Out in Front at the Front of Store: How Wrigley found a 160% growth prize

Out in Front at the Front of Store: How Wrigley found a 160% growth prize


Shopper research highlights that what shoppers say does not necessarily equal what they do, as 99 percent of their behaviour is subconscious.

Observing and demystifying what consumers are really feeling, and translating this to what they are doing in store, was a key focus for a recent effort between Nielsen’s Shopper team and Wrigley – one of the largest manufacturers retailing at the front of store.

The front of store (FoS) is Wrigley’s home ground, and where it has gained most of its sales for the past 100 years. However with changes to how people buy their goods – including self-checkouts, online shopping and emerging mobile transactional technologies – how consumers interact with FoS merchandise has also shifted. Added to this, retailers are under pressure to maximise the highly profitable store real-estate and attract impulse purchasers.

Wrigley understood that to transform their business and the category, they needed to act faster and be bolder – but they also needed help to develop an action plan based on consumer insights. They needed to put shoppers at the very centre of their concepts.

Combining traditional research with advanced technology in Nielsen’s ShopperLAB, Wrigley’s was able to review and determine front-of-store behaviour at supermarkets to discover new avenues to build sales. Using NeuroFocus research and eye-tracking software, the ShopperLAB allowed us to capture what shoppers do, act, think, see and feel in the key FoS areas, and highlighted ways to tweak retail strategies to change or reinforce behaviours.

A cohesive research project was undertaken over 13 weeks, and the end result was five key specific, actionable insights, including:

1. FoS sales are truly incremental. In grocery, FoS is a top 10 category with a +25 percent growth opportunity.

2. It is possible to engage shoppers across five different moments in their shopping experience at the FoS – and Wrigley’s can significantly increase their presence within these.

3. Not all categories are treated equally – in categories like magazines, shoppers spend a lot of time engaging but didn’t buy, to the detriment of other categories.

4. The time spent queuing at the check-out is crucial to when shoppers start browsing and their resulting likelihood to pick up an item.

5. Shoppers are stressed by FoS – they want to get in the shortest line and get out the door quickly. Therefore Wrigley’s needed to optimise these areas to make them more ‘buyer friendly’.

Wrigley’s also realised that they could increase sales in the first two minutes of FoS interaction by 160 percent, simply by starting shopper browsing engagement earlier and maintaining conversions.

While this research allowed Wrigley’s to leverage their assets, it also allowed them to better understand the key challenges they were facing with modern shoppers. On average, shoppers spend only 15 seconds interacting with a category, look at less than 40 percent of the products on the shelf and spend less than two seconds looking at any point of sale – so products need to stand out to be considered.

In the words of David O’Brien, Customer Marketing Manager at Wrigley, “Through the research processes we used, we were able to determine exactly what shoppers were thinking, feeling and doing. This gave us great confidence when we engaged with our retail partners as to exactly what the right solutions were to optimise impulse sales and drive conversion at the front of their store.”