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Testing at Kraft Foods

August 10th, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on Testing at Kraft Foods)

Washington D.C. – In case you missed it, Shopper 360 blog has a great commentary regarding the In-Market Testing for Growth (IMTG) team at Kraft Foods.  Kudos to Autumn and the Kraft IMTG team!

WilcoHess + Dunkin’ Donuts, or Does 1 + 1 = 3?

August 10th, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on WilcoHess + Dunkin’ Donuts, or Does 1 + 1 = 3?)

Washington D.C. – An interesting story caught our attention: WilcoHess is bringing Dunkin’ Donuts to its stores. Steve Williams, president of WilcoHess, is quoted as saying that WilcoHess will effectively operate as a Dunkin’ franchisee. As we recently noted, convenience retailers are increasingly focused on delivering meal options to their customers, and in the process hoping to improve their own bottom lines.

We are encouraged to see that WilcoHess plans a gradual rollout of the Dunkin’ Donuts additions to its stores. Presumably they will use the data from the first wave of installations to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative across key dimensions: (more…)

Private Label: Understanding Basket Dynamics

August 4th, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on Private Label: Understanding Basket Dynamics)

Washington D.C. – The economic downturn has been very good to private label brands. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, consumers drove private brand sales to an all time high: in supermarkets, for example, private label sales accounted for over 23% of all units sold last year. With economic recovery stagnating, the cost-conscious consumer trend towards private brands appears all but certain to continue.

Private label brands are often perceived as a win-win offering as they offer great value to the consumer, and often an increased unit margin for retailers. Grocers such as Meijer and Kroger (registration required) have recently expanded their private label offerings looking provide increased assortments for the value-conscious consumer. Retailers such as Family Dollar and Dollar General, already benefiting from the consumers looking for cheaper grocery products during the recession, are quickly expanding their private brand offering as well.

As store shelf space is finite, many retailers struggle as to what degree to increase private label assortments at the expense of cutting name brand SKUs. The most advanced retailers are beginning to uncover that most profitably optimizing assortment mixes between national brands and private labels requires a nuanced understanding of basket behavior. (more…)

Private Label: Understanding Basket Dynamics

August 4th, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on Private Label: Understanding Basket Dynamics)

Washington D.C. – The economic downturn has been very good to private label brands. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, consumers drove private brand sales to an all time high: in supermarkets, for example, private label sales accounted for over 23% of all units sold last year. With economic recovery stagnating, the cost-conscious consumer trend towards private brands appears all but certain to continue.

Private label brands are often perceived as a win-win offering as they offer great value to the consumer, and often an increased unit margin for retailers. Grocers such as Meijer and Kroger (registration required) have recently expanded their private label offerings looking provide increased assortments for the value-conscious consumer. Retailers such as Family Dollar and Dollar General, already benefiting from the consumers looking for cheaper grocery products during the recession, are quickly expanding their private brand offering as well.

As store shelf space is finite, many retailers struggle as to what degree to increase private label assortments at the expense of cutting name brand SKUs. The most advanced retailers are beginning to uncover that most profitably optimizing assortment mixes between national brands and private labels requires a nuanced understanding of basket behavior. (more…)

The Secret Behind Kraft’s New Product Success: In-Market Testing

August 4th, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on The Secret Behind Kraft’s New Product Success: In-Market Testing)

Washington D.C. – For business leaders interested in taking their companies to the next level, we recommend a Washington Post article by Steven Pearlstein. It highlights the ways companies as diverse as Capital One, Red Lobster, Family Dollar and Kraft utilize in-market testing to make smarter business decisions. Unlike focus groups, randomized customer surveys and industry studies – all valuable in their own right, in-market testing is the only sure way to know how a business idea will actually affect your business. Whether it is a restaurant remodel, a new radio ad or extended store hours, the in-market testing forces your customers (as opposed to a focus group that may or not include your actual customers) vote with their feet and/or wallet (as opposed to a focus group participating in a study because you will pay them). This seems obvious, but it is amazing that not all companies do in-market testing today.  And the consequences are often disastrous. (more…)

C-Stores & Prepared Foods: Testing What Works

July 16th, 2010 | Posted by Dan Schreff in Retail - (Comments Off on C-Stores & Prepared Foods: Testing What Works)

UPDATE: NPD reports that “nearly two-thirds of prepared foods purchased at retail are from traditional supermarkets.”

Washington D.C. – Accounting for more than 10% of industry profits, convenience store food service offerings have garnered a lot of attention lately. The Pantry and Quick Chek have recently announced plans to expand their prepared foods offering. Through a languishing economic recovery, consumers are looking for quick and convenient meal options at affordable prices without sacrificing quality. Is this a good opportunity for c-stores to increase both revenue and profit?

(more…)

C-Stores & Prepared Foods: Testing What Works

July 16th, 2010 | Posted by Dan Schreff in Retail - (Comments Off on C-Stores & Prepared Foods: Testing What Works)

UPDATE: NPD reports that “nearly two-thirds of prepared foods purchased at retail are from traditional supermarkets.”

Washington D.C. – Accounting for more than 10% of industry profits, convenience store food service offerings have garnered a lot of attention lately. The Pantry and Quick Chek have recently announced plans to expand their prepared foods offering. Through a languishing economic recovery, consumers are looking for quick and convenient meal options at affordable prices without sacrificing quality. Is this a good opportunity for c-stores to increase both revenue and profit? (more…)

How Effective Are Management’s New “Carrots”?

July 12th, 2010 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on How Effective Are Management’s New “Carrots”?)

Retailers are gearing up for a growing economy through a variety of tactics aimed at motivating associates. While JC Penney is organizing sales conferences for managers and paying sales-based bonuses to hourly employees, Home Depot is busy training cashiers to be more helpful.

Despite the newfound enthusiasm, a unifying theme about all labor initiatives is their propensity to cost a lot of money (e.g. in bonuses that don’t generate incremental sales) and occasionally, to backfire in spectacularly unforeseen ways.  After all, Circuit City’s short-lived (due to bankruptcy) labor reshuffling is not far in our memories.  To mitigate these challenges, management must test labor changes to quantify the attributable impact to employee retention, employee satisfaction, top line sales, and ultimately bottom line profits.  Read on to learn more.

Click here to read our white paper on this staffing and labor decisions.

We’re in for a Rocky Ride

July 9th, 2010 | Posted by Guru Raj in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on We’re in for a Rocky Ride)

Spring’s exuberance about retail’s recovery has given way to this summer’s despondency.  Recent reports describe retail  sales as “erratic,” “lackluster,” “rocky,” and even “dazed and confused.”

Retail execs may be left wondering “How do I get off this ride?”

There is no one panacea, but proactive testing can help executives re-take control of their company’s performance.  Recent sales variance has caused senior leaders to become too focused on weekly comps.  Instead, management should focus more effort on cultivating customer loyalty and figuring out how to drive sustained benefits.

Read on to learn more about how Subway and American Greetings use APT’s Test and Learn™ solution to make confident decisions through testing.

DVD Kiosks in C-Stores – A Balancing Act?

July 1st, 2010 | Posted by Marek Polonski in Retail - (Comments Off on DVD Kiosks in C-Stores – A Balancing Act?)

Washington D.C. – Following the lead of many grocery stores, a number of convenience chains have touted the installation of new DVD rental kiosks. As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article Blockbuster Express kiosks are being installed in more than 300 Sheetz locations with Kwik Trip and Xtra Mart close behind. Rival and industry leader Redbox is expanding its network through partnerships with 7-Eleven and Kum & Go. Retailers have posited a number of theories of the potential value generated by these kiosks, including: (more…)