getting from one “shopping event” to the next.

3. How little of the physical store shoppers actually traverse on any given shopping trip.

4. How few aisles shoppers actually fully navigate as opposed to “diving into an aisle” quickly for a planned purchase and then revert quickly back to the perimeter of the store.

5. How shoppers migrate naturally to open space, where they can clearly view the entire store, and conversely how consistently shoppers avoid tight, confining alcoves and aisles

Each of the aforementioned shopping tendencies represent opportunities for the retailer to embrace. By understanding these consumer practices, retailers can make both subtle and overt changes to their layout and merchandising plan, resulting in a more efficient shopping experience for the consumer and larger baskets sizes for the retailer.



Mark Heckman– Trius Co-Founder

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