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Are you winning in the Game of Shelf?

For the past 5 years, every shopper marketing conference I’ve attended has referenced this image at least once.  And it continues to be used, with good reason — many manufacturers are still struggling to stand out.

When I do witness brands becoming more strategically visible at the shelf, I’m curious to see the effect on the shopper experience.  Is it a ‘wow’ result?  And more importantly…is that a good wow or a bad wow?

I also enjoy discovering category — or even cross-category — ‘copycats’ using similar eye-catching tactics to get noticed.

Here are some examples I’ve come across recently where retailers and manufacturers really seem to have the shopper in mind.


Safeway launches occasion-focused wines

Safeway collaborated with winemaker Truett-Hurst to offer 12 wines positioned by buyer occasions/events  (versus grape or region). This idea came from a deeper understanding of how Safeway shoppers buy wine.

To further enhance the shopper experience, these wines are sold with unique and vibrant packaging — essentially creating a ‘gift-ready’ purchase.

My kudos for —  identifying consumer ‘need states’ and truly addressing them.  Also for relieving the burden of occasion-shopping and even making it fun for the shopper.


Goshen’s packaging gets an attitude adjustment

A modern adaptation of cultural icon, “Rosie the Riveter” gave this Fair Trade coffeemaker’s package an eye-catching makeover.  The result…Goshen conveys a bolder, more creative image that really pops among nondescript coffeebean packages of the St. Louis market.

My kudos for — cleverly bringing brand personality to the shelf.  


Rahal shows that even eggs can have shelf impact

Farmer Michael Rahal’s eggs are packaged in a bright blue carton and topped with a nostalgic-themed, 100% recycled wrapper.  This package not only stands out in Tennessee-area stores, it also shares the story behind Rahal’s eggs and conveys his distinctive commitment to quality and attention to detail.  

My kudos for — giving uniqueness and flair to a commodity and emotionally connecting with consumers — i.e. sharing a brand’s story, right at the shelf.  


These are just a few of many great examples.  Can you think of some others? (Feel free to post them in the comments section below)

Some final thoughts for the next time you’re pondering how your brand can stand apart at the shelf…

…particularly if package design is part of the solution

…be sure to keep these four things in mind

  • Think about your shoppers differently than you have in the past
  • Make sure your brand personality is present
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new – shoppers are more open than ever to this
  • Stay true to your brand truths and communicate them confidently and sincerely – shoppers can see through the fake stuff

p.s. I can’t wait to see what’s new at the Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago (October 16th to 18th).  I’ll be make sure to post a follow-up just after the conference.


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  1. Pingback: You Understand Your Product or Service…But Do Consumers, Really? | Erickson Research

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