By Jack Sjogren
Hillphoenix Design Center Specialist
Here’s a great story about the power of lighting and proper merchandising. Driscoll’s, one of the world’s largest distributors of fresh berries, wanted to amp up sales from its “Berry Patch” displays, which it creates for select partner retailers. Each Berry Patch features strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries merchandised in a refrigerated display case designed to maximize berry freshness and longevity. The berries were selling well, but Chuck Sweeney, Driscoll’s Director of Category Development, thought they could be moving out the door even faster.
At an industry trade show, he saw a demonstration of our Visual Attention Analysis and immediately understood the potential. Hillphoenix’s VAA technology maps how a shopper’s eye moves across a display and indicates where it lands the longest.
Sweeney sent us a photo of a Berry Patch display, and we ran a VAA assessment. Since I deal with many different customers on lighting issues, I wasn’t surprised that poor lighting was part of the problem. I’ve seen over and over again how the wrong lights can mute an otherwise colorful, enticing display. Here’s what Driscoll’s learned from the VAA:
- Beware of unintentional lighting. A mirror at the back of the display case was drawing shoppers’ eye away from the berries. This was a simple fix. Driscoll’s reorganized product to reduce reflected light and ensure the mirror enhanced the display.
- Tag with care. Shoppers see tags as sources of information; displaying too many sidetracks their attention and creates confusion. The VAA showed a jumble of pricing tags on the right of Driscoll’s display led the eye away from the berries for a sustained period of time. The solution: Fewer tags in more logical places, i.e., next to the relevant products.
- Use lighting to guide shoppers’ attention. The VAA indicated that even in areas where shoppers’ eyes did land and fixate on berries, poor lighting diminished the level of engagement. The problem was solved after Driscoll’s installed LED lights in hues and at brightness levels that would display berries at their best.
Driscoll’s used the VAA findings to reset Berry Patch displays in three supermarkets. Sales rose 22% in three months. Sweeney attributed the jump to the reset because in similar stores (same basic layout and shopper demographics) where displays had not changed, sales grew just 10% over the same period.
At our upcoming Supermarket Sense, Sept. 22-23, I’ll be talking about how Visual Attention Analysis not only identifies merchandising problems, but also offers solutions. And those solutions often start with strategic lighting. I look forward to hearing what’s happening in your stores and brainstorming with you about how Hillphoenix tools, equipment and merchandising expertise can help you improve your displays — and your sales.