Data from a new study of shoppers' behavior could change how companies market their products and stock their retail shelves.
The marketing research firm Nielsen Company and a consortium of consumer product manufacturers and retailers took part in the Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric (P.R.I.S.M.) project. The project was designed to measure the effectiveness of in-store promotions and displays in influencing consumers' purchases.
The research used infrared sensors throughout the aisles of 160 grocery stores to record shoppers' movements. Personnel from Nielsen verified the data captured by the electronic devices.
The study turned up some surprising insights that challenge the conventional wisdom about consumer behavior. For instance, although it had long been believed that the heaviest traffic flows were in the beverage and snack aisles, the dairy and egg sections were the busiest parts of the stores. The study also found that a significant number of shoppers browsed the aisles but made no purchases.
The study results could be used to develop metrics for measuring the effectiveness of displays, packaging, and other promotions. Participants said that the data could also be used to change the way retailers and manufacturers communicate with shoppers.
Ultimately, the project's managers hope, this new information about consumers' shopping habits will allow retailers to better anticipate demand and stock the right types of items to boost sales.
[Source: The In-Store Marketing Institute, www.instoremarketer.com]