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National Brand Presence
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RETAILER PROFILE: AHOLD DELHAIZE
1506 MA Zaandam
Phone: +31 88 659 9111
Kroger is the leading supermarket operator in the U.S. and second only to Walmart as a grocery retailer, holding 10% of market share in 2016. Its vast supermarket portfolio encompasses nearly 2,800 supermarkets across 22 banners and multiple formats. The variety allows Kroger to cater to different customer segments across the country and it continues to experiment with new formats.
After 13-years of consistent same-store sales growth, Kroger's streak ended in March 2017. In October 2017 the retailer rolled out Restock Kroger, a turnaround initiative focused on using technology to improve customer service, pricing and communication with customers while revamping its product assortment. Kroger sold its convenience store business to EG Group for $2.15 billion in April 2018 as part of the initiative and is reducing its investment in new stores.
The Restock Kroger plan announced in 2017 will involve dramatic changes in product assortments informed by data. While the retailer has traditionally appealed to shopper needs through curated assortments, the new initiative will bring that focus to more categories and stores. Kroger plans to revamp the assortment at 20% to 30% of its stores each year starting in 2018. These shifts can involve making private label products more prominent when they regularly outsell the category's national brands, adding more space to trendy categories such as sparkling water, improving product adjacencies, and optimizing assortments, particularly through integrating more natural and organic products.
Kroger's broadest promotional goals are to increase trips and basket sizes and its favorite tactics are bulk-purchase incentives, digital coupons and instant-win games. Kroger-driven programs incorporate a large number of national brands, which often provide custom materials.
The Fuel Points rewards program is also a key tactic for driving trips and purchases, with bonus rewards offers on third-party gift cards or all purchases during seasonal campaigns.
Kroger is embracing the increased consumer demand for organic, natural and local products, so look for opportunities to help it appeal to environmentally conscious and health-focused shoppers.
Kroger has shown a new willingness to run account-specific promotions in recent years, particularly when those efforts brings in sponsorships or cause components.
Work with Kroger subsidiary 84.51° to get information on the retailer's loyalty cardholders that will allow you to tailor programs to their purchasing behavior.
National Brand Presence
NATIONAL BRAND PRESENCE
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U.S. business spans Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant Co., Food Lion and Hannaford chains.
Total U.S. Sales: $44.84 billion
Total U.S. Stores: 1,970 stores in 23 states under six banners
Shopper Count: 50 million weekly shoppers
Works with sister company Peapod Digital Labs, Chicago, to support e-commerce tech for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. brands. Peapod ceased all its Midwest online delivery operations in February 2020 as grocery delivery heats up.
Reaches 90% of households in its markets with home delivery and click-and-collect, with nearly 70% offering same-day options.
Acquired a majority stake in New York City-based online grocer FreshDirect in January 2021.
Launching 1,500-2,000 private-label products in 2021, expanding on its existing 15,000 SKUs.
Similarly, in some of the prepared food areas, highlighting that the food is fresh as one of their key initiatives, investing in fresher and healthier offerings. Again, they’re creating this stadium-style merchandising to these products so they’re well lit, easily seen and easily grabbed.
And then you find their mission even in small things like here in the produce area. Instead of using the long, simple straight runs of product they’re really creating these cutoffs for each different product, here you see the apples in this case, so basically, it's very easy to see the different varieties and pick what you want a little bit easier. Well-lit, well put-together. Little touches that, again, make this a better place to shop.
Inside stores, one of their other key initiatives that they're really trying to drive, is the promise to shoppers that Ahold stores are better place to shop. Here we see a Hannaford store really highlighting that and creating this almost store-within-a-store for various personal care products with the bold signage above framing out and hanging down over the department, as well as the floor covering of blue. And they’ve even invested into the endcaps to have video monitors to highlight the products being promoted there. So they’re really upgrading here in almost a consumer electronics-Best Buy kind of fashion to create a store within a store.
Next, looking at omnichannel and also synching up with the pandemic is the “you click, we shop” services that Hannaford has been rolling out. There’s definitely some clear markings out in the parking lots, driving shoppers who are using the service to these particular spots, advertising the program and making it as easy as possible for shoppers as their getting used to this new program.
Here's a great example of Ahold Delhaize (Hannaford) really trying to keep their shoppers safe, communicating as soon as you walk in using a variety of tools and signs they’re using keep their shoppers safe during these pandemic days.
85% of purchases are made using a loyalty card.
And more examples in the produce department as well about the “Fresh Picks of the Week.” It's definitely ensuring that, again, if some of your brand strategies align with that, call that out. They're doing that on their own products, so do the same if your products align with that strategy.
Part of Dependable Value is also boldly calling out sales, in this case at Food Lion, very clearly calling out the sale with bold red graphics on this endcap and even down the aisle as you can see.
Also, part of investing in the customer proposition is providing “Dependable Value.” And they took that strategy and branded it right on the dump bins, in this case right near the checkout as someone is walking down that main aisle. These were seen not just hear in Hannaford, but we saw the same activation branded to the different Ahold banners.
One of the other initiatives that Ahold is really heavily investing in is providing the best own brands that they can, and we saw this in some of the merchandising as well. They’re calling out and giving prime space to some their private label brands, bringing them out from the store shelves and out into the race track to give them prominent space and showcase the exclusive products that can help drive shopper loyalty.
It's not just they're own promotions, they're also tagging and calling out a whole variety of brand activations as well. They have that template and they're putting their signage on the temporary activations as well, really tying it all together in the store. So the shopper notices that red “Sale” tag and knows that this is Dependable Value. For brands, definitely part of the work in determining the right spend on the activations is to put that signage on so it’s not necessarily covering up of one of the brands critical messages.
And more of that in the deli. Here I wanted to highlight the whole broad sweep of this design. In terms of the signage, keeping it fresh, keeping it modern. They’re own branding is part of it. But again just a clean, upgraded look to be that place that the shopper wants to come to.
I already talked about fresher, healthier solutions, and they’re definitely signing that throughout the store. It’s the focus in a variety of departments, in beef and seafood, and even on this gigantic hanging sign. The whole idea of fresher and healthier, they’re 100% behind that. So if your product synchs up with that strategy, it's worthwhile to make sure that you're calling it out as well.
And then the final area that they're definitely investing in as well is local, and I know I've highlighted this in a few other Retail Intel webinars. Grocery retailers are really trying to highlight that. Each Ahold banner is doing that locally, as well. In this example, a Food Lion in South Carolina, a great poster highlighting brands and products that sourced nearby. It's definitely a key strategy that they're looking to highlight. So if your brand synchs up with that, it's worth it to make sure to highlight that as well.
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Total U.S. Sales: $170.8 billion (in North America)
Total U.S. Stores: 94 total physical locations in the U.S. (24 Amazon Books stores, five Amazon Fresh grocery stores, two AmazonFresh Pickup locations, 26 Amazon Go stores, 28 Amazon 4-Star locations, two Amazon Go Grocery locations, and seven pop-up Presented by Amazon locations
Shopper Count: 150 million Prime members globally (estimated 126 million in the U.S.)
Ranked first in dunnhumby’s 2021 Retail Preference Index study (moving up from third place in 2020).
Ranked second in Fortune magazine’s “Fortune 500” list in 2020 (moving up from fifth place in 2019).
Maintained its position as the world's most valuable brand, according to the 2020 BrandZ Top 100.
Most Valuable Global brands ranking compiled by Kantar and WPP.
Prime members account for roughly 65% of shoppers.
Another key strategic initiative as Whole Foods tries to surprise and satisfy their customers is providing the highest-quality natural, organic foods. And as part of that, stores definitely put a huge emphasis on supporting local suppliers. You see that here in the produce area with some generic overhead signage.
Another key initiative is to highlight Whole Foods’ Amazon Prime partnership and promote specific Amazon Prime deals, which you see here. Online at amazon.com, they highlight to look for the blue signs in the store and, sure enough, as you wander in the produce section you find those signs with the blue dots spotlighting exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members. They’re utilizing a decent amount of space to really highlight this and create a larger and larger connective tissue between Amazon Prime and Whole Foods.
On the left the people you see are the personal shoppers who were collecting the orders from the sales floor. And there are printers set up so the bags can be tagged and then placed and organized on the shelves at right. As you can see it's kind of a pretty temporary setup, but I can only imagine that we'll see some optimization and improvement of this process as we move forward knowing the amount of “pick and click” pick that's now taking place.
In the store I visited, they've taken out the whole seating area where people can normally congregate to at some of the retailer’s prepared food or have a beverage. It's all been taken out, obviously in these times of social distancing, and they've instead created this little hub for their BOPIS fulfillment.
I'm going to dive a little bit into what's going on inside the store at Whole Foods. And the first thing I'm going to highlight is that they're beginning to repurpose and figure out better ways to drive the fulfillment of all of the “click and pick” orders they’re now getting.
And then even simpler, a variety of kitchen implements on a simple wire rack, but right there in the produce section. So as you're buying produce, there's the right implement to help you cut, slice, skin, etc. there instead of making you go find them in the kitchen utensils aisle. So with the right insights, and I know I highlight this with a lot of the retailers we cover in the Retail Intel series, they really bring those cross-merchandising ideas to life to help build baskets.
A few other examples because Whole Foods is typically pretty straightforward in terms of merchandising, utilizing their shelves and not a lot of spectacular displays like you’ll see in other grocery stores, But, that said, there are still a variety of elements that really come to life. And among them are a variety of vehicles that can really help drive secondary purchase, cross-merchandising and basket-building. So here you see this nice little gravity rack on the shelf in the water aisle.
But I also wanted to highlight this picture, in the bakery section here in the Chicago area, where they promote Lucia's AlphaGlores, which are Argentine pastries. I wanted to share a picture or a close-up image, but that probably would be unfair for everybody because it would just make your mouths drool too much. But again, Whole Foods is really going all-in with these local partnerships and really utilizing a lot of space to highlight them and bring those relevant products to life for their shoppers.
Here’s another interesting change. Normally, a big part of the store experience is the fresh-serve bars, which obviously are out of commission at the moment. So stores are utilizing that area to offer take-home prepared meals, all at the ready prepackaged so shoppers can just grab and go.
Our final piece here, which ties a lot of the different things together, isn't necessarily the spirits one that's highlighted there but the piece right next to it. It’s a display for Vitani cocktails. Yes, there are branded merchandisers that can get sold into Whole Foods. But this is also a local company here in the Chicago area, out of Northbrook, Illinois, so this is a local partnership. And also at the top, a whole tie-in around COVID-19, explaining how this company is helping out during the pandemic, promising an amount from each purchase being given to the causes that they're supporting. This is highlighting a great partnership with Whole Foods: getting that branded merchandiser that is local and also very relevant to these times.
These are Boiron products, which are homeopathic medicines. There’s a lot of variety here in small bottles, not always that easy to find. If you read the fine print, they actually do have an app to help you select the right medicine, but also notice at the shelf lip there in the middle, the right three sections all have little pull-out tabs where you can get more information right there to shelf. You’ve got the high-tech way, to take out your smartphone and download their app, and we know that's very challenging. But with the right insights, to assist a complicated purchase decision, Whole Foods partnered with this company to drive a piece that can deliver more education and information about the product right there at the shelf.
Total U.S. Sales: $86.6 billion
Total U.S. Stores: 9,941 retail locations in 49 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico; 1,725 of which are retail pharmacies located within Target (including 80 clinics)
Shopper Count: 5 million daily shoppers
Largest integrated pharmacy healthcare provider in the U.S.
First national retailer to offer pharmacy and front store delivery chainwide.
Nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a CVS Pharmacy.
More than 70 million active ExtraCare loyalty cardholders enrolled.
Operating nearly 450 (and counting) HealthHUB locations spanning 30 states as of November 2020.
More than 5.4 million monthly average CVS mobile app users.
Carries more than 7,000 private-label and exclusive products.
The final area that I want to touch on is value. CVS has also made a strong statement, which is probably very relevant today amid difficult economic times, by highlighting value.
The next area in which CVS has historically really made a name for itself is beauty, because they see beauty as not just skin-deep but part of overall health that helps someone feel good by looking good. CVS has made some great investments in the beauty area. In this picture here, right up front, you see an endcap where they invested in LED lighting investment to really help these products pop and stand out.
Here are just a couple of images about how CVS is addressing COVID-19 and using vehicles to help people socially distance, whether that's a big sign highlighting safety protocols or floor clings to help people stay apart. As you can see in the photo, one cling is already beginning to peel off the carpeting. CVS is also putting out various sanitizing stations, in this photo a sanitizing wipe station back near the pharmacy. Again, all of the messaging is trying to keep the store clean and therefore safe for shoppers.
At CVS, it's all about what the chain states as a very clear purpose: helping people on their path to better health. So right here, next to the purpose, I have an image. Even in the snacking area near the front of stores, CVS uses aisle violators to really call out purposeful choices and different key product benefits. Using great iconography to highlight key products or types that consumers should be shopping and looking for, this signage helps shoppers make the right selections on their path to better health.
And it's not just that endcap. As you walk through the main aisleways in the store, CVS has various dump bins that highlight key value items that the retailer is bringing to its customers, trying to encourage that extra item be placed in the basket. That is a great value for shoppers.
But it's not just that section, in the beauty area CVS uses a value spot in a bold yellow color so it stands out and lets shoppers see it clearly.
In this case, CVS created a whole seasonal section around dollar deals, which included signage as well as messaging right on PDQ trays.
These displays have been in stores for a while but again, there is more permanent endcap fixturing that allows brands to convey their message and merchandise a whole host of their products all in one space. The displays also kind of neatly — both right at the front and also on the side panels —provide education as well as merchandise additional products to utilize all of the available space. So again, CVS is going out of its way to provide a great experience for its shoppers to understand and learn about key products in this category.
Brands can also connect with categories. In this case, 3M’s Futuro brand of various athletic products highlights the whole category and provides some tips to help shoppers choose the right product. In the upper, center part of the display, there's a QR code that drives you to an online digital tool that also helps you choose the right product. So again, it’s all about helping the shopper get to the right product that's going to get them on their journey toward better health.
Now, building back into that journey for health, a lot of CVS' initiatives focus heavily on online activity and how to engage shoppers, educate them and even implement some innovative tools for self-service. In the store, what we're seeing in the health area is that CVS definitely allows various brands to make statements to help educate shoppers all around key products, launches or categories. In this case, highlighting some arthritis pain information using a big and bold orange shelf tray right on the top shelf, showcasing the product, its key benefits and even actually showcasing that it is “coming soon.” Giving space for that messaging is powerful to really line up with brand messaging as new items are coming out to market.
Total U.S. Sales: $77.1 billion
Total U.S. Stores: 1,897 stores (140 of which are small-format stores)
Shopper Count: 30 million shoppers weekly
Median age and income of a Target shopper is 40 and $64,000, respectively.
About 43% of Target shoppers have children at home and 57% completed college.
Target turned its pharmacy reins over to CVS Health.
Here is the home area. This is a key focal area for Target, particularly in these pandemic times as people are devoting their attention and spending their money on items to make their homes a more comfortable place to hunker down. And again, there utilizing some great merchandising, in this case for some of their own brands, making it an experience and showcasing items with some fancy metal and wood merchandisers to really bring it all to life. It's an area they definitely are putting a lot of emphasis and investment behind to really help these products pop.
Winning the seasons is a key strategy for Target. As they discussed a little bit in their release of third-quarter 2020 results, the company saw a very positive shopper response to back-to-school and Halloween. Even as Target is adapting through the pandemic, the company still saw these holidays as a great way of engaging their shoppers and helping them celebrate in new ways. Target makes quite a splash to have its stores provide shoppers an experience and a safe, convenient place to do their holiday shopping, as well as to prepare themselves for the holiday season. You see here it starts right at the entrance, as they've really dressed up the whole front area.
Finally, Target made a big investment in these permanent merchandisers, which initially were set up a few years ago for the holiday season to drive impulse purchases and merchandise gifting items. The company is definitely continuing to expand these merchandising units as they use them year-round. In this case, they’re highlighting their own brand, Good & Gather, and giving that brand a real great kickoff. Target just added more products to the Good & Gather line and is giving the brand great secondary placement to jumpstart it and get that brand out in front of shoppers. But, these merchandising units are also utilized by other CPG brands throughout the year for key promotions. It's a great space to look to try to acquire to really drive some great secondary placement at Target.
They also have that signage in the book area across the way as well. It’s a pretty serious, not-just-toy collaboration, which comes together online, too, with a brand showcase.
This is the FAO Schwarz collection, which is exclusive to Target. They've definitely made quite a splash with this brand on the focal endcaps. I caught this one probably before it was stocked —although I'm sure Target would like to see them look like this again in a couple weeks after they sell through quickly). But, it wasn't just in the toy area.
All the way back into the seasonal area as well, Target’s doing a lot this year dressing up that area up and merchandising decorations for the home and all the necessary items — wrapping paper, etc. — but even this year going above and beyond by installing some of the headers on motors to rotate and create motion. This is a static picture, but if you're in the store, the Christmas tree highlights some of the products they're selling and projects a light onto the ceiling, which actually rotates and moves around and provides a starry look. A variety of other accessories are plugged in to demonstrate what they’d look like in your home, but they also create a festive environment right there in the store.
And throughout the main aisleways of the store, creating quite a festive environment for the shopper.
And here is Winky Lux. Hopefully this is an activation that is entered in 2021 awards programs for merchandising. Just a wonderful example of using light to command attention. As you're walking down the aisle, you cannot miss this endcap and then, as you get up close to it, obviously the gigantic lipstick is there and there's strong education. They’ve designed this beautifully where it's flexible, the shelves can be adjusted for different product mixes, etc.. It’s just a tremendously well put-together activation that connects with Target’s shoppers and really brings this brand to life. Target is a master of working with key partners to create some great collaborative activations at retail.
And here's another example from Hims & Hers in the health area. Again, pulling all the shelves out to create a gigantic statement around what the brand stands for. Again, these are great collaborations with Target to really bring these brands to life.
More and more at Target, in the personal care and beauty areas, we’ve also seen whole endcaps taken over, where the shelves are completely removed and entire merchandising units are dropped in directly. This display for Harry's, for example, has a gigantic bold sign, a larger-than-life razor with metalized print for the blade, so it all pops out to highlight the brand’s “sharpest blade ever” and its innovation —really great, large statements.
What’s interesting to me is that we're beginning to see those become a little bit more prevalent throughout the store. Here is a Welly sidecap in the pharmacy area. Welly is a bandage company. This is kind of a cool activation [merchandising] fun bandages for your kids or yourself. Again, instead of just having the bandages in a typical sidecap, this creates a whole merchandising piece that brings the brand to life.
Elsewhere in toys, in the past few seasons Target has really started to undertake a lot of branded sidecap activity as well. Here are a couple of great examples. I love these. The shine on them really helps capture shopper attention, as well as the giant window. It really provides a great billboard, but you can see inside what the product is as it gravity-feeds down these displays. A really bold activation. We've seen these in past holiday seasons at Target.
Total U.S. Sales: $107.7 billion
Total U.S. Stores: 8,915 in the 50 states and Washington, DC; plus 105 in Puerto Rico and one in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Shopper Count: 8 million shoppers daily
Approximately 78% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens, Duane Reade or Walgreens-owned Rite Aid retail pharmacy as of August 2020.
Replaced the 8-year-old Balance Rewards loyalty program in November 2020 with myWalgreens, which allows members to earn Walgreens Cash on eligible purchases.
Entered the retail media network game in December 2020 with the launch of Walgreens Advertising Group.
Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance consists of three divisions: Retail Pharmacy USA (Walgreens), Retail Pharmacy International (Boots), and Pharmaceutical Wholesale.
And finally, I wanted to highlight the latest style guide that got published in September 2020. Here we see that Walgreens is looking to bring the branding for its new myWalgreens loyalty program into the store under the “myW” logo. Look for this to really hit stores most likely in the 2020 March time frame next year — because it does take time, obviously, from the initial launch of the style guide to start getting activations into the store. You'll see a little bit of bridge-type creative in January-February, but they’ll really start to carry out the overall look and feel in the store a bit later.
Now, they have the overall style guide, but they also have seasonal toolboxes that get published on a regular basis to ensure and create a particular look and feel in this seasonal aisle. In this case, you can see that clearly called out in the back-to-school time frame with a slightly different shade of blue. Some different headers, all highlighting what actually was a great program that's connected to giving back to teachers. It’s a style guide that's created specifically for the season. So look for that if you do run seasonal promotions.
Here are some more examples of that on the back side of the store, but, again, what Walgreens loves to focus on is creating that uniform experience and clearly calling out the “Rewards,” as you see on this Listerine endcap, where the header card boldly calls out the benefits, in terms of the rewards as well as the retailer’s loyalty program. It’s really tied in. And they're very strict in putting together a style guide that they expect will be followed by brands to create this uniform look.
One of the first things that I think is pretty familiar for everyone is that Walgreens has always been a store that has a focused style guide to really create a strong, unified appearance in its stores – that really helps keep the store clean and straightforward – and what's also been highly important to them of late, is calling out value clearly to the shoppers. In this picture, you can see that familiar teal color, repeated along all the endcaps and built into the PDQ trays, as well as on the sidecap pieces. A pretty familiar site to everybody who visits Walgreens.
Here’s a picture showcasing Halloween. Again, dressing up the endcaps per the seasonal toolkit that fits and creates a themed experience for shoppers.
Here’s another example in the beauty area, highlighting Rewards even on a sidecap. But also critical is making sure — although this case is a sidecap with actually quite-low inventory that the right amount of product is going into the promotions so there's appropriate sell-through available throughout the chain. That's been another key initiative that we're seeing with our customers at Walgreens.
That said, throughout the store there are some differences as you move from department to department. Beauty has historically gotten a different color treatment – in this case, pink, to really differentiate that area of the store. But again, you can see clearly the value called out, right at the top. Something critical that they want to ensure all activations do.
It also doesn't just end on the temporary promotional materials. Walgreens, particularly around innovation and new item launches, will do several different things with their CPG partners and vendors to create statements, especially in the health areas, to call out the new items and their benefits in different merchandising ways in the aisle at the shelf. These are not promotional vehicles that are up for a fairly short amount of time, but something that will last for the first six or nine months, even a year on shelf to really kick off that launch and get a product started off right if it's seen by Walgreens as a go-to initiative. It’s definitely something else that they lean into to create those experiences, particularly in core categories that help them position stores as that neighborhood health destination.
And so it’s not just traditional vehicles and straightforward floorstands that they accept. We love this little Zarbee’s floorstand here. Maybe a little bit small and short, but it allows the various intricacies here to really merchandise the product, the bright yellow adds pop, and a whole lot of structure creates a 3-D look that creates something different and highlights this as something that deserves attention as a shopper is walking through the store.
Here’s a little bit of a hybrid on a traditional endcap. Advil got a drop-in piece that was very specific to its product that really calls out the benefits for that merchandise, as it’s slightly differently, to really stand out and help it pop. When the brand message needs to be carried through and you have a compelling innovation or brand story, that is part of what Walgreens wants to highlight in the store. A nice clean look, a unified look, but again realizing that brands need to tell their stories, too. So that is definitely part of how Walgreens enables brands to go to market.
Now, after looking all of this around the store with regards to the style guide and the rigidity toward colors and promotional focus that we saw, Walgreens actually does enable a decent amount of flexibility if a brand has a specific key innovation or key promotion that's it wants highlighted. You can see examples of that throughout the store as well. Here you see Olay highlighting its products on a completely branded endcap rather than in the traditional teal color or the beauty pink – really calling out the brand and allowing Olay to tell the story and benefits around the product.
Total U.S. Sales: $341 billion
Total U.S. Stores: 4,748 total U.S. stores, including 3,570 supercenters, 374 traditional discount stores, 686 Neighborhood Markets and 118 other formats (as of October 2020)
Shopper Count: 150 million weekly in the U.S.
The world’s largest retailer.
90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store.
Ranked top in Fortune magazine’s “Fortune 500” list (for the eighth year in a row in 2020).
Ranked top in Kantar's PoweRanking (for the 24th year in a row in 2020).
75% of Walmart’s shoppers are driven by price.
Shoppers’ median household income is $60,000.
I also wanted to highlight a quote from Andrea Albright, senior vice president of merchandising, as Walmart was heading into the holiday season. I really love this quote. She said, “Walmart is ready to deliver a great holiday season for customers this year, beginning with the shopping environment and ensuring that it’s safe and convenient to shop at the retailer.”
Overall, McMillon said he saw a huge uptick in the speed at which the business moved and adapted and changed. While there's obviously a lot of work involved in understanding the store, he said that overall he sees that the speed of change is going to continue to be quicker than it has been in the past.
As we enter 2021, COVID-19 continues to drive a lot of the shopper experience at Walmart. During a keynote at the virtual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2021 event, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon highlighted how impressed he was with the retailer's team in implementing all the various pieces that came into practice in 2020 around COVID-19. He anecdotally mentioned that teams would come up with solutions of what needed to be put in the place, whether that was digital solutions or putting protective plastic between their associates and shoppers to maintain people's safety. He kind of shook his head internally about the timelines that people were putting together thinking they were quite aggressive and couldn’t be met but, he said every time the team rose to the challenge.
Overall, there have been some big pushes to really work on the flow in the grocery area. Walmart has recently remodeled a few stores in the Chicago area, improving the produce department layout to better reflect shopper patterns in the store and make the trip easier and more convenient. We know everybody's time is precious — and so does Walmart — and they're trying to optimize and evolve their layouts and signage to improve the shopping experience.
Tying back to that Andrea Albright quote regarding convenience I mentioned earlier, Walmart's upfront grocery department really communicates quick dinners through these standees, helping shoppers find items that are going to be convenient and make their lives easier and better.
As part of their toy experience and the holiday experience, Walmart called out how they're “America's toy shop.” This year they really did a great job highlighting holiday activations with blue and yellow gift boxes all throughout the store, but particularly in the toy department, to bring that all to life.
I want to highlight a few things from our audits during the holiday timeframe. One, shoppers were able to get all their holiday goods — their tape, their wrapping paper, etc. — all in one spot.
Here is another example of a key partnership. In this case, with Hello Bello, Kristen Bell's new organic line of baby products. This is just really a tremendous activation. If you have the right insights and product, developing a partnership to create some wow merchandising like this is really going to help launch that effort, that’s something Walmart is looking to continue doing.
We are going to end with a couple of fun displays. Here, in the gum aisle, we have a four-way display tying in to the holiday season by communicating a stocking stuffer message to drive that impulse purchase.
Walmart continues to put a high emphasis on its health and wellness areas with some really phenomenal displays that are done in partnership with brands to create some great experiences. Whether that’s displays that take over the whole endcap, like the Wet n Wild in the middle that’s a whole temporary unit, or even the display on the left, which uses a backlit panel to garner attention. The retailer really captures the shopper's attention as he or she is walking down the main aisles, and it’s investing in that experience in partnership with brands.
Now this is a little battery-powered tag put up by Gatorade. I saw a few similar ones like this during the fall and holiday season in the beverage and alcohol categories. These Gatorade signs, specifically, are powered by a watch battery. The sign lets you swap out the messaging out — there were about five different messages and screens. If you're walking down the aisle, that change in the messaging provides a little emotion or something that catches the eye, encouraging shoppers to learn about the product (in this case Gatorade Bolt24).
We saw a number of activations that similarly pulled back from having shoppers interact with the display or the products, as you see in this case in the headphone area. Normally, many of these products have a pretty sophisticated tester unit where you can try on the headphones, but that was removed. Again, Walmart knows that’s the right thing to do in these times, when you don’t want to spread the virus —employees can't necessarily sanitize those units every time someone touches uses them. We saw this in a number of places in the electronics aisle, where shopper safety was number one, and that required some slight changes to how merchandising took place.
Diving a little further into providing that experience for shoppers — and toys are an easy department in which to do this— I want to highlight these little things in the Lego section. These dioramas let you see the mini-figures that come within the Lego sets. The boxes are there with the pictures, but it's a whole other thing to have to pick the box, turn it around and see the multiple views. Instead, it’s right there in the little diorama.
And the other example of Mario is battery-operated video player that is very simple. Many times, there’s a push button for these types of activations, but in this case shoppers just wave their hand in front of the video player to activate it. Another example of thinking a little more about safety during these pandemic times and moving away from push buttons to other hands-free technologies to trigger the video to start playing.
I really like this display that Hallmark did at Walmart, particularly for the three-dimensional cards with the pop-ups. Rather than having shoppers browse the card section like they normally do, pulling out cards and opening them up themselves, there's a demo unit right there on the shelf with the cards below to be picked up and put in your basket. The display lets shoppers see the cards dimensionally without having to thumb through all of them. I really like the idea of that convenience.
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